A RIGHT ruckus has been heard at The Barn theatre in recent weeks. Crashing waves, ocean sounds, a noisy household with TV and music blaring, and seeping through that racket – a mysterious dolphin song. It’s rehearsals for Barnstorm Theatre’s up-coming production for young children.
Paul Curley, Sarah Johnson and Shane O’Reilly – the company’s regular acting ensemble – are now into week three of rehearsals, with artistic director Philip Hardy at the helm. This is a highly anticipated show, given that Arts Council funding cuts last year led to the postponing of the new production until now.
The new show, The Song from the Sea by Mike Kenny, focuses on a young boy’s struggle to find his place in his family and in the wider world. With a blend of storytelling, performance, puppets, music, a perspective-flipping set and a beautiful song from the sea, this show is a sensory treat.
Playwright Mike Kenny’s writing shows great empathy with very young children. He will be familiar to Barnstorm audiences as the author of Big Sister, Little Brother and Jack. With its blend of magic and realism and an emphasis on shared storytelling, The Song from the Sea is an encouraging and uplifting show.
Kenny was nominated this year for an Olivier theatre award for his adaptation of E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children. The production, which was staged in London’s Waterloo train station, was nominated in the Best Entertainment category.
After an intensive week of theatre devising with the company in Kilkenny, Mike Kenny recently completed a draft of his first commissioned new work for Barnstorm. The new play, provisionally entitled A Murder of Crows is a Gothic retelling of Hansel and Gretel for 8 to 12-year-olds. It will première in Kilkenny in the autumn.
Mike Kenny is a parent, actor, trained teacher and award-winning playwright who has won Time Out ‘Best Children’s Play’ and The Writers’ Guild ‘Best Play’ several times and is included in the list of Britain’s top 10 playwrights.
The Song from the Sea by Barnstorm Theatre Company will be staged at The Barn, Church Lane, Kilkenny. (School shows March 7-24 at 10am and 11.30am.) Tickets for school groups are e6. For more information, contact Barnstorm on 056 7751266 or see www.barnstorm.ie.