Putting children centre stage

Putting children centre stage

In the oft rarefied air of major international arts festivals children can so easily get left out of the picture.

Not so in this year’s Kilkenny Arts Festival. Children take centre stage in Barnfest, a family season of plays at The Barn Theatre. Barnstorm Theatre Company, marking its 25th year, has got together with Kilkenny Arts Festival to bring three unique pieces of theatre by internationally renowned theatre companies to Kilkenny.

“We believe passionately that an audience of children has the same right to the highest standards of production as does an adult audience” says Barnstorm’s Artistic Director, Philip Hardy, “and the shows coming to The Barn exemplify this quality.”

First up is Shona Reppe from Scotland with a gem of a play for children age 7+ that has been presented at festivals worldwide. “The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean” tells the story of the world-renowned scrapologist Patricia Barker as she discovers the secrets held within the pages of an old scrapbook. Page by page it becomes a window into a secret world and a curious life unfolds before us. It runs for four performances at The Barn on Sat 6th and Sun 7th August at 12 noon and 3pm. The Sunday Herald described this piece as “a highly original, beautifully delicate and thoroughly engaging piece of children’s theatre”.

From Belfast, Young at Art presents “Once Upon a Time”. This is a unique interactive performance where children 5+ take part in the creation and telling of a new story.

Following a library fire, the Guardians of stories have had to find all the stories again, but one is still missing. Can you help them find it? One of the Guardians is unable to speak but is a fabulous artist!

Intriguing, and must be seen and experienced. An audience member described this show as “one of the most delightful kids shows I have ever been a part of”. Performances take place at The Barn and at Rothe House on Wednesday 10th & Thurs 11th August.

Finally, having just returned from an American tour, Cahoots NI perform “Shh! We Have a Plan”, based on the popular Chris Haughton book. Crammed with magic, music, puppetry and lots more, it will especially appeal to younger children age 4+.

It follows the journey of some madcap characters, each of whom has a plan to capture a beautiful bird perched high in a tree. Performances at The Barn on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th August at 12 noon and 3pm each day.

The plays will run for approximately 45mins and can be booked online at or over the phone at 056-775 2175 or in person at the Festival Box Office, 16 John St, Kilkenny.

Tickets cost €8 each or €30 for a family of four. Spaces are limited so book early!

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