With the purpose of “inspiring children to engage with the world through their experience of the creative arts” and of “creating spaces where children can deepen their understanding of themselves, the perspectives of others and the world around them”,the Baboró International Arts Festival takes over Galway once again with both online and in-person events, running for two weeks.
The variety of the festival is outstanding, with their programme including audible, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature, storytelling, music, and multisensory events both in Irish and English for all age ranges. Highlights this year include the early years show Rothar by the children’s theatre company Branar Téatar de Pháistí.
Branar created Rothar with co-producers Baboró and NUI Galway, as part of the 18 partner project. Rothar premieres at Baboró festival 2021, followed by a European tour.
Salt of the Sea by Little John Nee is also featured. The Galway-based writer and performer employs a unique style of contemporary musical storytelling that mixes tradition and rock’n’roll mythology.
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Dan Colley, well-established expert on devised ensemble work, theatre-for-young-audiences and street spectacle, will also be a part of this year’s festival
For a quarter of a century, Baboró has been offering “a moment in the year where children are put first as the doors of Galway’s theatres, galleries and public spaces are thrown open for their exploration and play.”
The right of each child to enjoy arts and culture is one of the cornerstones of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It reads, “the child has the right to rest and to engage in leisure, play and recreational activities and to participate in cultural and artistic activities.’
At the heart of Baboró’s ambitions is access to the arts for all children, regardless of geographic, economic, physical, intellectual or cultural status.
Baboró defines their events as “extraordinary creative experiences from across the country and the world brought to curious young minds” sharing a strong-bonded partnership with NUI Galway since the festival’s inception in 1997.
Baboró collaborates on multiple courses at the university, welcoming students for placements and being part of the ALIVE Volunteering Award. In 2019 the NUI Galway Drama Department became an Associate Partner to Baboró, alongside Branar, on a Creative Europe project called MAPPING.
In 2013 Baboró also introduced a new module – The Value of Arts and Aesthetics in the Early Life of Children – in conjunction with Dr Cormac Forkan, Programme Director for the BA Youth and Family Studies at UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre in the University.
The module offers different means of exploring the extrinsic and intrinsic importance of arts in a child’s early years. The students attend Baboró Festival events to then complete post-event reflections and analysis.