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.


Feast of poetry at Cuisle Festival this week

It’s time for the feast of poetry that is the Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival again, which started today (Wednesday October 10) and will run until this Saturday.

The festival—in its 17th year—attracts poets of note from Ireland and internationally. It has a range of events including afternoon/evening readings, book launches, a daily poets’ convention, film screenings, a poetry slam and the Young Poet of the Year Awards.

The festival also runs a programme for schools with readings and workshops.

Poets taking part include: Terry McDonagh, Fred Johnston, John Pinschmidt, Máire Áine Nic Gearailt, John F. Deane, Moya Cannon, Peter Sirr, Sue Cosgrove, Medbh Mc Guckian, Fiona Clark Echlin, Paddy Bush, Anja Golob, Radharani Pernarčič, Veronika Dintinjana, Istok Osojnik, Lorna Thorpe and Jeremy Page.

Room—one of the films to be screened—was scripted by local poet, Mark Whelan. The latest Stony Thursday anthology is one of the books that will be launched. The venues are split between the Belltable, the Hunt Museum, the Daghdha Space, The White House and Bentley’s Bar.

Programmes are available around town but for more info, Cuisle is even on the Facebook now.

My two cents…

I’ve been going to Cuisle for a good few years now and I’m always pleasantly surprised. I’m not saying I love everything I read/hear but the variety of poetry, the vibrancy of language and the celebratory tone of the festival never fail to impress. Poetry isn’t about big words or lofty ideas but more about people trying to make sense of the world.

Many poets even like to write about poetry. I referred to the festival as a “feast” earlier and incidentally, there are a lot poems about ‘consuming’ poetry i.e. Mark Strand wrote: “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.” The food analogies are useful because of course, poetry isn’t everyone’s cup of tea or maybe a bitter taste still lingers from your school days. But if you try a little bit, you might like it. If it doesn’t go down well, it can be your last supper.

I’m going to end this post with a funny poem by Billy Collins called ‘Introduction to Poetry’. As for me: I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree…

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with a rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Poetry, f**k yeah!

There are a number of interesting poetry events on over the coming week. Also, I’ve outlined the details of two competitions below.

Firstly, tonight (Tues Sept 11), the Loft @ The Locke Bar will host the Munster heat of the All Ireland Poetry Slam at 8.30pm. Performance poets and spoken word artists from Limerick, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Tipperary and Waterford will battle it out at the ‘slam’. Two poets from the province will go through to this year’s final in Cork on November 12—which will see eight poets compete to be crowned All Ireland Champion.

Tomorrow night (Wed Sept 12), the weekly White House Poetry Revival is on at 9pm. The guest poet is Cal Doyle. He will read and then others can read their work at the open mic.

The noted Limerick poet, John Liddy, will read from his published work in the Common Room, Millstream Courtyard in the University of Limerick on Thursday September 13 at 6.30pm (wine reception from 6pm). Mr Liddy, based in Madrid, has published many poetry collections and is the founding editor, together with Jim Burke, of The Stony Thursday Book—one of Ireland’s longest running literary reviews. This reading is part of the Millstream Common Room Writers Series organised by with Campus Life Services. Parking is available in the car park adjacent to the Concert Hall building. For more info on attending, contact Linda Stevens on 061-202433 or Linda.Stevens@ul.ie.


The Desmond O’Grady Poetry Competition is seeking entries. One of the organisers, Barney Sheehan, said: “I have always maintained that Desmond’s poetry is accessible to everyone, both the ordinary man or woman in the street, who just loves poetry for poetry sake, and to the high-brow academic, who looks much deeper into the technical working of the poem. It is with these sentiments that I am confident that the entries for this competition will come from poets of many different backgrounds.” For more info on entering, see http://www.desmondogrady.com/poetrycompetition.html.

The CUISLE International Poetry Festival will take place in Limerick from October 10-13 and the title of the CUISLE Young Poet of the Year will be awarded during the event. There are three age categories: 8-12 years; 12-15 years and 15-18 years and all entries must be in by September 24.