Branar’s Bláth aims to create a magical world for children

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Branar are bringing back their beautiful stage adaptation Blath / The Flower, to the Lime Tree as part of the Bualadh Bos children's festival
FORMER primary school teacher Marc Mac Lochainn, who gave up the day job to forge new methods of educating children through theatre, says he wants to create an “enriching and beautiful experience” for his audience.

FORMER primary school teacher Marc Mac Lochainn, who gave up the day job to forge new methods of educating children through theatre, says he wants to create an “enriching and beautiful experience” for his audience.

In that respect and in order that the children who see his shows will experience beauty in the theatre, the founder of Branar Téatar do Pháistí, who has been artist in residence at Mary Immaculate College and the Lime Tree Theatre since 2013, says he only works with “the best artists I can find”.

Try The Frames violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire who composed an original music score for Bláth / The Flower, the beautiful stage adaptation of John Light’s - and illustrator Lisa Evans’ - children’s book.

Try a world made entirely of paper designed by artist Maeve Clancy, who now features on the Irish Theatre Institute year of design site for her beautiful work on the Bláth set. Or lighting by Adam Fitzsimons and wonderful puppetry from Sandra Gonzalez Bandera and Miriam Needham.

The show is, simply put, a visual feast for children, pitched at six and upwards. It was created for City of Culture last year and went on to sell out performances during its run at the Galway International Arts Festival. It returns to the Lime Tree for its Bualadh Bos children’s festival this month, with six performances in total.

Mac Lochainn says the idea is to create for children a “valid, genuine experience of the arts, that is designed specifically for them”.

“Maeve who designed the set, is a phenomenal paper artist who can do amazing things. She has created this paper world, in which the story is set.”

The story is that of a young boy living in a dull world, who discovers colour and flowers for the very first time, changing his life. It aims to engage its young audience members’ minds and let them fill in the gaps through their imagination.

“It is a really delicate performance in that it is quite silent and Colm has created a beautiful soundtrack,” says Marc. “If you create the atmosphere correctly, then the children will go with you in the world that you are creating. When you have no language, the music becomes your language to the audience.

“What we find is that then there is no vocal narrative as such, that the children create the narrative themselves. So you have to be very careful with the physical language that you use,” he adds.

Bualadh Bos takes place in both the Lime Tree and 69 O’Connell Street, with the flagship event this year the Carnival of the Animals by Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, featuring Louis Lovett and an Irish Chamber Orchestra ensemble. Other musical events include The Speks and The Trumplets.

The Abbey Theatre will present Me, Michael, while Sarah Bannan is one of three authors visiting Limerick during the month of October.

The festival runs from October 8-20. For details and to book tickets, see www.limetreetheatre.ie.