A big hand for new Limerick children’s festival

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Minister Jan O'Sullivan with Emma Fisher, Aoife Doyle and elf Ashlene McFadden at the launch of the Lime Tree's new festival programme, which includes a month long children's festival taking place in October. Picture: Brian Gavin/Press 22
MINISTER Jan O’Sullivan has said it is “absolutely vital that every child has an opportunity to engage with the arts”.

MINISTER Jan O’Sullivan has said it is “absolutely vital that every child has an opportunity to engage with the arts”.

Speaking at the launch of the Bualadh Bos children’s festival in Lime Tree Theatre this Monday, the education minister said “the idea that we have a special festival for children is fantastic.

“It is absolutely welcome that children are involved and important that activity is created for them,” explained the Labour TD of the City of Culture and Bord Gáis Networks backed festival.

“It is a huge programme and it is really comprehensive festival for children, and coming after the Granny, it is a good follow-on, because children really engaged with the visit of Royal de Luxe,” she said of the programme for the dedicated children’s festival, which will take place in October at both the Mary Immaculate College theatre and 69 O’Connell Street, which is currently being managed by the Lime Tree.

The Lime Tree unveiled details of its very first children’s festival programme this week, which will include theatre, book readings, talks and workshops.

Lime Tree manager Louise Donlon explained that she has “always felt the Lime Tree should prioritise children’s programming.

“Principally because we are in a third level institution that trains adults to teach children and the focus of this institution is very much on education, and for me as well personally, I think the continued health of the arts sector is about making sure that not just adults get to see good work, but also that children get access to it and brought to see shows, either within an educational context or with their parents,” she explained.

The comprehensive programme will welcome companies and writers from Limerick - including Emma Fisher’s Beyond The Bark, and authors Darren Shan and Judy Curtin - while it will also welcome those from Australia, USA, France, Italy and the UK to perform various shows during the programme.

Bualadh Bos fits in to a busy autumn-winter schedule for the 510-seater theatre, as Ms Donlon explained.

“We have a huge amount of activity coming up in the season programme, in fact we are presenting 116 events between now and Christmas which is unprecedented,” she said.

“A lot of that is contributed by the fact that we have two venues and the childrens’ festival - but it is a great thing to be able to do, and we are really excited about it. A lot of hard work ahead,” she laughed.

MIC president Professor Michael Hayes said that it was a “great day for the college and the Lime Tree” to launch the various programmes.

“The whole purpose of developing the Lime Tree was that, not only would it be an academic resource for our own students, but it would be a resource for the city and the region and this is an example of what we are doing, so it is great,” he said.

For more information on the festival’s line-up and programming, see Lime Tree Theatre.