TeeNEXTers Festival 2015 

26th-29th November 2015, Lille, France

Once again, Le Grand Bleu theatre of Lille, France, invited us to participate in the yearly TeeNEXTers Festival. Involving the participation of the aforementioned, as well as Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, Laboratorio de Artes de Valladolid of Spain, BUDA Kunstcentrum of Belgium, La Rose des Vents of France and Kildare Youth Theatre, TeeNEXTers is the youth installment of the larger NEXT festival, a theatre festival spanning North-West France and Southern Belgium. 

Enhancing critical thinking for young people in Europe, the festival is an Erasmus+ funded youth exchange project which uses artistic collaboration to enhance young people's ability to express their opinions.

The participants travel in and around Lille, watching local pieces of theatre associated with the main festival. Then, ideas and experiences garnered from the shows are broken down, worked upon, and devised on, during daily critiquing-skill workshops, hosted by facilitators from each participating theatre company. This involves multi-national devising and relationship building for the participants. 

Works produced from the groups were displayed in a performance on Le Grand Bleu's stage at the end of the fesitval. 

Watch a documentary of the 2015 Festival here:

theatre.camp 2015

27th July-9th August 2015, Bundeszentrum Wassergspreng, Lower Austria, Austria

A collection of images taken during the festival

theatre.camp 2015 facilitator team

theatre.camp 2015 Irish team

theatre.camp was an Erasmus+ funded international youth exchange project led by BiondekBühne, and which took place in Austria during the summer of 2015.

 

During the week 60 young theatre makers between the ages of 15-25 from Austria, Greece, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic,  Romania and of course Kildare Youth Theatre, took part in making a short performance of street theatre.

 

They worked alongside one another in multicultural daily workshops lead by facilitators from each country. These workshops, and the project, culminated in a collection of short plays by the groups which were staged on the streets of three Austrian cities: Modling, Baden and the capital Vienna. 

The styles of theatre explored in these workshops were;

  • Body/Voice Programme - using the voice and rhythms to make a soundscape performance - facilitated by the Austrian team

  • Intentions Programme - learning methods that help actors to achieve truth in performance, especially on using physical expression and movement - facilitated by the Czech Republic artists

  • Poetry Slam and Playback - making a performance using spoken word, and also Playback theatre - led by the Greek artists

  • Storytelling programme - using the participants' personal experiences to devise stories for performance - facilitated by the Romanian team

  • Physical Theatre Programme - physical and movement theatre - facilitated by Polish artists

  • Image Performance programme- making images from material, puppets, objects and people - Led by Estonian theatre makers

  • White Mask Programme - using the faceless white mask as a means to perform - led by the Irish facilitators 

theatre.camp took place at Bundeszentrum Wassergspreng, a large park and the main campsite of the Austrian Scouting Federation. Participants spend their time here, sleeping in cabins, eating communal meals and using open green fields as workshop spaces. The only time the camp was left was to perform at the three nearest cities. 

Speak Out Youth Exchange  

19th-26th July 2015, Newbridge, Co.Kildare

Speak Out was an Erasmus+ funded youth exchange focused on promoting the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, in response to a growing concern of the rise of intolerance for human rights across the continent. 

Organised by Kildare Youth Theatre of Crooked House, Speak Out also involved the participation of BiondekBühne of Austria, Le Grand Bleu of France and Circus Stjerneskud of the Danish island of Bornholm. 

The project activity centered on 8 days of collaborative theatre-making exploring aspects of this EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The theatre-making aimed to create and show to the Newbridge public, pieces of drama that highlight the fact we've got this Charter, and that it applies to all countries in the EU. 

 

Groups featuring young actors from all participating countries each looked at a common right they felt was abused and through theatre, described how they saw that right being abused in their individual communities/countries. These rights included; Dignity, Freedoms, Equality, Solidarity, Citizen’s Rights, and Justice.

Participants were motivated by the reliasation that they were previously unaware of the Charter, and the extent to which it has been abused in recent years.

Many thanks to Patrician Secondary School for offering their open spaces during the exchange.

A selection of Speak Out posters made by participants, referring to the values of the EU Charter. 

A short edited documentary of the project can be viewed below:

Acting Up Training Course 

5th-12th July 2015, Newbridge, Co.Kildare

Acting Up was an Erasmus+ funded and Léargas assisted training course focused on using theatre methods as tools in youth work. Involving only participants aged 18+, Acting Up aimed to increase participants’ abilities to develop creative youth work and group work projects, especially in the field of international youth work. 

The project involved the participation of the hosts Kildare Youth Theatre, as well as; Rogaland Theatre of Norway, Le Grand Bleu of France, Peirama of Greece, and Hellenic Theatre/Drama Education Network, also from Greece. A collaborative project, participants grouped up to learn skills in workshops, lead by facilitators from all participating countries. 

The content worked on included:

  • Using Theatre of the Oppressed methods with young people - raising awareness of the things young actors are passionate about.

  • Using issue-based drama methods with young people - learning how to develop work based on these passions.

  • Using cartoon commedia with young people - exploring makeup and mask work for a more energetic and dramatic style of theatre.

  • Using movement as a language of expression and exploration in work with young people - creating theatre with young people through the medium of silent movement. 

Many thanks to Patrician Secondary School for kindly offering their open spaces during the exchange.

Read what some participants had to say:

Crooked House is a lovely place to be for young people! Local people just rush in and out making it a home for everyone. The wonderful studio offered as space to perform and discover its other, while the adorable cooker was making wonders for us. Everyone’s very friendly and eager to help you so you can focus on the workshops.The performances created were absolutely amazing! For sure this is a place you can teach things one to each other. - Greek male. 

That Training course brought me a lot of reflection. I had time to learn about the Theatre of the Oppressed, the workshop I choose, but also to learn and think about how to manage a workshop with young people, how to introduce theatre to people who never played before. I saw three different ways of working (the three workshops), and the little workshops (clown, BOS and impro) also brought me a lot of material to work now as a facilitator. This program also allowed me to go in a exchange as a professional (and no more as a student!), that helps me for my self-confidence, and to meet other professionals more or less young, from my country and others. - French female. 

A blog post written after the course had ended can be read here

William Shakespeare's 'Othello'

4th-7th May 2015, Scoil na Naomh Uilig, Rickardstown, Co. Kildare | 18th-19th June 2015, Liffey Studio 

CAST:

Othello – Darius Ryan-Kadem

Iago – Caolán Dundon

Desdemona – Éadaoin Barrett

Roderigo – Evan Lynch

Cassio – David Devaney

Emilia – Emma Finegan

Montano – Alec Devaney

Brabantio / Attendant – Robert Doran

Bianca – Katie O’ Connor

Duke / Gentleman – Aran Cluskey

Gratiano - Graham Butler-Breen

Senator / Lady – Rachel Foran

Lodovico – Eoin Harnett

Clown / Servant – Sean O’ Brien

Attendants / Musicians – Sarah McCormack, Graham Butler Breen, Alec Delaney.

 

Original music by Darius Ryan-Kadem

 

"If you are free, actually even if you have lots to do on the 18th/19th of June you should cancel EVERYTHING to see Othello by the Kildare Youth Theatre. Seriously.

Bernard and I went to see this production at Scoil Naomh Uilig a few weeks ago and just couldn't believe the standard of both acting and production. I was lucky enough, while a student, to have experienced a Shakespearean play in Stratford on Avon in England and more than once as a student in Galway. Kildare Youth Theatre's production really surpassed anything I had experienced. Of course, Peter Hussey's production is intimate and immersive making you feel like a character in the play rather than an observer.Treat yourself and your parents or your children or your friends or just people you like.

Go see! Then come back and gush like me!"

- Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy

Othello is Kildare Youth Theatre's third major Shakespearean production with the Generator / Pulse ensemble, coming at a timely point in our European history with the East. The play can be seen as part of the literary canon that alludes to the West's historic (and current) attitude to the East, particularly to non-Christian Muslim and Turkish culture. We have often been encouraged to fear the Arab, Islam, the Ottoman  - from the days of Greek resistance to Xerxes and the Persians, through the fall of Constantinople to Suliman, down to today's growing fear of Islam.

 

Casting Othello as a Persian warrior living in, and mostly saving the Western states of Venice and Cyprus, we hoped that the play threw a little light on this historic tension between East and West. 

 

It is, of course, not the main focus of our production. We are interested in the boiling relationships that Shakespeare dissects in this island barracks geared for war. That the war never happens leaves the soldiers with pent-up energy that’s barely contained: celebrations turn into brawls; the sober and courtly become night-brawler; time itself mutates into something unreckonable; and the close relationship between two long-serving soldiers sours and festers, propelling the action of this great play.

 

Iago is relatively easy to understand, for all his complexity. His raging hurt at being passed over for promotion (after his long and loyal service to Othello) is reason enough for him to set vengeance in motion. He does not know how it will end when he begins to plot and we are hooked by his delight at how events spiral almost out of his giddy control. His burning bitterness fuels all. Othello, on the other hand, has made calculated attempts to knit himself into the aristocracy of this powerful city state. But being an outsider here marks him. However, he weds one of their golden girls and promotes to his side one of their golden boys. This is indeed the classic behaviour pattern of the native-made-good (the Raj in India, the Catholic middle-classes in 19th Ireland, the ‘warrant chiefs’ in 20th century Kenya and Nigeria). It is the behaviour of one who desires to be accepted into the ruling class but who actually rarely is. And Iago can see this. Like the Joker in The Dark Knight, he plays on Othello’s insecurities, pushing him - in the space of a day - from hero to murderer. Othello’s fall from the status of lover to killer in such a short space of time is hard to understand, and difficult to justify. This, and other knotty complexities of character and relationship, is the focus of our work in this version of Othello.

 

The production was staged in the round (with audience on all four sides), on floor level, and without theatre lights. The text is unedited but some actors double-up. As is usual with Kildare Youth Theatre’s classic play productions, Leaving Cert pupils who are studying the play performed the majority of the roles. They came from seven different schools in Kildare, and are all members of Kildare Youth Theatre.

With great thanks to the principal, staff, and board of management of Scoil Na Naomh Uilig.

A Promotional Trailer:

National Festival Of Youth Theatre Scotland 2015

2nd-6th July 2015, Fife/Glenrothes, Scotland

The National Festival of Youth Theatre Scotland (NFYT) is a celebration of youth theatre featuring participants from mainly Scotland, as well as groups from England, Sweden, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway and the USA having participated in previous years. 

In total, the festival, which lasts up to five days, has around 300 participants aged 14-18 who devise new theatre and perform home grown pieces at the Festival's theatre. 

What makes the festival unique is that all participants camp at a local, private camping site, this year in Fife. Here, participants sleep in tents and spend time mingling and interacting with different nationalities. A traditional Scottish ceilidh is also held one of the nights involving all 300 participants. 

During the daytime, participants travel to the local Gelnrothes Hall, a shopping complex with its own theatre space, and using empty stores as workshop spaces. 

Workshops, which are led by facilitators from the participating countries, included; Magic, Stage Combat, Song Writing, Games, and Improv among others.

The Irish NFYT 2015 group was led by Kyle Walsh & Evan Lynch. The group, consisting mostly of the Pulse ensemble, performed their self-devised play Indigo for the festival (see below).

Indigo 

4th July 2015, Fife, Scotland | 14th August 2015, Riverbank Theatre

Indigo was a devised play created by the Pulse and Ignition ensembles of Kildare Youth Theatre and intended for the 2015 NFYT festival.

40 minutes in length, Indigo was inspired by the monumental victory for LGBT rights in Ireland following the successful 2015 Marriage Referendum. 

A collection of devised scenes which combine into one communal thread on LGBT rights, Indigo is a fusion of comedy and drama, touching on themes of homophobia or heteronormality, and the subsequent transition to a more supportive society. 

Directed by Kyle Walsh and Evan Lynch, Indigo was brought back to be performed a month later alongside the hugely successful Hospital Food, to mark the end of a Summer Showcase. 

Bash: Latterday Plays 

1st-4th June 2015, Liffey Studio. 

Bash: Latterday Plays is a collection of three dark one act plays written by Neil LaBute. Each play is an exploration of the complexities of evil in everyday life and all feature extremely small casts. 

The first play Medea Redux, inspired by the works of Euripides, involves a young women telling her story of revenge against a man who abused her. It was performed by Éadaoin Barrett and Reka Ferencz, who shared the role across different nights. 

The second, Iphigenia in Orem, also inspired by Euripides, reveals the awful sacrifice a young man makes for his career. It was a solo monologue featuring Darius Ryan-Kadem. 

The third, A Gaggle of Saints tells of the shocking events during one night's post-debs revels. Featuring Evan Lynch and Katie O'Connor (as seen on the poster). 

All the plays were directed by Peter Hussey and Reka Ferencz and was a project involving the Generator ensemble.

Bash was Kildare Youth Theatre's second project for the 2015 June Fest season.

Performed with special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd.

Dropped Out or Kicked Out? 

23rd March 2015, Liffey Studio 

With thanks to Sarah Meaney and MOBOX Films

Dropped Out or Kicked Out? was a unique  NUI Maynooth Research Collaboration project led by Sarah Meaney and Medbh Boyle and involving participation with Kildare Youth Theatre Members. 

Sarah is a PhD student at NUI Maynooth, who was researching the ways in which young people can be 'persuaded' to leave school whether it be suspension, expulsion or dropping out of school.

Sarah partnered with Artistic Director Peter Hussey who is also an NUI Maynooth lecturer, and thus Sarah turned to Kildare Youth Theatre to help make her visual project. 

The project involved the creation of a short theatre piece, written and performed based on experiences and ideas from the young group. The finished piece was filmed (shown here) and was shown to other groups of early school leavers who have experienced school exclusion. 

More can be read on the project in the description of the Vimeo video

A sequel to Dropped Out Kicked Out - completing the research project - can be viewed in our 2016 archive

National Theatre Connections 2015: 'Hospital Food'

13-14th March, 28th June, 14th August 2015, Riverbank Theatre | 25th April 2015, Lyric Theatre Belfast | 3rd July 2015, Dorfman Theatre, National Theatre of London | 27th July 2015, Liffey Studio

Since 1995, the National Theatre in London has been commissioning plays from established writers specifically to be performed by young actors from the UK & Ireland. Since 2003, Kildare Youth Theatre has performed almost 40 plays from the 'Connections' portfolio. Connections is the largest festival of youth theatre in the world.

Each year, participating theatre companies select one of the ~10 new plays written for that years festival. They perform these plays locally, and then at the nearest Connections host theatre, where the plays are reviewed by a representative of the National Theatre of London. The best rendition of each play is then chosen to be performed in London. This is exactly what happened in our 2015 Connections play, Hospital Food.

 

Set in the present day, Hospital Food follows ten teenagers from the ages 14 to 17 who are the residents of a teenage cancer unit in a city hospital. All of them (a mix of boys and girls) are undergoing various conventional treatments for different cancers at different stages of progression. Their shared illness bonds them and they support each other as they reveal their fears and hopes for the future while confronting, head on, the very real prospects of an untimely death.  

 

An insightful and wise play about loss and friendship, Hospital Food was written by Eugene O'Hare and Directed by Peter Hussey.

Click through to see images taken from the Riverbank performances: 

What the critics had to say: 

Click through to see images taken during the performance in London:

The performances were committed and heartfelt, and the most engaging moments were when the actors were really listening to one another. It was clear the actors had thoroughly explored the physical and emotional repercussions of their characters’illnesses, and it became apparent in the post-show chat that they had drawn upon the personal experience of one of their cast members. 

-Adam Penford, National Theatre of London

The young actors are a solid ensemble, and the relationships picked apart on stage work well, halfway between a teen soap opera and a medical drama. This blend allows for a comfortable entrance into a world and circumstance most of us could not imagine, played throughout with sensitivity and occasional subtle brilliance. [...] The piece achieved its aim, flitting between the natural and the poignant, with a cast that worked solidly and gave glimpses of great flair. 

-Ben Rodgers, A Younger Theatre. 

More can be read on our Awards & Reviews page here.

Watch below an edited documentary of our trip to London:

Miscellaneous

See below a collection of some other noteworthy moments in 2015:

Charlie Farrell as Josh & Alec Delaney as Gus