Acting Out! Exchange

3rd-10th December 2017, Logroño, La Rioja, Spain

Acting Out!: Gender Reflections through Drama was an Erasmus+ funded youth exchange in La Rioja, Spain. Its main objective was to gather 45 young actors from across Europe to reflect on gender issues through the medium of theatre. This involved participation from the hosts ON&OFF Teatro of Spain, Calypso of Italy, Jugend Kultur Arbeit of Germany and Kildare Youth Theatre. 

 

The young participants had an active role during the whole process of the project, acquiring decision-making competencies through workshops and sharing their view on the topic of Gender and Identity. The project culminated in a public performance in the host city of Logroño, increasing the visibility of the project. 

 

Among the tasks the young participants of each country carried out, were to choose the sub-topics of the exchange, decide on the aesthetics and technical part of their performances and prepare and lead a workshop during the exchange. 

The whole project was catalogued in a daily blog which can be read here.

Visit the exchange's official Facebook page.

TeeNEXTers Festival 2017

20th-26th November 2017, 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.

 

They then make creative and critical responses to the shows, using a variety of media including devising, filming and graphic-novel drawing. The aim of the project is to help young people develop their critical facilities, so that they can edit and coherently express educated views about works of art. They are taught how to do this by professional and expert critics and theatre-makers from all of the participating youth theatres. 

A blog about the 2017 festival was written by some of our Irish participants, which can be read here.

Read more about the TeeNEXTers Festival on their website.

Visibly Vocal Exchange

6th-13th August 2017, Newbridge, Co.Kildare, Ireland

Visibly Vocal was an  Erasmus+ funded youth exchange, that explored making site-specific theatre with young people. The project focused on using public spaces in which young people could make their concerns and interests visible through theatrical performance. It also explored how performance relates to a site, and how locations can inspire a performance, examining the act of staging work in non-theatre spaces for a non-theatre-going audience. The participants performed all across Newbridge, in locations such as on the steps of a municipal building, and around the River Liffey - spaces where teenagers are traditionally  not usually seen.

 

The project brought together fifty 15-18  year old theatre-makers from across the continent. These involved members of; Bornholm Dramaskole's Cirkus Stjerenskund of Denmark,  Théâtre Le Grand Bleu of France, ON&OFF Teatro of Spain, Kinitiras Horotheama of Greece, Associazione Ottovolante of Italy, BondiekBühne of Austria, and the hosts Kildare Youth Theatre.

Amongst the show-devising were daily workshops lead by facilitators from multiple countries, touching on skills ranging from Stage Combat and Viewpoints, to Clowning and Juggling. 

 

A monumental festival for Irish youth theatre, the Léargas assisted project culminated in not only a performance, but a documentary and scripted shows to be used as food-for-thought for future exchanges across Europe.

What Some Participants Had To Say:

"This exchange thought me that it is importance to embrace yourself, and there's nothing wrong with being different.

I learned that the important things about people are what keep them together - and we all have art in common. During this exchange I have shared some of the most incredible moments of my life" 

Greek female, 16.

"I think this project shows that the theatre is a universal art, no matter your nationality or language"

French female, 17.

"I learned so many things about myself, and for once, I felt comfortable sharing them because this was an environment where no one judged you. Theatre made people bond together, and this has been the most beautiful week of my life"

Spanish male, 15.

Watch the official documentary here:

Click below to see a selection of images taken during the festival. 

What The Media Had To Say:

A Leinster Leader article on the project

An article written by a Greek facilitator

(translatable on Google Chrome)

Read more about Visibly Vocal here.

Play The Change

29th June - 9th July 2017, Organyà, Catalunya, Spain

A Play the Change documentary: 

Play the Change’ was an Erasmus+ funded international exchange that united young theatre practitioners from Ireland, Spain, Bulgaria and Poland who all took part in workshops and created a piece of theatre together.
 

The project took place in Organyà, a small village in the Pyrenees of Catalonia, Spain. Throughout the exchange young people lived together, made theatre, shared their cultures and discovered their creative potential in Hostel Santa Fe, l’Alberg d'Organyà.
 

The project involved 4 organisations; Pirineus Creatius of Spain, AIMI The Studios of Bulgaria, Fundacja Inkubator Innowacji of Poland and of course Kildare Youth Theatre. 


The project consisted of daily skill workshops touching on themes of; Empty Dialogues, From Personal to Public, Theatre of Oppressed and Puppet Theatre. The project revolved around emphatic and multi-cultural workshops, outdoor activities, festive local activities, and rehearsals to ultimately create and perform a show at the end of the project, which was performed in the village square for public viewing. 

Say Hello In Your Language

16th June 2017, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Maynooth, Co.Kildare

"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.

At the 4th annual Maynooth Education Forum, on the topic of migrant culture and their experience of education in Ireland, Kildare Youth Theatre performed a specially devised piece called Say Hello In Your Language

A verbatim piece of theatre, the play consisted of performances of a collection of monologues, sent in by young migrants living in Ireland.

Touching of themes of exclusion, the use of Kildare Youth Theatre's actors enabled anonymity amongst those who sent in their experiences. 

Monologues included people from Ukraine, Kosovo, Tunisia, the Philippines, Russia

Read more about the Maynooth Education Forum here.

Read more about the 2017 Forum, on the theme of migrant experiences of the Irish education system here.

June Fest 2017: 'Delicious Intent'

4th June 2017, The Strand Park, Newbridge, Co.Kildare | 24th June 2017, Midsummer Arts Festival, Naas, Co.Kildare

As part of a tradition of performing site-specific theatre during Newbridge's yearly June Fest, (as well as the Naas & Sallins Misummer Arts Festival),  Kildare Youth Theatre returned in 2017 to perform 'Delicious Intent' - plays performed almost entirely in tents, dotted around the local park. 

Performed throughout one day to strictly small audiences, the project involved five back-to-back short tent-based plays, performed as if the audience is invisible. 

Touching on themes of sex, violence, grief, humour and almost everything in between, the rapid fire plays left no time to be digested by the audience, as they immediately move to a new tent once a performance has finished.

Read what the Leinster Leader had to say here.

New plays were devised by Elliot Nolan and Cian Ó Náirigh | Aoife Carew and Colin Smyth | Charlie Hughes-Farrell, Ella Darling and Seán Dowse | Joe Brown, Peter McHale and Seán Campbell | Lauren Kelly, Isobelle Noone and Hollie Murphy.

William Shakespeare's 'King Lear'

4th-5th May 2017, Riverbank Theatre

"This complex tragedy of a powerful, but ignorant, king who is transformed by the loss of everything into becoming a simpleman with nothing except his knowledge of himself and his empathy for his down-trodden people is often cited as Shakespeare’s finest play. It is the great play about homelessness - very relevant today as Ireland grapples with its housing crisis.

 

It also has much to say about wisdom and power, especially in the light of recent political regime change across the western world. Shakespeare expertly balances James I’s propaganda (in favour of political union) with his own astute political critique (against the devastating Enclosures Act) and shows us a world where the poor and dispossessed are neglected by those in power.

 

It is a moralising tale, and like so many of his other royal plays, it fairly forcefully presents the personal qualities and attributes needed by a king if he wishes to be seen as a divinely sanctioned ruler.

 

Threaded through the propaganda is a complex existential philosophy brilliantly presented in the character of Gloucester, and epitomised by Edgar (in the strange, short and thrilling Act 5 Scene 2) with

 

"Men must endure / Their going hence, even as their coming hither; / Ripeness is all.

 

At one point in this scene, and uniquely in Shakespeare, there is on the stage just a blind, old man, a bare tree, and no dialogue, for an unspecified length of time. Nothing seems to be happening. What is Gloucester doing? 350 years later we get the fullest expression of this idea and image in Beckett’s great Waiting for Godot. 

 

Many of the complex ideas are made clear only in the staging of the play (such as Lear’s fear of entering the hovel-and of confronting the nothingness of madness; or of the wheel of fortune coming full circle-with a macabre final image drawn from the opening image).

 

Directed by Peter Hussey, it features young actors from Kildare schools who are studying this text for their Leaving Cert in 2018."

King Lear follows a Kildare Youth Theatre tradition of performing Shakespearean plays which are on that years Leaving Certificate examination. Performances therefore involve a mix of private shows exclusively for local schools, as well as ordinary public performances. 

Excerpt from our pre-show Booklet.

A selection of images taken during a rehearsal session:

Some interesting ideas raised during show rehearsals:

Full Cast and Production Team:

Images taken from a live performance of King Lear:

Watch below Act 5 Scene 2: The lone Gloucester, dreaming a merciful death (Doug Morrison)

A live, unedited performance of our 2017 King Lear production can be watched in its entirety below: 

A blog, written by cast members, reflecting on their time on rehearsing and performing the show, can be read on an online PDF here.

Indigo Youth Exchange 

16th-26th April 2017, Athens, Greece 

Indigo was an Erasmus+ funded youth exchange set in Athens, Greece. Involving the participation of 30 young actors from Kildare Youth Theatre and Kinitiras of Greece, this LGBT themed identity project aimed to explore  young people's understanding of their identity as young people, particularly regarding gender and sexual orientation.

Just two years after Ireland's monumental marriage equality referendum, a major discourse has developed in youth theatre, one where people feel more welcome than ever to publicly reveal and explore their sexuality and gender. 

The project explored the cultural factors which shape youths identities as European citizens, and as LGBT young people - encouraging participants to critically evaluate the culture which defines them in terms that they resist.

 

Using theater, dialogue, and artistic collaboration among two different nationalities, themes such as; the participants' experiences of gender, peer pressure, pop culture and family served as ideas to devise and perform pieces of theatre. 

Professional theatre-makers and dancers worked with the groups for the week, making evocative 

and deeply personal work together about gender, identity and LGBTQ issues. This was showcased in a public performance at Kinitiras' studio on the final night.

Some of the workshop spaces used during the exchange:

An edited documentary of the exchange can be watched below:

Read more about Indigo, including a list of its participants, here.

NT Connections 2017 - 'Extremism' 

10th & 12th March 2017, Riverbank Theatre | 29th April 2017, Lyric Theatre Belfast

National Theatre Connections is a yearly youth theatre festival, including participation from youth theatres across the UK & Ireland. 

Participating Companies choose from one of 10 specially written plays to perform at home and at a local Connections Festival (Lyric Theatre Belfast)

For the 2017 season, Kildare Youth Theare chose Anders Lustgarten's play Extremism. Directed by Peter Hussey, this provocative play explores how we are taught to police each other in an age of terror threats and radicalisation - all taking place in one 40 minute class - but without the teacher. 

CAST:

Kirsty: Izzy Noone

Melina: Ella Darling

Suhayla: Cat Coyle 

Rachel: Rebecca Donovan

Jordan: Charlie Hughes

Darren: Elliot Nolan 

Samuel: Seán Dowse

Olive(r): Ben McGoohan

Chris: Cian Ó Náirigh 

Evan: Colin Smyth 

Teachers (off stage): Alice Molony, Lee Smith, Beatrice Montorfano

ARTISTS & CREW:

Director: Peter Hussey 

Assistant Director: Annemarie Davidson

Production Assistant: Alice Molony 

Technical Assistant: Lee Smith

Photo/Videography: Alec Delaney 

A detailed review of Extremism can be read on our reviews page

Venetians 

27th-28th January 2017, Riverbank Theatre

The last performance of the primarily Ignition-era Senior Ensemble, Venetians was an Arts Council funded ensemble piece featuring 16 of Kildare Youth Theatre's most experienced actors and actresses. 

The work aimed to explore the tensions that simmer and burst when you bring together hard capitalism with social justice - exploring the fractures that this causes in young people's lives. 

 

The devised piece looked at the way stories are sold to the young about; education leading to fulfilling careers, the cult of celebrity, the dream of having fame, the transformation of work into money, and the requirement of having to ask for permission to be spontaneous. These elements were explored through a unique and energetic blend of scenes and music-based movement pieces.  

The name sake, and the primary metaphor for the play, comes from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (Our 2016 Shakespeare production). 

For example, some characters from Shakespeare's world interacted with our modern, technology driven world,  and there was a focus on showing what this idealised 'Venice' meant to the Elizabethans (a holy city which endorsed hard capitalism). In other ways it will explore the idealisation of the West (especially the US) for young migrants leaving here in droves to find a 'Venice' elsewhere.

 

Click here to read a much greater detailed project description, and information regarding our Senior Ensemble Programme.

 

A full, unedited live performance of Venetians can be seen below, or by clicking here.

Funded by the Arts Council's Young Ensemble Scheme & the Health Service Executive's 'Wellbeing & Identity Project. With assistance from Kildare County Council & KWETB.

Miscellaneous  

See below a compilation of some other noteworthy 2017 moments for KYT.

As part of Newbridge Town's twinning with the German town of Bad Lippsrpinge, members of Kildare Youth Theatre devised and performed a short series of clown sketches in Newbridge Town Hall, on St. Patricks Day 2017, in which a group of Germans had come to visit. 

The clown sketches were intended to provide humour and to perform theatre even with a language barrier. 

The sketches featured Abdelaziz Ibrahim, Graham Butler-Breen, Lauren Kelly and Seán Ó Brien. They were directed by Peter Hussey. 

Kildare Youth Theatre also performed in Bad Lippsringe during the previous Oktoberfest, which can be read here.

Rogaland Teater in Stavanger, Norway invited Artistic Director Peter Hussey, as well as young Kildare Youth Theatre facilitators Caolán Dundon and Evan Lynch to Stavanger to give workshops on William Shakespeare's Macbeth  as well as to perform selected scenes from the play. Taking place from the 19th– 22nd January 2017, they described the way we work with young people to stage Shakespeare, explaining how the multi-layered language helps us convey meaning visually, aurally and imaginatively.  

During the year, Kildare Youth Theatre had the unique opportunity to talk to the Incumbent Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Read what we had to say to him here.