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Life Force 2008
4th December 2008,  The New Theatre, Temple Bar, Dublin 

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Life Force was am educational, suicide-prevention project co-cordinated by Blue Drum, featuring Crooked House Theatre Company and community groups in the Dublin suburbs. Using theatre-based methods to explore issues of mental health and well being, the project involved Crooked House facilitators working with 25 young people from Tallaght and Swords, as well as 5 adults from Ringsend.

Principally, the Life Force project aimed to:


  • Use theatre-based methods of group-work to explore the issues of wellbeing, para-suicide, and suicide​
  • Use forum theatre as a means of exploring social, political and cultural factors that surround the issue of suicide in Ireland
  • Develop participants’ confidence, self-esteem, expressiveness, and citizenship skills through the medium of drama
  • Create a safe space for the community groups to explore ways of expressing their concerns, needs and suggestions in relation to the issue of suicide prevention in their community

To achieve this, 'taster' workshops were offered to Dublin people who were suited for the project. After enough participants expressed interest, nine 2-hour workshops, alongside ten intensive drama workshops were held over a space of nine months. This culminated with the group working together and constructing a drama showing the ways that teachers, family members, peers and friends of two young characters could have intervened to help them in their distress, but did not or were not aware of the distress. 

This performance was followed by a discussion facilitated by Peter Hussey (and supported by counsellors from Pieta House in Dublin) which looked at ways family members and community leaders can intervene in cases where people they know are exhibiting suicidal tendencies.

"...I think drama was a brilliant experience. I overcame my fear of talking in front of people. I met new people and we learned about suicide and how it affects people. I was surprised how many people wanted to see the drama and how involved they got in talking about it. [...] It was good to talk about issues we would never talk about.   
-Life Force Participant

Life Force was a project kindly funded by Pobail and the Dormant Accounts Fund and was chiefly administered by Blue Drum, an arts support agency. Crooked House facilitators Peter Hussey and Mary Duffin worked with each community since March of this year. They were assisted in the work by two young facilitators from Kildare Youth Theatre, Keith Burke and Brenda Donohue.

Crooked House Theatre Company, and subsequently Kildare Youth Theatre have worked tirelessly since their inception to use theatre as a tool to not only to discuss and explore, but also to prevent suicide and suicidal ideations. To understand more on how we do this, check out this document written by our Artistic Director, Peter Hussey in 2008.

If you would like to read more on the Life Force project, check out the full report on the project over on our Articles page.

Wyeth Human Rights Youth Theatre Festival 2008
29th July-2nd August 2008, Newbridge

...the bourgeois theatre is the finished theatre. The bourgeois already knows what the world is like, their world, and is able to present images of this complete, finished world. The bourgeois presents the spectacle. On the other hand, the proletariat and the oppressed classes do not know yet what their world will be like; consequently their theatre will be the rehearsal, not the finished spectacle.
- Poetics of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal 

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2008 Wyeth Human Rights brochure.jpg

A project spearheaded by Crooked House Theatre Company, the yearly Human Rights Youth Theatre Festival brings together young actors and activists from across Co. Kildare to work together on social issues. In 2008, the festival's theme was 'Gender and Devlopment'.

This involved exploring subjects such as arranged marriages, the trafficking of women, female circumcision, body image and beauty standards, and young women in relationships. 

The 2008 festival featured 100 young people, aged between 13-23 from Kildare Youth Theatre, Ballymun's Roundabout Youth Theatre, Ballytore's Griese Youth Theatre, Celbridge Youth Drama, Celbridge Passion Club, Prosperous Youth Drama Society, and Ranelagh's Independent Youth Theatre. In February 2008, these theatre companies were invited to each create a short piece on the festival's theme and on wider Human Rights issues, with one being shown every night of the festival.

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During the festival, participants engage with theatre workshops, devising, talks, and events which all aim to educate them and create a desire to think of methods to tackle the issues raised during the week. Participants were able to sign up for morning workshops led by specially trained and experienced facilitators. These included dance, voice, stage combat, Cappoeira and Improvisation workshops.

In the afternoons, participants were in recurring, more intense devising workshops alongside directors, and in the evening talks were held by local organisations and charities related to the festival's themes. Speakers from Trócaire, The Migrant Rights Support Group, Wexford Travellers' Group and Amnesty International all made appearances.

The work of the Human Rights Youth Theatre Festival is based on that of the UN Charter of Human Rights. The 2008 festival responds to the Charter with the overwhelming evidence that women are more likely to face gender-fuelled erosion of their rights.

The week was concluded with an evening run of five performances, one from each of the aforementioned afternoon workshops, in the Riverbank theatre. The work was inspired by what had been learnt and explored throughout the week and each performance was followed by post-show discussions. 

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International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival 2008
5th-18th May 2008, Dublin, Co. Dublin

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As part of the fifth International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, Crooked House Theatre Company and Kildare Youth Theatre performed separate plays over a series of nights in Dublin. 

Crooked House Theatre Company performed the Irish premiere of Michel Marc Bouchard's Down Dangerous Passes Road.

Kildare Youth Theatre performed Burying Your Brother In The Pavement

Down Dangerous Passes Road [CHT]
26th-19th April 2008, Riverbank Arts Center, Newbridge | 12th-17th May 2008, Connolly Hall Theatre, Liberty Hall, Dublin

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Three brothers stumble from the wreck of a truck on the day the youngest is meant to be married. They have crashed right on the spot where, 15 years ago, they watched their father die. They await a rescue that, Beckett-like, never arrives, as gradually their situation reveals itself in dreamlike ambiguity. 

Crooked House Theatre Company's production of Down Dangerous Passes Road marked an Irish premiere for the play. Written by one of Canada's most revered playwrights - Francophone Michel Marc Bouchard - the one-hour long play ran for 6 nights at the Connolly Hall Theatre in Dublin.


Carl - Keith Burke 
Ambrose - Stephen Wilson
Victor - Nick Devlin


Directed by: Michelle Panella and Peter Hussey
Produced by: Peter Hussey
Lighting & Set Design: Michelle Panella
Light & Sound Engineer: Peter Lee
Sound Design: Ross MacMahon
Technical AssistantRico Edmoon
Production Assistant: Kate Connaughton
Photography: Michael Donnelly
Transport: Andrew Burke

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Burying Your Brother In The Pavement
14th-19th May 2008, Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin

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Tom's brother Luke is dead, killed by a broken bottle to the neck. They were never friends. It's an odd decision to try to bury Luke in the pavement... at the point where he was brutally murdered. This film-noir style show, with it's wacky musical numbers, explores a young boy's reaction to his brother's brutal death and the questions it raises about brotherly love, rivalry, sexual identity, guilt blame and rash decisions.

What really happened to Luke? Who knows more than they're telling? Will Tom be able to bury him? Why does he want to? And who exactly is this guy Tight?

Burying Your Brother in the Pavement was originally a production for the 2008 National Theatre Connection's festival (see below), and was brought back to stage in Dublin with the playwright's consent.


Tom - Thomas O'Driscoll
Luke - Jack Tinsley
Tight - Ian Armstrong
Courtney - Mary McDermott
David McPhee - David Devoy
Stan - Anthony Davidson
Chorus - Tiernan Cormier, Sophie Ellis and Eliza Kelly


Directed by: Mary Duffin
Produced by: Peter Hussey
Light & Sound Engineer: Peter Lee
Sound Design: Mary Duffin
Costumes: Deirdre O'Donnell

NT Connections Festival 2008
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 the Samuel Beckett Theatre at Trinity College Dublin. 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 23rd, 24th and 25th Connections productions Kildare Youth Theatre has done

For the 2008 festival year, Kildare Youth Theatre chose to hold a unique event consisting of three brand new plays performed back to back. 

Over a week long period, Kildare Youth Theatre held a local Connections Festival where A Vampire Story and Scenes From Family Life were performed, as well as a third production, Burying Your Brother in the Pavement (see above).


These plays were then performed at the Irish Regional Festival over the 3rd-4th of May, also in the Riverbank Arts Center. Organised by the National Theatre this was a weekend filled with workshops and of course performances of Connections plays from participating Irish youth theatres. Some of the workshops included voice work, improvisation, physical theatre, and young critics - all led by Crooked House facilitators.

A Vampire Story
25th-29th March 2008, Riverbank Arts Centre | 13th June 2008, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Scotland

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"Two young women arrive in a nameless British small town. Their names are not their own. They don't declare their ages. As they sisters as their assumed identities declare? Or are they mother and daughter? Are Eleanor and Claire vampires? Or are they troubled young women on the run? 

During a truth exercise in her drama class, Eleanor confesses that she has been alive for over two hundred years and has survived by drinking human blood. Her classmates think she is utterly crazy and Mint, her teacher, puts her in touch with the school counselor. She makes one friend, Frank, a boy who has been home educated and is as much of an oddity as Elanor. He tries to get to the bottom of her vampire delusion, thinking it an epic and compelling psychosis. Why would anyone want to be undead? Meanwhile, things are falling apart. People are disappearing. Are Eleanor and Claire vampires? Or are they troubled young women on the run?" 

-Excerpt from the 2008 Connections leaflet

Kildare Youth Theatre's production of A Vampire Story returned three months later to be performed at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh as part of the 2009 Surge Festival

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Eleanor - Catherine Mullen
Ella - Louise Lonergan
Clara - Catherine Stewart
Claire - Sandi Buckley
Frank / Geoff - Adam Mulligan
Briggs / Darvell - Mustaffa (Mo) Kaddem
Moon / Ruthven - Padraigh 'Bill' Scanlon
Point / Letty - Yasmin O'Keefe
Debit  / Bettine - Annemarie Dunne


DirectorPeter Hussey
Costumes: Kate Connaughton
Projection: Darius Kaddem
Lighting Design: Peter Hussey
Lighting Engineer: Peter Lee

Mint - Damien Moloney 
Fillet - Amy Fleming
Marianne / Tina - Stephanie Farrell Harriet - Jill O'Donnell

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(Leinster Leader, April 10th 2008)

Scenes From Family Life
25th-29th March 2008, 3rd May 2008, Riverbank Arts Centre, 3rd June 2008, Cottesloe Auditorium, London

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Jack and Lisa: two ordinary teenagers who want to have a baby. Only problem is Lisa keeps vanishing - literally - into thin air. Their friends Barry and Stacy have the same problem. Stacy is eight months pregnant. But Barry keeps vanishing in front of her eyes. Soon, they discover that first their friends and eventually the whole world are dematerialising. With Lisa and Barry faded away to nothing, Jack's flat is requisitioned by the army and given over to a parents and babies group.

But when finally everyone else vanishes for good, there's only Jack and Stacy left in the world. It's up to Jack to deliver Stacy's baby. Six months on and Jack and Stacy are the only boy and girl on the planet. For Jack it's a dream, for Stacy a nightmare. And when the vanished start to return, Jack has to learn how complex adult relationships are. 

Kildare Youth Theatre's production of Scenes From Family Life was chosen to be performed at the Cottesloe Auditorium at the National Theatre in London, in June of 2008, after being considered the greatest production of the play in the Connections festival. Reviews of this London performance can be read below.

"The performances that director Keith Burke draws from 20 members of Kildare Youth Theatre are pretty good, and Ross MacMahon shows real quality as Jack, making his initial amazement comical but true, and progressing through obsessive fatherly love to the howl of pain as a bereft survivor."

-Jeremy Kingston of The Times, July 2008

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DirectorKeith Burke
Sound Design: Ross MacMahon
1st Assistant Director: Jill O'Donnell
2nd Assistant Director: Beibhinn Jones
Set Design: Keith Burke
Set Construction: Rico Edmoon, Jill O'Donnell, Deirdre O'Donnell, Mick Keogh & Chloe Keane
Lighting: Peter Lee


Jack - Ross MacMahon
Lisa  - Beibhinn Jones
Stacy - Sarah O'Farrell
Barry - Declan Armstrong
Holly - Mary McDermot
Karen - Sophie Ellis
Janine - Jill O'Donnell
Amy - Louise Lonergan
Marta - Emile Smyth
Marie - Deirdre O'Donnell
Ryan - Thomas O'Driscoll
Soldier #1 - Aidan Keane
Soldier #2 - Emmet Faherty
Crowd - Nicky Reid, Bonnie Redville & Amy Quille
Mother - Sandi Buckley
Parent - Declan Armstrong
Entertainer - Evan Kearney
Baby's voice - Alex Burke

"[...] a bold production from Kildare Youth Theatre, headed up by a strong performance from Ross MacMahon as Jack"

-Sarah Hemming, July 2008

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A collection of some other significant 2008 moments for KYT

For a week in March and a week in October, Artistic Director Peter Hussey and facilitator Keith Burke (who in 2008 directed the highly-successful Scenes from Family Life) as well as Brenda Donohue, were all invited to Florence Italy for the 9th Intercity Connections Festival.

At the festival, which is a special collaboration with the National Theatre's Connections festival (see above) the members from Crooked House Theatre Company ran 'international workshops' where they helped young Italian actors with their Connections performances. 

For the 2008 year, workshops were given on Enda Walsh's Chatroom as well as Moira Buffini's A Vampire Story, two plays which Kildare Youth Theatre had both ran productions of before the festival.

The Italian productions were than performed in October 2008 in Florence.


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Ever wondered the difference between Kildare Youth Theatre (KYT) and Crooked House Theatre Company (CHT)? 

Never knew what the Outreach scheme or Crooked Mice were?

Check out this Structure Breakdown PDF released in 2008 which highlights how Crooked House works and what it subsidiaries include.

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For a number of years, Kildare Youth Theatre held a yearly fundraiser event in the form of an Oscars-style Awards Night.

The night was an opportunity to not only raise funds which help support the work we do, but to also show praise and recognition to those who have shown of excellent talent or spirit within the last season and it's productions.

KYT members pre-filled voting forms before the night, where winners were read out live in front of an audience of members.

Categories at the 2008 Awards Night were:​

  • Best Male Actor in a Lead Role

  • Best Female Actor in a Lead Role

  • Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Best Ensemble Acting

  • Best Physical Performer

  • Most Promising Newcomer (Under 18)

  • Most Promising Newcomer (Over 18)

  • Best Monologue Delivery

  • Best Scene

  • Best Comic Performer

  • Best Developed Small Character

  • Most Acting Progress

  • Best Workshop Participant/Team Player

  • Spirit of KYT 

  • Young Director Award

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