TeeNEXTers Festival 2014

25th-29th November 2014, Lille, France

Our friends in Theatre Le Grand Bleu in Lille invited us and other young European performers and critics to take part in an exciting project for young critics, called TeeNEXTErs in November 2014.


Together with Peter Hussey, 5 young Kildare Youth Theatre members traveled to Lille from 25th to 29th November to attend performances at the associated NEXT Festival and learn about critical reviewing and writing. 


The young people saw productions from exciting French and Belgian dance and theatre companies, showcasing post-dramatic, experimental work that left the audience divided in opinion. The young people then worked with Peter Hussey, Gareth Vile and other artists to make performace-based responses to the work which were presented in theatre le Gramd Bleu on the final night.


The irish participants (pictured below) were Megan Mc Sorley, Sarah Mc Cormack, Caolán Dundon, Evan Lynch and Lauren Kelly.

A Dreamy Future Youth Exchange 

1st-10th September 2014, Petralia Sottana, Sicily, Italy 

As seen overleaf, 'A Dreamy Future (In My Hands)' was an Erasmus+ funded Youth Exchange in Sicily, Italy hosted by Associazione Turistica Pro Petralia Francesco Tropea. It also involved the participation of  Siaures Lietuvos Kolegija of Lithuania, Het Schienvat of the Netherlands, Tmelnik O.S. of the Czech Republic and Asociacion Juvenil Intercambia of Spain - with six young actors from each company participating. 

The rural location of the exchange suites its theme perfectly - youth unemployment, and exploring theatre to discuss the emotions felt by workplace discrimination and ageism, as wella s exploring alternative systems of employment such as a 'green economy'. 

Upon arrival, each country presented a self-made short documentary showing where they come from, their style of theatre and local cultures. Throughout the week, participants from all countries split up into groups of all nationalities to devise theatre and build friendships. 

The exchange used its surroundings, Sicily, to highlight an example of a green economy, and during the exchange participants went on a nature hike, and visited the local hydroelectric plant, amongst other trips.

The exchange then culminated in a presentation from each group, showing that they had made during their 10 days. Work produced included a short play, a cartoon, a documentary and other art forms. 

Acting Out Youth Exchange

21st-29th June 2014

Acting Out was an Erasmus+ funded youth exchange hosted in Newbridge by Kildare Youth Theatre, on the theme of difference and otherness in Europe. The project used theatre as a device to discuss and raise awareness of difference and otherness in the context of European identity, and involved the participation of Associação Juventude de Candelária of Portugal, BiondekBühne of Austria, and Be Enriched Enterprises of the UK.

Some of the core aspects touched on during the exchange were the exploration of issues of cultural, gendered, ethnic, social, political and sexual difference as well as raising awareness of the factors that have an impact on 'difference' amongst young people in particular (such as popular culture, music, all types of media, peer groups, national culture and tradition, gender stereotyping, family, and school). 

At the beginning of the exchange, each theatre company brought with them a short presentation, to help break the ice. Throughout the week, participants were split into groups of mixed-nationalities to work together and devise pieces of theatre based on the topic of the exchange. Pieces were then performed at the end of the exchange by each individual group. 

Participants also spent a day touring Dublin, hosted an impromptu Open Mic, and also watched a performance of Karmazoo by Cáolan Dundon.

Visit the Acting Out Official Facebook Group Page to look at images taken, moments shared, and memories reminisced from throughout the exchange.

Watch a short edited documentary on Acting Out below:

Watch the final performances below:

William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' 

7th-8th May 2014, The Moat Theatre, Naas, Co. Kildare



Romeo Montague - Caolán Dundon

Juliet Capulet - Emma Lynch

Nurse - Eadaoin Barrett

Friar Lawrence - Mo Kaddem

Mercutio - Paul Miller

Benvolio - John Cleary

Tybalt - Jerry Chikwe

Lady Capulet - Emma Finegan

Lord Capulet - David Devaney

Lady Montague - Éimhear Mulhare

Lord Montague - Eoin Harnett

Prince Escalus - Paul Miller

Abraham - Evan Lynch 

Samson - Terry Norman

Gregory - Jack Mc Hale

Balthazar - Megan Mc Sorley

Count Paris - Jack Higgins

Peter - Katie O' Connor

Potpan - Jae Suen

Apothecary - Karl Botfield

Servant - Emily Mc Tigue

Chorus - Allie Whelan

Sergeant of the Watch - Evan Lynch

Watch - Ryan Keane, Graham Butler Breen, Rachel Foran

Citizens - Gemma Lynch, Elena Walsh

Guards - Shaun Doyle, Eron Ferizi

Friar John (Soeur Jean) - Elena Walsh



Directed by Peter Hussey

Assistant Director - Mary Mc Dermott

Lighting by Keith Burke and Paul Winters

Music by Eoin Harnett, Mo Kaddem and Shaun Doyle

Projection Designs by Alice Bennett

Stage Assistant - Dylan Aspell.

In a city dominated, and used as a playground, by two powerful banking families, one spoilt young teenager is thrust into manhood by the events that unfold after he becomes one young woman's only hope of freedom.


In 2013 the young performers in Kildare Youth Theatre staged a very well-received Macbeth. In 2014 the cast bring to the stage characters who are closer in age to themselves.


Romeo is seen as spoilt, bored young teenager in love with being in love, writing melodramatic poetry and disillusioned with the empty and vapid life led by his friends and family.  Juliet is a prize, owned by her father and maintained in perfect readiness for marriage by her distant mother, but inside she yearns to escape the prison they’ve placed her in. When she meets Romeo all things change. He feels real love and she sees a chance to get out. His inability to do anything in moderation leads to a chain of events that she must control before she loses her escape route forever.


In this production the young are pitched against the old; the young struggle to find a place for themselves in a materialist, capitalist city where they only have value as hooks and bait which their parents use to expand their empires. Played by actors who are close in age to the characters, it becomes truly shocking to see the lengths they will go to – suicide, murder, manslaughter - in order to escape their fate.


The production was true to the text, unedited and running the full length. Music, lighting and costumes are all designed by the young company.


The cast was led by Caolán Dundon as Romeo, Emma Lynch as Juliet, Mo Kadem as Friar Lawrence and Eadaoin Barrett as the Nurse. The full cast of 26 were drawn from all over Kildare and are composed of pupils from nine secondary schools in the county. It was directed by Peter Hussey.


This production was funded by The Arts Council under its YPCE Programme Fund.

Youth Encounters 2014 

21st-26th April 2014, Lille, France 

Youth Encounters was a youth exchange project which used theatre and artistic collaboration to explore young people’s understanding of their own culture. It was hosted be Le Grand Bleu of Lille, France. Like many Youth Exchanges, Youth Encounters aimed to gather young people of varying European nationalities in order to share their experiences and artistic practices.

The project involved the participation of the hosts Le Grand Bleu, as well as Rogaland Theatre of Norway, Laboratorio De Las Artes De Valladolid of Spain, a collection of local Lille-based Secondary-level art schools, and of course Kildare Youth Theatre. 

Core themes of the project included; 

  • Core values of youth European identity, and what it means to be a hero or a good citizen

  • Through the theme of heroism, the ideas of bravery, strength, and revolt

  • Sharing each countries unique style of theatre-making and performing in multi-cultural workshops

Before they arrived, each participating group devised a theme with the only prompt provided being "Utopias and Heroes".

Kildare Youth Theatre presented a play called Flawless to the Exchange - a play on "suffering for beauty".

Throughout the exchange, all participants were mixed into different groups and ate meals together, forming and bonding relationships between the differing nationalities. 

NT Connections Festival 2014: 'Same' & 'Hearts'

11th-12th March 2014, Riverbank Theatre | 23rd March 2014, Liffey Studio | 29th March 2014, Lyric Theatre Belfast

We presented two brand new plays as part of the National Theatre (UK) Connections project, especially for teenagers by two of Britain’s most inventive new writers. They were Same by Deborah Bruce and Hearts by Luke Norris, performed one after the other in that order.


KYT have taken part in Connections since 2002, and have performed 28 plays from the Connections repetoire of new work for young performers. This year's production brings the total to 30.


"The Connections Portfolio is a wonderful collection of work," says Peter Hussey, Artistic Director of the youth theatre. "It has given us the opportunity to present not only new plays, but very often we've been the company who've brought the work of international writers to Ireland for the first time. It was a real thrill, for example, to be the first company to stage any work by Norwegian playwright, Jon Fosse, in the country. We premiered his play, Purple, in Ireland in early 2003. And while the premieres are by youth theatres and not professional companies, the fact still remains that Irish audiences get their first taste of many international playwrights through this sector. We also presented the first work in the Republic of Ryan Craig, Fausto Paravidino, Bryony Lavery, Denis Kelly, and Laline Paull. This has all been thanks to Connections.  The two new plays we present this year will also be the first time these writers' work has been seen here."


Hearts by Luke Norris is about football. It is set in the changing rooms of a local, unimpressive, football team. It explores the tensions and rivalries of the team, and of the girls who support them. The play is about perseverance, struggle and hope – a sharply observed comedy appealing to anyone who has ever struggled to get a football team off the ground.


Same by Deborah Bruce is set in a nursing home for the elderly. It has a set of characters in their 80s and some in their mid-teens. It looks at the similarities between the two groups and how, ultimately, we are all the same. It also deals with family, death and loss in a touching, real and humorous way.


Peter Hussey directs the plays, which feature a cast of 22 and a crew of 10 young people from all over Kildare. Some of the group are very experienced, having been in several plays over the last three years; while for others this marks their stage debut.


The Young:

Emma ... ... ... ... ... ALANNAH RYAN

Fay ... ... ... ... ... ...  HAZEL EGAN

Harry ... ... ... ... ...  SÉAN O' BRIEN

Sarah ... .... ... ... ... SARAH MC CORMACK

Callum ... ... ... ... .. ERON FERIZI

Jo-Jo ... ... ... ... ... ... SOPHIE RYAN /

                                 EMILY MC TIGUE


The Old:

Clare ... ... ... ... ... ...EMMA FINEGAN

Marion ... ... ... ....  ÉADAOIN BARRETT

Sadie ... ... ... ... ... . EMMA LYNCH

Alf ... ... ... ... ... ...    CAOLÁN DUNDON

Eddie ... ... ... ... ...  JOHN CLEARY

Grace ... ... ... ... ... AOIFE TAYLOR

Josie ... ... ... ... . ... MEGAN MC SORLEY

Harry ... ... ... ... ... JERRY CHIKWE-IWU






Directed by PETER HUSSEY

Lighting by KEITH BURKE









DEAN KELLY www.pictureboots.com



Mo Kaddem


PRODUCED by Crooked House Theatre Company




The Boys:

Pie ... ... ... ... ... EVAN LYNCH

Harry ... ... ... ...CAOLÁN DUNDON

Reedy ... ... ... ...JOHN CLEARY

Mary ... .... ... ... JERRY CHIKWE-IWU

Langers ... ... ...JACK HIGGINS

TJ ... ... ... ... ... ... JASON SUEN

Leon ... ... ... ... .PAUL MILLER

Blackhall ... ... .EOIN HARNETT


The Girls:

Bella ... ... ... ... ...MEGAN MC SORLEY

Simone ... ... ...   ALLIE WHELAN

Jade ... ... ... ... ... KATIE O' CONNOR

Jo ... ... ... ... ... ... GEMMA CAREY

Tiff ... ... ... ... ... .. RACHEL FORAN

Becky ... ... ... ...  MOLLY KIELY


Since 1995, the National Theatre in London has been commissioning plays from established writers specifically to be performed by young people across the UK and Ireland. Founded by Suzi Graham-Adriani, with Helen Prosser, Connections invites groups to perform one of the ten new plays at Regional Festivals held at a professional theatre in their area. In Ireland the annual regional festival has been held at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast; the Everyman Palace, Cork; Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge; and the Grand Opera House, Belfast.


A random performance group from each play is then chosen to stage their production at the end of the programme in July at the National Theatre itself. In 2003 Kildare Youth Theatre was one of the ten selected, and premiered Mark Ravenhill's Totally Over You. In 2007 the young company was again selected and performed Ravenhill's Scenes From Family Life at the National. Since 2003, Kildare Youth Theatre has performed 28 new plays from the Connections portfolio, including many by Irish writers. 2014 marked the first year Kildare Youth Theatre chose to select and perform two Connections plays, running them back to back with unique casts. 


Any young company from the UK or Ireland, school drama group, or youth theatre (whose members are aged 13 to 19) may apply to take part in Connections, the world's largest festival of youth theatre. 


In 2014 Connections was supported by the Arts Council of England.

Reviews of Hearts and Same can be read on our Awards & Reviews Page