William Shakespeare's MacBeth
27th November - 1st December 2007, Riverbank Arts Centre 

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"We are so far steeped in blood, to return were as tedious as to go o'er" 

"William Shakespeare's best known tale of political ambition gone mad tells the story of MacBeth's ruthless to rise to absolute power as King of Scotland, leaving a trail of corpses in his wake. Egged on by his own belief, Lady MacBeth's ambition, and the cryptic - but deceptive - intelligence of the witches, MacBeth unwittingly brings about his own downfall.

But why was he manipulated into believing he could be a king, into believing he was invincible? Who wanted him to be a king, and why? 

The classic tragedy is gifted with new light in this production, featuring Kildare's finest young actors and directed by award-winning director and Manager of the Riverbank Arts Centre, John O'Brien."

-Excerpt from the show's programme

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The Second Leg! Youth Exchange 
13th-19th October 2007, The Playshed, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Second Leg! was a youth exchange as part of West Lothian Youth Theatre's Annual Autumn Festival in Scotland's capital, Edinburgh. Featuring the participation of West Lothian and Kildar eYouth Theatre, The Second Leg! was a week long cultural and theatre exchange between the Scottish and Irish participants.  The theme of the project was to explore how society shapes our identity and image.

During the week, the participants took part in a wide array of workshops including on Bollywood dance, mask theatre, screen acting, set design, improvisation, script writing, Capoeria and Shakespearean theatre. The final two days of the festival were spent in longer workshops consisting of the same groups, where short devised pieces were made based on what skills were learnt during the week and the project's core theme - these pieces were then performed live at the festival's closing night.

Also throughout the week, the participants visited the Low Port Centre, near the festival's headquarters. which was used for fun physical events such as mountain biking and canoeing. Participants got to watch performances from theatre companies all over Scotland, such as Perth and Glasgow Youth Theatres, as well as fun trips to Edinburgh castle and the city. 

The thinking behind the project, or the objectives behind it were to:
 

  • to explore culture as a constructed difference

  • to discover historical, social and cultural links between Scottish and Irish youth

  • to share perspectives and experiences of what it means to be a teenager in today's culture

  • to develop the skills of devising and using narratives for expressing one's ideas

  • to reflect and evaluate on the learning and on the experience of the exchange.

Kildare Youth Theatre's participation in The Second Leg! exchange was jointly funded by the Causeway Youth Programme and Léargas. 

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5th Wyeth Human Rights Youth Theatre Festival 
31st July - 4th August 2007, Newbridge

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Running for a week in the summer of 2007 all across Newbridge, the Wyeth Kildare Festival of Youth Drama (later known as the Wyeth Human Rights Youth Theatre Festival), brought together over 100 young actors and activists from Co. Kildare and abroad to work together on the topic and themes of human rights. 

Featuring the participation of Kildare Youth Theatre, Celbridge Youth Drama, Griese Youth Theatre, Prosperous Youth Theatre, West Lothian Youth Theatre of Edinburgh Scotland and Tri-Boo of Florence Italy, the festival consisted of 101 teenagers and 13 drama facilitators. 

The aim of the project was to create an environment where European youth could explore issues based around the topic of human rights, and where they could explore and work through these issues using the performing arts. Throughout the week, participants from all youth theatres worked with one another through workshops, performances, and events to not only bond and form a community, but to share and learn form one another and their experiences on human rights. 

Every morning, participants could choose from a selection of skills workshops, led jointly by specially-hired faciliators as well as facilitators from the participating companies. 

Participants could chose from Voice, Dance, Capoeira, Improvisation, Stage Combat and Movement workshops, which were hosted in venues across Newbridge. In the afternoon, participants remianed within the same group for devising workshops. Here, participants worked with the same facilitator in order to create pieces which were performed jointly on the closing night of the festival. 

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"The best time I've had all summer"
-Newbridge, 16

"We love doing theatre in Ireland. Everybody is so friendly and we love meeting new people. Can't wait till next time"
-Italy, 21

"Thank you Peter for doing such a wonderful job. I'm never missing another one"
-Ballintore, 21

The first night of the festival was opened by Kildare County Arts Officer, Lucinda Russell. Performances by Kildare Youth Theatre in partnership with the Irish Drugs Task Force was given, as well as a production by Celbridge Youth Drama. 

Wednesday saw performances form Crooked House's child drama club, Crooked Mice, as well as performances from Celbridge and Griese youth theatres. 

Thursday saw performances from Newbridge comic singer-songwriter duo Ross Power and Marc Dignam, as well as performances from Prosperous and Kildare youth theatres. 

Friday saw a musical performance from Tri-boo, as well as a performance of their play Corialano. Kildare Youth Theatre's 2007 production of DNA (see below) was also performed. 

For the closing night, work which was devised throughout the week was shown alongside Seventy-Eight by Kildare Youth Theatre. A closing speech was also given by Wyeth Medica's Communications Manager, Johnny Lyons. 

With thanks to the Riverbank Arts Centre, The Ryston, the Holy Family Secondary School and the Open Arms Christian Centre for allowing us to use their spaces. 

The 5th Wyeth Kildare Festival of Youth Drama was supported by Wyeth Medica, Kildare County Council's Arts Service, and Léargas. Associated supported was provided by the Drug Task Force of Ireland.

Read more about the projects workshops here.

Read more about the project's talented and diverse tutors and facilitators here.

The festival was featured heavily in local media, read more and see their coverage here.

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The Importance of Being Earnest 
7th, 14-15th March 2007, Riverbank Arts Centre | 7th-12th May 2007, Andrews Lane Studio, Dublin | 6th November 2007, Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny City, Co. Kilkenny

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"Directed by Peter Hussey, this magnificent comedy of manners won two major awards from the UK National Student Drama Festival. Oscar Wilde satires a society that places undue importance on triviality while simultaneously trivialising the important matters in life. ‘Earnest’ - a Victorian euphemism for being gay reveals more of its gay-pride text – one of the many that affirmed the ‘importance of being earnest’ in a dangerous 19th century climate. An inventive production from the new perspective of one of the country’s critically acclaimed young performance companies."

-Excerpt from the 2007 IDGTF Programme


The Importance of Being Earnest 
was one of Kildare Youth Theatre's most successful plays. A 2004 production was brought back in 2007, featuring much of the same cast. 

Not only did it perform in the Riverbank Arts Centre and in Kilkenny's Watergate Theatre, the production was brought back to be primarily performed in the 2007 International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. At the festival, the production ran for 6 nights at Andrew's Lane Studio in Dublin.

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"Youth is wasted on the young" quipped Wilde but it is because of young people that Oscar Wilde is finally presented in the Festival. Kildare Youth Theatre’s production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ is a fresh interpretation of a wonderful theatre classic.

Delivered at an electric pace that leaves us little room to languish in the Master’s riposte, KYT’s production delves into the sexuality of the writing with the charm and awkwardness of adolescence. By their youth – they are an amateur company, but Director Peter Hussey left us in no doubt of the potential professionalism of many on stage.


-Read this review in full here.

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NT Connections Festival 2007
25th February - 3rd March 2008, 3rd-4th May 2008, Riverbank Arts Centre

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Every year, Kildare Youth Theatre takes part in the National Theatre's Connections Festival. Each year, youth theatres across the UK & Ireland select from 10 specially written brand new plays to perform.

After participating companies perform in their local areas, they get to perform in a larger, Connections-ran regional festival. For Kildare Youth Theatre this was in Cork City in the south west.

The Connections festival then culminates with the best rendition of each play being chosen to perform on the Cottesloe Auditiorium in the

National Theatre of London. These plays marked the 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd Connections productions Kildare Youth Theatre has done, and the fifth participation with the National Theatre.

Over 5 nights, Kildare Youth Theatre's productions of the four plays were shown in the Riverbank Arts Centre in a special Connections-themed week. Connections performances also came from Independent Youth Theatre of Ranelagh with their production of Deoxyribonucleic Acid as well as Carlow Youth Theatre with their production of A Bridge To The Stars.

The first night of the week was opened with a special devised piece from Kildare Youth Theatre's newest, youngest workshop group entitled Don't Push Me! which was a short 25 minute performance on bullying.

Two months later, in May 2007, the regional festival took place in the Everyman's Palace in Cork City. A partnership between Crooked House and the National Theatre, 10 youth theatres from across Ireland, Kildare Youth Theatre included, performed their Connections productions, as well as partook in workshops with one another. Some workshop themes included Improvisation and Dance, and were led by facilitators of the participating theatre companies. Kildare Youth Theatre brought their production of DNA to Cork.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid 
29th, 31st March 2007, Riverbank Arts Centre | 2nd May 2007, Everyman's Palace, Cork City, Co. Cork | 3rd August 2007, Riverbank Arts Centre

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If you’re a teenager and you do something bad, really bad, what should you do? Tell your parents? Tell the police? Tell a teacher? No, you should do what exactly what adults do; cover the whole thing up and hope no one finds out.
 

Deoxyribonucleic Acid is about a group of teenagers who are brought together by the act of doing something bad. But when things begin to unravel their newfound sense of solidarity begins to crack. Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA is a darkly funny masterpiece from the pen of Britain’s hottest playwrights, Dennis Kelly. This production marked the first Irish premiere of his work. 

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CAST:

Jan - Beibhinn Jones
Mark - Aidan Keane
Lea - Sophie Cadogan
Phil - Keith Millar
John Tate - Eamonn O'Connor
Danny - Declan Armstrong
Lou - Laura McCabe
Richard - Paul McGuinness
Cathy - Catherine Mullen
Brian - Stephen Dixon
Adam - Thomas O'Driscoll

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PRODUCTION:

Directed by: Peter Hussey
Assistant Director: Emer Jackson
Lighting Design: Paul Winters / Peter Hussey / Rob Mockler
Set: Peter Hussey
Lighting: Keith Burke
Sound: Peter Hussey
Projection: Ross MacMahon / Paul Railton
Thanks to: Nina Smallwood / Martin Saunders / Veronica Bagnall

In May 2007, Deoxyribonucleic Acid was performed at the Everyman's Theatre in Cork as part of the NT Connections' Irish Regional Festival, which was partly organised by Crooked House (see above). Here, the cats and crew got to work with and meet nine other Irish youth theatre, and had their work judged and critiqued by a Connections' Representative from London. 

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Bridge To The Stars 
27th, 30th March 2007, Riverbank Arts Centre

An adaptation of a Swedish book of the same name by Henning Mankell, Bridge to the Stars is a poetic soundscape of a story about a boy and a town. Joel is 11 and lives alone with Samuel, his dad. Joel has no friends. So he forms a secret society. All his adventures happen in the middle of the night while the town sleeps.

Reminiscent of Lars Von Trier’s Dogville, this beautiful play adapted for the stage by John Retallack is the first work by Mankell to be staged in Ireland.

Bridge to the Stars is a strong psychological drama told by an ensemble of nine who are on stage throughout.

CAST:

Joel - Evan Kearney
Samuel - Mick Keogh 
Simon - Vincent O' Reilly
Rolf - Jack Tinsley 
Gertrude - Deirdre O'Donnell
Sara - Rachel Lally
Miss Nederstrom - Stephanie O'Brien
Mrs. Westman - Emily Aspell
Otto - Mark Tuffy


PRODUCTION:

Director: Mary Duffin
Assistant Director: Rachel Lally
Lighting Design: Paul Winters
Sound: Paul Winters / Mary Duffin
Set: Mary Duffin / Mick Keogh

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(Front page of show brochure)

Red Sky 
28th, 30th March 2007, Riverbank Arts Centre

In a hot, alien landscape, Ross, Tark and Luce, three argumentative archaeology interns, are cataloguing the latest artefacts. Near them, a gaping dark hole marks the entrance to a recently-opened tomb. On the trestle table, under a baking sky, stand a fragile paper bird, a richly-jewelled ceremonial robe and an axe made of human bone… What happens when you pillage the graves of the long-dead?
 

Funny, quirky and knowing, Red Sky is by one of Britain’s much-loved writers, Bryony Lavery. 

CAST:

Ross - Keith Millar
Tarq - Adam Mulligan
Luce - Rachel Lally 
Man - Sean Reid
Emperor - Declan Armstrong
Pure Joy - Deirdre O'Donnell
Clever-Hands - Jill O'Donnell
House-Beautiful - Maeve Ryan
Heart-Listener - Sarah O'Farrell
Sees-Future - Yasmin O'Keeffe
Soldiers - Aoife Duggan / Anne Marie Dunne / Sophie Ellis

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PRODUCTION:

Directed by: Alison Hollinshead
Assistant Director: Deirdre O'Donnell
Lighting: Paul Winters
Sound: Alison Hollinshead

A Year And A Day 
29th, 31st March 2007, Riverbank Arts Centre

Belfast-born playwright Christina Reid's A Year and a Day is an elegiac ghost story. While it could be set anywhere, the story of doomed lovers from two warring tribes can be applied with particular resonance to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

An ancient tale told by an ancient Storyteller, A Year and a Day is allegorical and powerful in its simplicity

CAST:

The Storyteller - Stephanie O' Brien 
The Singer - Anne-Marie Davidson
The Musician - Lyndsey Connolly 
The Girl - Sandi Buckley 
The Kritter - Keith Burke 
The Land Kritter - Ian Armstrong
The Tree Kritter - Anne-Marie Dunne
The Water Kritter - Catherine Mullen 
The Silver Pontificator - Cian O'Dowd
The Crimson Pontificator - Sean Reid
The Silver Acolyte - Eoin MacManus 
The Crimson Acolyte - Emmet Heather 
The Silver Trader - Mick Keogh
The Crimson Trader - Emily Aspell 

PRODUCTION:

Directed by: Vincent O'Reilly 
Assistant Director: Keith Burke
Lighting Design: Paul Winters
Lighting Operation: Deirdre O'Donnell

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(Excerpt from our show brochure)

Don't Push Me! 
27th March 2007, Riverbank Arts Centre

Don't Push Me! was a devised piece by Kildare Youth Theatre's youngest workshop of the 2006-2007 season. Featuring 17 members from the workshop, the piece was created over the course of their weekly workshops, starting in September 2006. 

Responding to topics touched on in their workshops, Don't Push Me! was an ensemble piece which focused on the theme of bullying and it's impact on adolescents. It was performed live on the first night of the 2007 Connections week at the Riverbank, as a pre-show performance. For most of the cast it was their first time on stage - it was also a directorial debut for Keith Burke who would go on to direct award-winning shows in Ireland and the UK.  Don't Push Me! was 25 minutes long. 

CAST AND CREW:

Ian Armstrong / Sophie Cadogan / Louise Lonergan / Evan Kearney / Marc Tuffy / Becky Byrne / Jack TInsley / Paul King / Hailey Kennedy / Thomas O'Driscoll / Mary McDermott / Dean Houlihan / Darragh Millar / Sarah Darcy / Kieran O'Farrell / Bonnie Reville / Stephen Dixon

Directed by: Keith Burke and Eamonn O'Connor