Cuisle Poetry Fest this week, Oct 15-19

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 19.12.58Beginning this Wednesday and continuing until Sunday is one of my favourite annual celebrations—the Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival.

I really enjoy hearing good poetry read aloud. Reading poetry by yourself is one thing but listening to a poet reading their own deeply personal work adds another dimension to it and brings it to life. I’ve had the pleasure to be at excellent readings by Theo Dorgan, Paul Durcan and Jackie Wills as well as a particularly memorable event down at the Dance Limerick venue in St John’s Square with Donald Hall, Robert Hass and Penelope Shuttle.

Donald Hall, a one-time Poet Laureate of the United States, reading at Cuisle 2009.

Donald Hall, a one-time Poet Laureate of the United States, reading at Cuisle 2009.

This year Cuisle—which is organised by a dedicated volunteer committee—is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a special five day run, October 15 to 19.

The line-up of poets and speakers features “some of Ireland’s best-loved and most celebrated poets will join guests from sister festivals across Europe”. The list includes: Caleb Brennan, Paddy Bushe, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Tim Cunningham, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Veronika Dintinjana (Slovenia), Gerry Dukes, Tom French, Barry McGovern, Geraldine Mitchell, Conor O’Callaghan, Edward O’Dwyer, Iztok Osojnik (Slovenia), Sam Riviere, Shedman (John Davies from the UK), Bridget Wallace and Macdara Woods.

The festival includes writing workshops, an open mic night, special tributes to Samuel Beckett, and the launch of the annual Stony Thursday Book (this year edited by Peter Sirr). Tim Cunningham will also launch his new poetry volume. There is a substantial education programme, including readings and workshops for schools.

A composed Penelope Shuttle reading at Cuisle 2009.

A composed Penelope Shuttle reading at Cuisle 2009.

A special series of ‘Poetry in Public Places’ events honours Limerick City of Culture 2014. A Door Into The Dark features a dozen artists from Limerick Printmakers have responded to the work of poets who have read at the Cuisle Festival over the past 20 years. Lightboxes, theatrical sets, and text printed onto porcelain are only some of the methods used in this unique collaboration. Look for these along Patrick Street.

Ghost Sonata is a specially created work by Mark Whelan consisting of one long poem written on the windows of Roches Street. Read it together or read it in pieces. Each fragment resonates with its specific location, creating a special experience for each reader.

Poems on the Air is a collaboration with RTÉ Lyric FM, where recordings of poems by Cuisle Festival favourites will be played in various retail spaces throughout October.

Shedman will bring his famous travelling shed to Limerick. In his own words: “My shed is very accessible. Anyone can come in to tell me their shed stories, to bring anecdotes and poems, pictures and photos, recollections and fantasies.”

An animated Robert Hass reading at Cuisle 2009.

An animated Robert Hass reading at Cuisle 2009.

The poetry of Samuel Beckett is a special feature of Saturday’s programme. At 4pm, there will be a performance of Roundelay—a staged reading by the Fourfront Poets and at 7pm Gerry Dukes will deliver a talk on Beckett, followed by noted actor Barry McGovern performing Beckett’s poetry for stage. Gerry Dukes was a lecturer when I was a student in Mary I and he’s not just knowledgeable but quite entertaining as a speaker.

There are lunchtime readings on Thursday and Friday at 1pm (Sunday at 3pm) in the beautiful Captain’s Room at the Hunt Museum. Evening readings will take place at 69 O’Connell Street (former Belltable) on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7pm.

All events are ticketed, on the door, at €5. For the complete schedule and more information, including bios and photos, see www.cuisle.org.

New children’s theatre, Spun, Oct 14-16

Spun pic1

Emma Fisher, designer, writer, puppeteer and performer, and Ann Blake, composer and performer, with the Umbrella Keeper from Spun.

Theatre is a large part of The Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival, which is going on through October here in Limerick. You can find out more in my past post and on the Lime Tree Theatre website but I just want to talk about a really exciting local production coming up next week—Spun.

Spun, running from Tuesday October 14 to Thursday 16, is presented by Beyond the Bark Puppet and Installation Theatre.

Spun is a magical story of friendship and imagination, told through puppetry, animation and song, suitable for children aged 2-6 years and beyond. Have you ever wondered where the stars go during the day?  I keep them in my umbrella,’ said the Star Keeper.  Sail to sea, fly through the air, cast a star to the skies and play with turtles and giraffes…This is the wonderful world at bath-time for Ciaran, a little Irish boy, and Piedva, his friendly spider. Piedva weaves a magical web in Ciaran’s imagination and takes him on an adventure all over the world.  Where will their journey take them?”

Founded by Emma Fisher, a Limerick puppeteer and theatre designer, Beyond the Bark has garnered very good reviews for its productions like Turning Turtles and The Bright Side of the Moon. Renowned international puppeteer, Liz Walker, directs Spun, “creating a gentle introduction to theatre which will transport young audiences into a magical world of adventure and imagination”.

Aside from working in an assortment of projects all over the country, Emma has played a part in many a local theatre production over the past six years through set design, costume design and puppetry. Her work on The Revengers Tragedy, Don Juan in Hell and The Fisherman’s Son in the Limerick Theatre Hub was phenomenal and she was nominated for a prestigious Irish Times Irish Theatre Award for set design in 2009.

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 11.30.27I was really taken with her work on A Christmas Carol in 2012 (and I think the hundreds of kids who attended agreed) and more recently she has worked on Noyes Fludde and What Happened Bridgie Cleary.

Spun is also based on an original book by Emma and Thorey Mjallhvit H. Omarsdottir so it is obviously a very personal project.

I would be so bold as to say that Emma Fisher is one of the most creative individuals working in theatre in Limerick. We’re lucky to have her around because her vision has added a tremendous amount to the productions I’ve seen. Good luck to her and all involved in Spun!

If you and your little ones can weave your way to 69 O’Connell Street (former Belltable) this coming week, tickets are €8 and available on 061-774774 and www.limetreetheatre.ie.

Events for young talkers and readers at Bualadh Bos

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 19.23.44It’s October and the leaves aren’t just falling but being blown off the trees. Running all this month, the inaugural Bualadh Bos Children’s Festival—organised by the Lime Tree Theatre—is getting into the swing of things.

There are lots of events, particularly theatre (read more here and here about the full programme) but also stimulating events that are designed to further engage little ones.

I’ve taken part and written about it for grown-ups but now Salon Du Chat is holding a children’s event for kids in fourth, fifth and sixth class this Saturday (Oct 11) from noon-1pm.

Salon du chat“In a world where children are told to be quiet and listen, Salon du Chat creates a place where children have their say.”

“The children are welcomed not into a theatre but into a cafe, for this event the gallery space at 69 O’Connell street is set up like a cafe.  They take a seat and are given a drink, a cookie, and a menu. But instead of ordering food they order conversation. Then for the next 30 minutes or so they chat their way through a meal that is all about talk. Salon du Chat creates an informal space for children to talk and listen to each other in a gently directed and unthreatening way. Sitting in small groups of 3–5 the children will have the chance to voice their opinion on topics that matter to them.”

It’s an interesting premise so if you have a chatterbox that age, or even a shy one who has a lot to say but needs an opportunity to express it, it might be a good way to pass an hour. The cost is €3 and includes a cookie and a drink. See www.salonduchat.ie for more deets.

I was a big reader (and writer) when I was a kid and Bualadh Bos has lots to offer in that area with author readings and workshops later in the month. All but one event (which happens to be sold-out) take place at 69 O’Connell Street (former Belltable).

On October 29, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald will give a workshop for over 12s called ‘Getting Started with your Writing’. From Dublin but living in Limerick, as a young child and in early adulthood, Sarah wrote fiction “constantly, furtively and under cover of darkness. Eventually, she came out as an author with the completion of her first novel, for yoReading-quotes-2ung adults Back to Blackbrick. Her second novel The Apple Tart of Hope was published in June 2014”. This workshop is open to all aspiring writers particularly useful for those writing for children and young adults.

On October 30, Andy Stanton eight to ten year olds are invited to a workshop withAndy Stanton, who is “the award-winning author of the Mr Gum series for a hilarious mixture of storytelling, mad jokes and true-life tales about being a writer. His mad wit is reminiscent of Roald Dahl and Monty Python and his crazy events are loved by children all over the world. Get ready to laugh your socks off—this is an event not to be missed!”

Also on October 30, ‘The Ideas Shop: Where Do You Get Your Ideas?’ for the over nines will take place with authors, Sarah Webb and Oisin McGann.

“The Ideas Shop is a very special interactive show presented by Oisin McGann and Sarah Webb, ideal for young readers and young writers. If you want to encourage your children or teenagers to think creatively, then this is the show for you!”

The first question writers are always asked is ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ Well, where do writers get their ideas? What inspires them to write in the first place? How do they create characters so real they practically leap off the page? Are any of their characters based on real people? How can young writers follow in their footsteps? And how does a book live on beyond the writer? During the show, the clever folk from The Ideas Shop will share all their writing secrets.”

Oisin McGann lives in Ireland and works full time as an author and illustrator. He has written and illustrated numerous books for young children, including the Mad Grandad series, The Forbidden Files series, and two short retellings of Irish legends, The Goblin of Tara and The Evil Eye. He has also produced seven Young Adult novels; The Gods And Their Machines, The Harvest Tide Project, Under Fragile Stone, Small-Minded Giants, Ancient Appetites and Strangled Silence, as well as his most recent novel, Merciless Reason.

Sarah Webb is the author of the Ask Amy Green series for readers of 10+. Her latest book is Ask Amy Green: Wedding Belles. Her books have been published in many different countries including the US, Poland, Italy and Indonesia. Ask Amy Green: Bridesmaid Blitz was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards and Sarah is currently working on a new series for children called The Songbird Café Girls.

halloween-300x300As the spookiest time of the year approaches, Celine Kiernan will give a workshop for the over 12s on Halloween, Oct 31, called ‘Fantasy, Horror and the Supernatural: Why do we still love them?’

“For most of us today a flick of a switch can banish the darkness, and a quick internet search can reveal the science behind ‘supernatural’ phenomena. So why do we still tell ghost stories? Why do readers still hunger for monsters and aliens, when many of us no longer believe in god? Celine Kiernan explores her ongoing love affair with the fantasy genre, and tries to explain what she is looking for in her exploration of the supernatural.”

Celine Kiernan is an award-winning author of dark, complex fantasy novels for young adults. Her books, The Moorehawke Trilogy and Into the Grey have between them won: the 2009 RAI Best Book Award; been included in the White Raven Collection; short listed for the 2009 Irish Book Awards; won the 2012 CBI Book of the Year (formerly The Bisto award) and the 2012 CBI Children’s Choice Award; won the 2013 RAI Book of the Year, and been shortlisted for the Sakura Medal (English High) 2014.

Also on Halloween, author Darren Shan, “will be reading out some of the especially grisly passages from his books and answering questions from fans. All ages are welcome, but the content is most appropriate for teenagers upwards. Under 13’s should only come if they are VERY brave!”

Darren Shan was born in London but has spent most of his life in Limerick. His books, some of which include Cirque Du Freak, The Demonata and Zom-B have sold over 25 million copies across the world, in more than 30 languages.

Events involving the incredibly popular author, Judi Curtin, as well as as the puppet and book-making workshop have already sold out so get booking…no pun intended!

See the full programme at www.limetreetheatre.ie.

Bualadh Bos has other exciting events and I’ll do my best to post about others soon.

My Name is Saoirse

-1The award-winning show, My Name is Saoirse, is coming to 69 O’Connell Street (former Belltable) this Friday (October 3) at 8pm.

The play, written by Clare-woman Eva O’Connor, won The First Fortnight award at the Dublin Fringe theatre festival awards “for challenges to prejudice on mental health”.

It has garnered stellar reviews.It won the Emerging Artists of the Year Award, 2012 at the Edinburgh Fringe. FringeReview gave it five stars and called it “without flaw”. The Irish Times gave it four stars and the reviewer said: “I laughed, I cringed, I cried–all in the space of an hour” and Irish Theatre Magazine dubbed it “utterly fascinating”.

The plot is as follows: “1987: Johnny Logan has just won the Eurovision, mobile phones are about to be invented, and in Limerick, Saoirse O’Brien is sick of her best friend calling her a frigid. Soon after agreeing to a night of drinking with the lads in Wilson’s Pub, she discovers her pregnancy, and is forced to set out on a journey that leads her miles away from home, and the carefree adolescence she knew.”

My Name is Saoirse is directed by Hildegard Ryan; produced and designed by David Doyle and the music is by Dan Cummins.

The show, brought to you by the Lime Tree Theatre, seems like a great bit of theatre with a strong local flavour. Check it out if you can.

 

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.