Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival for October

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 19.23.44After two great family-friendly weekends just passed with the epic, The Giant’s Journey, and the Elemental Arts & Culture Festival, October is also going to be jam packed with cultural events for kids with the inaugural Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival—organised by the fab folk at the Lime Tree Theatre.

The aim of the festival—launched today by education and skills minister, Jan O’Sullivan—is to “capture the imagination of young audiences with magical theatre, raucous book readings, chatty talks, interactive workshops plus a host of other activities for the rest of the family too. For the entire month of October, the Lime Tree Theatre and 69 O’Connell Street will be buzzing with active, curious and spellbound minds”.

Galway has a children’s festival in the form of Babóro and I’ve always thought what a great idea it would be to have something like that in Limerick.  Families are always on the look out for fun things to do with kids. Also, catch ‘em young and you’ll have an audience for life!

The programme will bring together theatre companies and writers from the UK, Europe, Australia and the USA to perform shows in Limerick. Irish company Branar do Pháisti will present their new show, The Way Back Home (recently premiered at the Galway International Arts Festival) and Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Company will amaze audiences with their special interpretation of The Elves and the Shoemaker.

Lyngo Theatre will present the classic, Jack and the Beanstalk. Limerick company, Beyond The Bark, has a new show Spun—based on a book by local theatre practitioner/designer, Emma Fisher and the Kidding Ensemble Theatre Company’s show Sweet Hands and Spicy Feet is a 30 minute show suitable for babies aged from 3-18 months.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 19.55.32For the 8+ year olds, the Australian company Slingsby will present The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy—a show about a boy made of cheese coming to Earth for the first time. Morning performances will cater for schools but there will also be early evening shows for families. Experiental Theatre Company, in association with Baboró, will present a completely interactive production, The Odyssey Experience.

Voracious readers and future authors will have chance to meet and learn from some of the country’s best writers. Judi Curtin will talk about her inspiration and adventures in the world of storytelling and publishing. Darren Shan is back to read some of the especially grisly passages from his books. Celine Kiernan, Andy Stanton, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, Sarah Webb and Oisin McGann will host various events for 8-15 year olds. For juniors we have short story telling sessions throughout the festival along with hop-scotch, face painting, dressing up and some make and do.

Along with performances catering for younger age groups, Fibin will present Othello and An Triail for Leaving Certificate students—in a very new, imaginative way.

There will also be film screenings, a Salon du Chat for young-uns, puppet and book-making workshops and more. The Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival is funded by Bord Gáis Networks and the Limerick City of Culture 2014.

All events are listed on www.limetreetheatre.ie; tickets can be purchased online or through the box office on 061-774774.

 

Buzz, chat, art, music and much more with Elemental

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 21.23.09The Elemental Arts & Culture Festival is going for its third outing in the city this week, starting this Thursday (Sept. 11) and running until Sunday (Sept. 14). It has been getting better year on year so here’s hoping it’s a cracker this time around.

As always, there is a very diverse set of events planned taking in visual art, forgotten skills, dance, theatre, music, eco-workshops, spoken word, walking tours and more. From a band in a bookshop to an exhibition about beloved toys; from a play about ‘manning up’ to street performances, there is lots to enjoy (I outline two of the most unique events in detail below).

Jennifer Allen, of Elemental, said: “We are very eager that all age groups can find something engaging in the programme, where you come away having learned something new, or you see something in a new light. All while having fun, of course!”

The full programme (very stylish in itself) is available at locations citywide or online at www.elementalfestival.com.

Salon du Chat

SdC_EP_1Fresh from their success at Electric Picnic, Salon du Chat has a new talk ‘menu’ for Elemental this Friday at 7pm in Canteen, Mallow Street.

“Adding a touch of theatre and the surreal to the art of conversation, Salon du Chat is an arts project with a twist. Recreating the atmosphere of Bohemian Paris, with a knowing nod to online chat rooms, Salon du Chat is a shrine to the art of good conversation. Relax with a welcoming glass of bubbly as you browse the Conversation Menu. Then a friendly chat hostess will seat you at a table with a mix of friends and strangers and help you to spark up the conversation. Like any meal the starters will get the palate warmed up, while mains are for meatier matters and dessert could get risqué.”

Amongst the most popular topics at Electric Picnic were ‘What the Frack?’, ‘Give Me a Reason to Love You’, and ‘Online Sharing is Caring’. Expect to find an eclectic mix of pop culture, politics, music, sport, word play and the whimsical.

I tried this out with some friends at the Culture & Chips Festival spiegeltent in June and it was interesting. One tip: try to get a mix of friends and strangers because it’s easy to just shoot the breeze with pals otherwise! Salon du Chat is supported by Limerick City of Culture 2014.

We bring the summer with us

JackTheBeemanRyanStatueThis is a new bee-themed sound installation from award-winning Limerick audio creators Grey Heron Media, which will make its debut at the festival. In collaboration with Limerick’s Buzzing, Grey Heron has produced a special, newly composed sound experience.

The installation will run from 10.30am-5.30pm on Saturday September 13 at the Coach House @ Culture House, No. 2 Pery Square.

It’s open to all ages and only requires participants to relax back into a deckchair and open their ears. The fun and immersive 12 minute sound installation will run continuously from 10.30am to 5pm and will also be interlaced with three 30 minute sound-based events, which will further explore our relationship with bees and the natural world around us.

The nice people at Grey Heron say: “As visitors step into the Coach House they will be transported, by a multi-layered sonic experience, back to the golden summers of their youth or to the sunny days of the months just gone. They’ll feel the remembered heat on your face as it’s evoked by a soundscape of jangling ice-cream vans, sizzling barbecues, swooping swallows, sliothars on ash, crashing waves and the hum of the bee-loud glade. But our summers and the sounds of summer are changing in almost imperceptible ways, until we take time to listen. There are silences amidst the sound.”

It’s a seriously enticing description! The accompanying events are as follows:

12.30-1pm: Lift it up to the Sun: Sound selections from the field(s): This 30 minute listening event presented by Grey Heron Media features recordings from their varied back-catalogue, which reflect on our relationship with the natural world around us, interspersed with reflections from the team on some of the stories from behind the mic. This is an event for anyone interested in great audio storytelling and how people respond to the natural environment.

3-3.30pm: Bee Experimental: Practical things you can do to help bees buzz: This event is hosted by Dr. Veronica Santorum of Limerick’s Buzzing. Over the course of half an hour Veronica will tell us about the practical things that we can all do to help wild bees in our locality, while also giving us an insight into why we should be working together to help wild bees in Limerick.

5-5.30pm: A Life with Bees: A Conversation with added sound: The final event is a very special one-off public interview with Jack “the Beeman” Ryan, the famous honey “farmer” from Emly. In a life-time devoted to bees and beekeeping Jack has built a very special relationship with the bees and other wildlife with which he shares his home, a honey farm on the border of Limerick and Tipperary. Jack, now in his 80s, is a very passionate and charismatic advocate for wildlife and in this special event he will share his memories and philosophical view of the relationship between humans and bees with the audience.

Standing on the shoulders of giants

Super cool photo! Copyright: Deirdre Power.

Super cool photo! Copyright: Deirdre Power.

By all accounts ‘The Giant’s Journey’ by Royal De Luxe was a massive success and reports say that it drew at least 230,000 people into the city last weekend.

I missed the whole show but I’m incredibly disappointed to hear that it didn’t get as much national media coverage as it deserved. In fairness, I saw and heard national print and radio coverage in the run-up but it seems like it had to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Like most things, if it had happened in Dublin, it would’ve been a much bigger deal. Media coverage is not everything but as former mayor, Kathleen Leddin, pointed out: there was a great deal of eagerness to cover the resignations at the start of the year but then, when the city pulls off an event of serious scale and an Irish premiere by a world famous company, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to have a great experience in Limerick…very little fanfare. It’s a shame but there’s no point dwelling on it.

I think that a lot of people of all ages, nationalities, social backgrounds and all the other differences came together and shared something. Limerick’s collective conscience and confidence has gotten an important boost and that’s really all that matters. To the remainder of this year of Limerick’s cultural designation (and hopefully to the European City of Culture 2020) I say: ‘Bring it on!’

For those who missed it on television over the weekend, here are a few videos below (which I watched with a strange mix of happiness and envy).

Royal De Luxe Giants Journey, Limerick from Sean Curtin on Vimeo.

 

Giants will walk in Limerick this weekend

grannyPerhaps the highlight of Limerick’s City of Culture year will happen this weekend (Sept. 5-7) when the world renowned street theatre company, Royal De Luxe, will bring its spectacular production, The Giant’s Journey, to the city.

A “company of inventors, stuntmen, poets and scrap-dealers all at once, led by Jean-Luc Courcoult. Royal de Luxe are currently considered to be an iconic, almost mythical, street theater company”. The three day event will see gigantic figures move through the streets in a parade like no other.

Although there has been a lot of controversy this year, some regarding this very event, I think it will be an excellent boost to the city and will bring the magic of the arts to the public in a unique and unforgettable way. It’s a real coup to have it here and that is due to the likes of Karl Wallace, Maeve McGrath and Jo Mangan, who began the process and equal credit is due to Mike Fitzpatrick, the City of Culture staff and many others who will make it a reality. They’re a great buncha lads!

I will miss it unfortunately :( because I’ll be away in Bristol. I’m very upset BUT I’m hoping to live vicariously through everyone else so be sure to check it out people.

More information on www.royaldeluxelimerick.ie.

See a preview below (video courtesy of Fáilte Ireland)

 

 

The Colleen Bawn Trials/The River

I want to flag two very unique theatre performances running locally over the next few weeks. Both have a strong vein of fact and truth threading through them to create engaging stories.

15124_850079598337453_4081156586972086266_nThe Colleen Bawn Trials, is starting this Thursday (August 14) and running every night (except August 17) at 8.30pm until August 23.

Billed as “an immersive theatrical experience”, the piece has been created in collaboration with sonic artist, John Greenwood; visual artist, Anne-Marie Morrin with lighting and videography by Art O’Laoire.

Directed by Joan Sheehy, it is a re-telling of a famous local story which has inspired many different texts—the play The Colleen Bawn by Dion Boucicault; a 1911 film of the same name; the opera, Lily of Killarney, and the novels, Death Sails the Shannon and The Collegians by Limerick author, Gerald Griffin. Griffin covered the trial upon which all of the texts is based. It revolves around the story of 15 year old Ellen Hanley whose body was washed ashore in the Shannon Estuary in 1820. Her murderers, her husband and his servant, were hanged. The barrister and politician (‘The Liberator’) Daniel O’Connell, defended her husband, John Scanlan, in court but to no avail.

The iconic Shannon Rowing Club is the setting for the weaving together of fact and fiction. Audiences will move through the historic building on Sarsfield’s Bridge, experiencing the true story of the Colleen Bawn through dramatic scenes, stunning visuals and a haunting soundscape. Joan Sheehy produced and directed another promenade production, Buck Jones and the Body Snatchers, a few years back in the Georgian House in Pery Square. That was a comedy but made fantastic use of the space so I’m really looking forward to seeing this very different play.

This production stars Malcolm Adams, Gene Rooney, Patrick Ryan, Shane Whisker and four members of Limerick Youth Theatre, Laura Carey, Aiden Kelly, James Lillis and Courtney McKeon.

Tickets are €15 (€12 conc.). Suitable for audiences of 12 years and over. For booking and information, call 061-525031 or email thecolleenbawntrials@gmail.com.

The River3The River is starting tomorrow (Wednesday August 13) and will do two performances per day (1pm and 7.30pm) every day except on Tuesdays until September 1.

This new play—written and performed by Limerick playwright, Helena Enright and directed by local theatre director Ciarda Tobin—is making its world debut on the river Shannon because the performances will be staged on board a 90ft Dutch Barge in Custom House Quay located at the back of The Hunt Museum. Show on a boat!

The piece evolved out of the River Shannon Project which has run for the last 18 months. The play itself is a multi-sensory theatrical experience about The River Shannon based on real stories.  The playwright interviewed people from all walks of life and the play itself is a testament to their generosity of spirit. One of the noted contributors includes Sir Terry Wogan.

Written and performed by Limerick playwright Helena Enright and directed by local theatre director Ciarda Tobin—a combination to be reckoned with as demonstrated by productions such as Walking Away with their former theatre company, Amalgamotion. Helena’s work in theatre of testimony or documentary theatre has been critically acclaimed.

The City of Culture ‘Made in Limerick’ event was made in collaboration with Viva Voce theatre company. Running time is approximately one hour and appropriate and sturdy footwear must be worn. No high heels/stilettos. Admission will be refused if appropriate footwear is not worn

Tickets are €15 (€13 conc.). Tickets are limited to 20 per performance. For booking and information, call 087-3975526 or log onto www.vivavocetheatre.co.uk.

It’s great to see two productions with lots of talented local people involved and the lengthy runs will hopefully give audiences plenty of time to come along.