Kilkenny Arts Festival: Exciting family programme

This year’s Family programme at the festival is jam-packed with an array of performances, readings and workshops that will appeal to both children and adults. In putting the programme together festival director Rosemary Collier says that ‘programming for children and families is always a delight. This year’s programme features a mix of workshops and special performances across all the art forms that will keep little ones (and not so little ones) delighted and enthralled. I’ve sought out leading practitioners in a whole range of fields to create some wonderful opportunities for young audiences this year.’

This year’s Family programme at the festival is jam-packed with an array of performances, readings and workshops that will appeal to both children and adults. In putting the programme together festival director Rosemary Collier says that ‘programming for children and families is always a delight. This year’s programme features a mix of workshops and special performances across all the art forms that will keep little ones (and not so little ones) delighted and enthralled. I’ve sought out leading practitioners in a whole range of fields to create some wonderful opportunities for young audiences this year.’

First up is The Ideas Shop with writers Sarah Webb and Oisin McGann. Ever wondered where writers get their ideas from? Young readers and budding writers can get all the secrets on creative writing from this clever duo on Sun Aug 12 at the Watergate. West African griots Solo Cissoko and Seckou Keita will present music and stories from Senegal in a free family event at the Ormonde Hotel on Sun Aug 12 which promises to be a very special event. Writer John Boyne will read from his new book The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket on Mon Aug 13 in The Watergate.

Two very special puppet shows are at the heart of this year’s programme and 3-6 year olds will just love the playful celebration of the journey of growth and exploration in TIC TEAC TIC TEAC performed by Púca Puppets at Barnstorm from Wed Aug 15- Fri Aug 17th. On Canal Walk, the McBride family will roll into town and install their beautiful traditional handmade circus tent and present CIRCO ISLU a magical and hilarious theatre performance featuring hand-carved puppets and live music.

There is a wide array of workshops to keep youngsters busy and entertained right throughout the festival. Renowned composer Brian Irvine, who’s Carlow opera project ‘Rain Falling Up’ was a huge success last year will lead a merry band in his unique composing and songwriting workshops The Imagination Song Machine at Barnstorm on August 13 & 14. Megan and Jessica Kennedy of junk ensemble, one of Ireland’s most exciting contemporary dance companies, will present a truly unusual set of dance workshops/performances in the Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle on Friday August 17th. Solas Staged is a week-long series of visual arts workshops presented in association with the Butler Gallery running in the Castle Park from Mon Aug 13-Fri Aug 17, while Shane McKenna brings his Dabbledoo Music Workshops to the Parade Tower on Thurs Aug 16.

Finally, for those who love the really hands on workshops there is a range of children’s craft workshops at the Castle Yard including clay techniques, monoprint and potato printing and a special workshop to creature miniature sculptures using a range of materials from wool to plastic.