Limerick’s first children’s festival is bualadh bos

by Rose Rushe

The Irish/ Danish puppet show that goes walking on the moon - in company
The Irish/ Danish puppet show that goes walking on the moon – in company

PIONEERING vision, innovative projects and collaborations are part of the charter to being a fine arts venue. Hats off to Lime Tree Theatre manager Louise Donlon and marketing manager Gill Fenton for drawing down on City of Culture status to establish Limerick’s first ever theatre festival for children.
bualadh bos (clap hands) is set to run for three weeks through the month of October.
It opens with a joint British and Italian show, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ on October 9 and closes on October 31 with a series of readings by, and interaction with prominent authors such as Darren Shan, now London based and Judy Curtin.
“There is an international side to this festival and we are really pleased about different cultures coming together,” observes Fenton, referring to shows from Australia, the French ‘Sweet Hands Spicy Feet’ for tiny tots and Teatar Refleksion’s puppetry from Denmark.
There’s a mix of venues involved as well with Lime Tree, Mary immaculate College’s halla mór and 69 O’Connell Street hosting.

Expect percussion, science fiction, Shakespeare and famous names being around and responsive. The other news for families is the low price of tickets – €5 typical – and free parking at Mary I campus.
Lime Tree Theatre can boast another first, that of having Ireland’s only theatre artist in residence. Marc Mac Lochlainn of Galway based children’s company Branar has this distinction contracted for three years, extending on from a 12month only run.
Naturally, Branar brings a show here in October, ‘The Way Back Home’, with Denmark’s Teatar Refleksion which “is a full co-production with all elements of performance and design,” explains Branar’s manager, Joanne Beirne. “‘The Way Back Home’ is the culmination of a relationship that began with Marc attending Teatar Refleksion works in Barbaró, the Galway festival, in preceding years.
“It is based on a book by Belfast writer Oliver Jeffers and told with puppets, about a little boy who likes adventure and his takes him to outer space.
“He lands on the moon and finds he is not on his own as an alien has crashed there as well. The puppets are designed by Mariann Aargaard and it’s a really beautiful show that is true to the illustrations in Jeffers’ book”.
All children and some grown ups appreciate the brilliance and stature of this young Belfast writer.
Touring festivals and venues with its production of his ‘The Way Back Home’, Branar has now been invited to the UK to stage their show for the South Bank Centre’s 10th anniversary celebration of Oliver Jeffers’ first book.
Close to home, you can book for bualadh bos on