Dive into the playful and thought provoking programme of Baboró International Arts Festival for Children 2023
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Dive into the playful and thought provoking programme of Baboró International Arts Festival for Children 2023

Every child from 0 to 16 years is invited to let their imagination run wild over ten days in Galway this October 13th to 22nd as part of Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. Artists and performers from as far as Australia, across Europe and closer to home will bring captivating, enchanting and exhilarating theatre, dance, art and more to Baboró International Arts Festival for Children this year. Experience the magic of Baboró throughout venues across Galway City and County with family, friends, and schools.

You can now browse full programme at www.baboro.ie and tickets will go on sale from 6.30pm this evening.

For the youngest audience (0-2 years), 'Universe' at the Mick Lally Theatre, Druid Lane is a sensory experience for babies and their grown-ups, full of visual poetry, live music, and movement. In this gentle interactive performance, the audience is invited to explore the universe in order to find their place in it. People and objects are in constant motion as they seek balance and harmony amongst the chaos. Each inhabitant in this cosmos, each sound, each movement, is bound together as we are guided in a playful exploration of the surrounding universe.

Dance, fashion, and live music meet the magic of origami to whisk you away on a spirited and inspiring adventure in a land made purely of paper and play. Children from 2 to 5 years are asked to join 'Club Origami' as they rip, fold and scrumple a single square of paper, at the O’Donoghue Theatre at the University of Galway. This immersive and interactive dance show invites audiences to create, imagine and explore whole new ways of thinking, playing, and moving.

Back on campus at the University of Galway, an immersive, multi-sensory dance theatre performance titled ‘Making Waves has been made especially for children aged 8-13 years with mild to complex needs. The audience members are seated in pods representing boats on stage, which enables everyone to become part of the adventure. This performance is non verbal and suitable for wheelchair users.

At Nuns Island Theatre it is time to 'Fall and Float'. With playful energy, impressive acrobatics, comic timing, and a joyful soundscape, two dancers create a magical world through the clever manipulation of simple balloons. Their imaginations seem to know no bounds - resulting in a hypnotic, funny and uplifting performance full of falling, lifting, throwing, catching, stumbling, floating … and sometimes maybe even a little bit of flying.

At the Town Hall Theatre children from 5+ years will be presented with a show celebrating difference and the power of friendship in 'Polar Bear & Penguin.' This is a quirky tale of our time, infused with humour, friendship and fish! The tender and heartfelt show follows a polar bear and a penguin as they get to know one another and learn how to survive in a world that is melting beneath their feet...paws...flippers.

In An Taibhdhearc an honest, funny, and heartfelt journey through the trials and tribulations of living with dyslexia and seeing things differently is told in 'Little Murmur.' This dance theatre show is based on the true story of a child who one day realises they have been misspelling their own name. Defined by his learning difficulties, not his abilities, dance became Aakash’s mode of expression.

The University of Galway Concert Orchestra and Music Generation Galway City join forces to present an interactive cushion concert in 'The Wildlife Orchestra Experience'. From the smallest piccolo to the largest tuba - a spectrum of orchestral sound tells a story of Galway’s wildlife, green spaces, and seascapes. Listen to the fluttering butterflies, buzzing bees and the caw of the crow, alongside other characters from the natural world around us. This relaxed event for families will take place on Saturday 22 October in Galway Community College on Wellpark Road and it's for children of all ages.

The reality of the world in which we all exist is addressed through soft questioning in 'The Shape of Quiet Feelings'. Baboró artist-in-residence Maisie Lee and Jessica Wilson (Australia) asked Galway children to use their imaginations to respond to their feelings about climate change. Their ideas and imaginings are reflected in an immersive experience through an atmospheric and sensory world, where children’s imagined stories and creatures take on myth-like qualities. By giving story and form to something that can sometimes feel scary and intangible, 'The Shape of Quiet Feelings' at Blue Teapot Theatre will empower children and their families to consider new approaches to some of the big challenges presented by climate change. 'The Shape of Quiet Feelings' is a Baboró commission and part of TRACKS Touring Network.

'The Baboró Art Trail' is a way in which people can enjoy free exhibitions around the city. Asking questions through art is a creative and different way of us seeing each other. Have you ever wondered how your child sees you? Well, the answer might lie within the ‘I See You Like This’ exhibition. With our ever-growing appetite to document our lives through photos and selfies, children are often the reluctant subjects of adults’ cameras - asked to smile, look natural and come in closer. In 'I See You Like This', Australian artist Jessica Wilson, flips the camera around giving the children control while their significant adults become their subjects.

Facilitated by Jessica in a private session the week before the festival begins, children will design and direct a creative photoshoot of their significant adult, captured by photographer Julia Dunin. The resulting portraits will create the exhibition. If you would like to be part of this exciting exhibition you can book an appointment for you and your 7 - 14 year old child with Jessica via baboro.ie. In the appointment Jessica will ask the child questions about how they see their adult’s personality and then design and direct their own photoshoot using unusual objects to express how they see their adult. This unusual, fun, and intimate process gives adults an experience of being ‘seen’ as more than just a parent or guardian to their child, whilst making space for a playful surrender to their child’s thoughts and ideas, giving them real agency. The adult subject will see their portrait for the first time when they are hung in Galway Arts Centre and gifted to the families at the end of the festival.

At Engage Art Studio in Salthill, 'There Are Little Worlds' exhibition explores moments of curiosity and joy through detailed miniature paperworks. Local artist and educator Paula Henihan has constructed illustrative scenes made from brightly painted paper cut outs that are positioned carefully in layers within tiny boxes. Paula’s work contains scenes that capture pleasant moments, brave moments, quiet and calm moments. You are invited to peer into these little worlds of wonder. Come with a curious eye and you may find some hidden details.

Irish companies, Fidget Feet & Ceol Connected, return to the festival with 'When the Moon Spun Round' for children aged 6+ years. Galway audiences will be enthralled by this enchanting show featuring a playful mix of contemporary aerial dance and traditional music performed by tricksters in the moonlight. Come on an imaginative journey of joyful movement in this charming and uplifting performance.

From Australia Slingsby will perform 'The Boy Who Talked to Dogs' for anyone aged 12+. This rough-and-tumble tale fuses shadow puppetry, live music, and stunning physical performance to bring this epic true story to the stage. Based on the best-selling memoir by Martin McKenna, and beautifully adapted by playwright Amy Conroy, 'The Boy Who Talked to Dogs' is a magical and mischievous tale of hardship, transformation, redemption, and what happens when the underdog finds his pack.

A new show from Moonfish Theatre, 'The Crow’s Way' is a thrilling and unpredictable tale of friendship and self-discovery for children 8+ years and anyone who loves adventure, brought to life with Moonfish’s signature brand of theatre magic. A co-commission with Baboró in partnership with the Town Hall Theatre.

Galway City Museum will host two hands-on events. Superhuman, developed by CÚRAM, is an exciting new exhibit that invites children to explore the creativity and innovation of medtech research. While Cultivating Curiosity from Toodlelou Creativity Lab is an opportunity for children and their grown ups to experience the joy of discovery together.

As part of the literature focus, Máire Zepf and Mr Ando, author and illustrator of the ‘Rita’ series of books will introduce Rita’s latest adventure, 'Rita agus an Dineasár'. There will be storytelling, music, chat, live illustration and…. DINOSAURS! This lively interactive session is for Irish-speaking children from 1st class onwards. This will take place on Monday 16th October at 10am and 12 noon in An Taidhbhearc. Families can join Máire Zepf and Mr Ando, for a hands-on creative session to celebrate Rita’s latest adventure, Rita agus an Dineasár’. With storytelling and art, the children will create their own fantasy pets, just like Rita! Suitable for Irish-speaking children and their grown-ups. This will take place on Sunday 15th October at 2pm in the Portershed on Market Street.

The full programme, workshops, adult events and tickets are now online at www.baboro.ie. Follow Baboró on social media or sign up to their newsletter on www.baboro.ie for the latest programme and box office announcements.

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children is Ireland’s flagship festival devoted exclusively to children and families and a registered charity. Baboró is funded by The Arts Council of Ireland and Galway City and County Councils. This year’s festival is supported by our Irish Language Partner, Cúla4; Literature Partner, Charlie Byrnes and Sustainable Print Partner, iSupply. Baboró is also supported by the businesses and venues of Galway City.

All images by photographer Declan Colohan

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