TeeNEXTers Festival 2016 

16th-22nd November 2016, Lille, France

TeeNEXTers is a yearly Erasmus+ education project organised by Theatre le Grand Bleu in Lille, France. It runs alongside the international European festival known as 'NEXT Arts Festival'. During TeeNEXTers, for one week, groups of young people from Ireland, Belgium, France, Scotland and Norway meet and view selected shows from the main NEXT Festival.

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

 

Taking place in Lille, the surrounding suburbs, and southern Belgium, the project involved  the  participation of host Le Grand Bleu, as well as Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, Rogaland Theatre of Norway, Teatro Alderón of Spain, BUDA of Belgium and of course Kildare Youth Theatre.

During the week, the young actors from across Europe watched local shows, discussed their feelings in skilled critiquing workshops, and also devised theatre in collaboration with one another.

 

With TeeNEXTers, the aim is to reaffirm that freedom of thought and freedom of speech are some of the core values in Europe.  As we are all working with and for young people, it aims to foster their self-confidence, their ability to take a stand and to express their ideas through innovative ways. 

A Doll's House

8th November 2016, Riverbank Theatre

A selection of images taken during rehearsals as well as live performances:

"One of the main reasons for staging A Doll’s House today is to explore the dramatic dilemma at its heart: one that is absent in much modern drama.

 

It centres on the role of Nora. She has secretly broken the law in order to do the emotionally right thing (to save her husband’s life). If he finds out about it, he is morally bound to consider her a criminal. If she stays quiet she is open to blackmail. In either position her family will be destroyed and her marriage will be ended. How she resolves it is by doing the unthinkable. She leaves.

 

It is very clear that the problem here is not the people but the culture—the law, traditions and social roles that underpin the morality of the characters. Nora cannot see a situation where she can exist within this culture (represented symbolically by the house and its occupants and visitors) and be happy, or fulfilled. So she leaves the culture entirely. Ibsen is saying it is not possible to be fulfilled in this culture—you have to leave it and start building a new one yourself—even though it will be dangerous, unknown, possibly solitary, and could easily fail. Such is freedom."

Excerpt from the show's Progamme.

One of the great attractions of this emotionally-charged play is that it presents us with a character who faces a burning dilemma and who seems doomed no matter which option she chooses to solve it. And then, when all seems lost, she chooses to do the unthinkable. The ending of the play, a slammed door, sent shock waves around the world that still echo today. It ushered modern drama onto centre stage, banishing aristocratic comedy and melodramatic to the side.

 

It premiered in Copenhagen in 1879 at the dawn of the suffragette movement, and has ever since become one of the world’s most performed plays.​

 

This production was especially made for schools – this play was a prescribed single text, and also a comparative text, for both ordinary and higher level Leaving Cert English in 2017.
 

The day time show was followed by a post-show discussion.

A review of the play, written by one of our 2016/17 Erasmus volunteers can be read on our blog here

Dropped Out or Kicked Out? 2 

10th September 2016, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Maynooth

"Established in 2013, the Maynooth Education Forum is a unique event on the education policy landscape in Ireland. The Education Forum is not an academic conference – rather, it is an open space where an invited group of around eighty education policymakers and stakeholders come together once a year to exchange ideas and reflect on key issues in education"

Excerpt from the NUIM Website.

The Maynooth Education Forum is a yearly event hosted by NUI Maynooth which aims to bring light to issues and thoughts on Education in Ireland. Artistic Director Peter Hussey is a lecturer in NUI Maynooth, and therefore Kildare Youth Theatre has participated in the forum a number of times, using theatre as a device to express our response to the topics touched on by the Forum. 

Dropped Out or Kicked Out? 2 is the final piece as part of a research project led by NUI Maynooth student Sarah Meeney, which is based on exclusion and the forced expulsion of students in the Irish education system. 

The play, created for video format, is a collection of scenes based on monologues and testimonies from those who have been excluded from the education system - and in some cases - society. 

A special performance of Car Plays was also presented by Kildare Youth Theatre at the Forum.

More can be read about the Dropped Out or Kicked Out? project on our 2015 archive.

Read more about the Maynooth Education Forum here.

Traffic

20th-22nd June 2016, Liffey Studio 

Traffic was a performance of six  selected scenes from different plays by Shakespeare which combined to be a full 90 minute performance.

Each scene was relatively short featuring a unique cast, and taken from different Shakespearean plays. The scenes were united by the theme of trafficked women – that is, women who are forced into marriage, sex or love (with an illusion to ‘the two hours traffic of our stage’). 

 

Serving as a simpler rendition of performing the iambic pentameter, speaking verse, understanding character and imagery in Shakespeare, and performing naturalised characters and situations, Traffic was not as traditionally as tense as our mainstream yearly Shakespeare plays.

A full cast and production list, as well as the plays sampled from can be read here.

June Fest 2016: 'Car Plays'

4th-5th June & 14th August 2016, DID Electrical/SuperValu Car Park, Newbridge | 25th June 2016, Basin St Harbour, Naas, Co. Kildare | September 10th 2016, NUI Maynooth, Maynooth.

As part of a tradition of performing site-specific theatre during Newbridge's yearly June Fest, Kildare Youth Theatre returned in 2016 to perform Car Plays - 6 unique short plays performed almost entirely inside of parked cars, dotted around the Newbridge SuperValu car park.

The audience, in groups of three, sits in the back seat of each car, moving from car to car to see each of the six short plays. 


The plays were devised by the members of the Ignition and Pulse companies –Kildare Youth Theatre’s groups of young people aged 17 to 20. Each play was no longer than 10 minutes, and took place  

as if the audience was not there in the car. The actors used the front seats and the environs of the car.

Each car sat three audience members, who would rotate cars after their respective plays had finished, for a total viewing time of 1 hour. 

The plays are set in different imagined spaces (on a country road, outside a supermarket, in a driveway of a house, etc). They range from comic to serious, and explore themes such as the break-up of relationships, road-kill, bullying, boyfriend rivalry, family secrets and commuting.  They were are all directed by Peter Hussey, with participation of their respective actors.

Car Plays was brought back for the 2016 Naas & Sallins Midsummer Arts Festival.

Not listed overleaf is Mate (feat. Caolán Dundon & Evan Lynch & dir. Peter Hussey) 

William Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice'

10th-11th May 2016, Liffey Studio 

"The Merchant of Venice is a wonderfully complex piece of writing, revealing a world fueled by money, held together by bonds, and motivated almost entirely by self-interest.

 

In our exploration of the play we find not one single character who acts selflessly: all are on the make, or gambling for status, or using each other to get what they want. The dominant theme that emerges for us is of control: each tries to bind another, through legal contracts, love ties, promises, emotional blackmail, excessive generosity, rigid ritual, debt, cultural tradition, or mercy. Portia, one of Shakespeare's most compelling women, is seen as the consummate expert in the art of binding, having herself been bound to a bizarre ritualistic marriage condition imposed by her dead father. By the end of the play she has firmly bound to her a man she can control (Bassanio), in debted the Republic to her for saving one of its leading citizens (Antonio), and sundered a complex bond between her husband and his too-generous benefactor.

 

In this world, almost everything can be bought. It is Shakespeare's prophetic glimpse forward to our world of neo-liberal capitalism, where radically diverse communities with opposing religious ideologies can live, buy and sell together despite hating each other's beliefs. The 4 great losers in the play represent modes of thinking and systems of belief that have no place in this new world because they are fixed, immovable and not able to adapt. Morocco (the warrior class bound by honour), Aragon (the nobility bound by rank), Antonio (the Christian bound by New Testament ideas of sacrifice), and Shylock (the Jew bound by Old Testament ideas of vengeance) all appear inflexible and rigid compared to Portia's trickery, adaptability and use of all means at her disposal to get her will (including using her identity, her marriage, and her morality)."

Excerpt from the show's Programme. 

NT Connections Festival 2016 - 'Citizenship'

15th-16th March 2016, Moat Theatre, Naas | 19th-20th March & 20th August 2016, Liffey Studio | 10th April 2016, Lyric Theatre Belfast | 22nd August 2016, Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin

This ever-relevant and hard-hitting, hour-long play, written for the Connections Festival is about a teenager trying to decide 'who' he is, and wondering why this identity seems to be defined by who you are sexually. It's a funny, character-driven play for 15 to 17 year olds, and a sort of 'Snapchat' of young people negotiating their way through multiple choices for living.  

 

The main character, Tom, has a dream in which he is being kissed, but he’s not sure whether by a man or by a woman, and he feels he should choose pretty quickly. His friends’ homophobic teasing and interrogations about what he did with his friend Amy the other night leave Tom no space to make up his mind, and he’s got no one to ask for advice, except maybe people on the internet. 

 

The play depicts a confusing, and at times funny, teenage world where young people have to make important decisions but are not equipped with the skills do make them.  Nobody is able to assist them because in this day and age the adults are all occupied in keeping the consumer culture alive and kicking, and therefore have very little time to speak to the teenagers about anything of any great importance.  Tom must choose a lifestyle.  He must also choose how he becomes a citizen, in a world dominated by consumer-orientated options/choices that are not at all useful for him.  This hour long play is a realistic, funny, cutting-edge exploration of the forces impacting on teenagers as they try, unaided, to become citizens. 

 

A selection of images taken from rehearsals and live shows:

A review of our Citizenship performance can be read on our Awards & Reviews Page.

IGNITE Festival 2016

22nd-24th August 2016, Samuel Beckett Theatre, Trinity College Dublin

Kildare Youth Theatre's 2016 production of Citizenship was also performed at the pilot year of the NAYD IGNITE festival. 

A three day festival set in and around Trinity College Dublin, 

the festival explored performance through a wide programme of activities including public performances, ‘works-in-progress’ sessions and skill-based workshops.  

 

The focus was on celebrating the ambitious work being staged by youth theatres around the country and promoting young people’s creative achievements! The project involved the participation of Roscommon County Youth Theatre, Sligo Youth Theatre, County Wexford Youth Theatre and of course Kildare Youth Theatre.

The day would be spent building friendships and learning new skills in varied workshops, followed by an evening show by one of the participating theatre companies. 

IGNITE was funded by the Arts Council, hosted by NYAD and with generous assistance from RTÉ Arts.

Philip Ridley's 'Karamazoo'

See Above

Performances of Citizenship in the Moat Theatre and the Liffey Studio were preceded by the short one man play Karamazoo.

Performed by Elliot Nolan, the 25 minute monologue play touches on teams of grief and identity, as a young male struggles to cope with the death of a parent. 

A rollercoaster of emotions - from humour to deep sadness - Karamazoo is a perfect piece for young actors or actresses looking to hone their monologue skills. In this case, Elliot Nolan is now studying at the prestigiuous London Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts (LAMDA).

Performed by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd.

Generator Training Programme 

14th-21st February 2016, Valencia, Spain

Generator was an Erasmus+ funded training programme for young and emerging theatre artists who were learning how to facilitate drama workshops. It brought together 50 participants in Valencia, Spain, to train in methods of facilitation used by more experienced and older professions from the Spanish hosts (Go Europe) as well as the participating theatre companies; Denmark (Cirkus Stjerneskud), Austria (Bondiek Bühne), France (Le Grand Bleu), Norway (Rogaland Theatre) and Kildare Youth Theatre.

 

The training was for anyone aged over 18 and used a mix of peer-learning, practical demonstrations, collaborative creation, discussion and reflection to share techniques, and to pass on elements of good practice to the younger participants.

 

The ultimate aim was that each participant would return to their host organization and community better equipped to lead their own workshops with children and young people in schools, youth groups and youth theatres. 

 

In this way, Generator was an employability enhancement project, encouraging and supporting participants to promote themselves as drama facilitators. 

Workshop topics included; White Mask Movement, Viewpoints, How to make a game, and Circus Skills. Programme topics, those which were more intense daily projects, included; How to Run a Drama Youth Project, Storytelling with the Body, Physical Theatre, and Making Social & Political Theatre out of Everyday Moments.

This project was co-ordinated between Go Europe of Valencia and Crooked House Theatre Company. 

A performance, highlighting the work done and content devised throughout the project, was showcased on the last night of the project. 

Generator Performance Night Poster:

Read what some participants had to say:

"I’ve learned a lot of different games and techniques to raise the confidence of a group. I’ve already used some of them in my own rehearsals with my theatre kids. There was nothing really not useful this week – if something wasn’t useful for me, it was still interesting. To end with, I’m really glad that I did this project in Valencia! 

- Austrian male.

"I loved that everyone expressed himself in his or her way. And me too. After a lot of years, I never felt so self-confident and in harmony with myself than this week"

Spanish female.

"I think the project left me with different views of nationalities and changed perspectives. Learning mainly about Spain, as that was where it was based, was incredible as I've never been to Spain working as opposed to being a tourist so I really saw the Spanish people at work and going about daily life, which opened my eyes to how alike we are as nations."

- Irish male.

An edited documentary on Generator can be watched below:

Miscellaneous  

A collection of some other significant 2016 moments for KYT

Since 1997, Newbridge has been twinned with the German town of Bad Lippsringe. This entails yearly visits from one town to the other.

 

During the 2016 Oktoberfest season, Bad Lippspringe invited Artistic Director Peter Hussey and 3 (pictured here) senior members of Kildare Youth Theatre to devise and perform a short play to showcase not only Kildare Youth Theatre, but Newbridge culture and talent. 

The group, involving Elliot Nolan, Graham Butler Breen and Anna Ó Módhráin performed three comical clown sketches, to portray comical messages even with a language barrier. 

Coming up to the 2016 local elections, Kildare Youth Theatre hosted a unique opportunity for the youth of Kildare South to pose questions to the candidates of their constituency. ​Just because some our members are too young to vote, should not mean their voices go unheard. ​​

All candidates from the 2016 season agreed to join the Forum. Questions raised involved the improvement of Public Transport, increased Mental Health funding, and of course, the candidates views on  Funding the Arts.

The event sold out.