Here at Minis and Mum, we’re big fans of the wonderful Baboró Children’s Festival. There’s something very special about the way it allows children a glimpse into the mysterious, often adults eyes only world of the Arts. Added to the magic the festival bring to the streets of Galway every October, it also makes sure that all children are catered for with their relaxed performances.
As part of our ongoing Minis and Mum Loves series,we caught up with Acting General Manager of the festival, Jennifer Ahern to find out more about these special performances.
It was something we wanted to try out and there were some productions that year that were a natural fit. It worked out really well, so we’ve continued the programme. Across the country, you can see that more and more performers and venues are incorporating relaxed shows into their programmes which is fantastic.
We consult with performers ahead of time and put the idea of them, to see if they are comfortable with it and if there are elements of their show they can alter without compromising the integrity of the show, for example making the sound quieter and bringing up the lighting. Luckily, performers in children’s theatre are very flexible and open to these things! They’re also well used to dealing with the unexpected during a performance, such as small children wandering onto the stage! This was the first year we also had one company approach us and ask if they could put on a relaxed performance, it’s a first for them and something they’re really keen to try out so we’re more than happy to accommodate and encourage this.
The relaxed performances are aimed at the public primarily, to reduce any discomfort or anxiety families may have in attending the theatre. For schools and groups, we have our Recommended performances. We send special needs schools and groups a pack which gives additional information on shows we think would suit them, for example shows that maybe have more humour or music, are less dialogue based and are more gentle. Basically anything we can do to help make our audience’s experience a positive one, we’re happy to do!
What kind of feedback have Baboró received from parents/carers/kids themselves about the performances?
We find that the relaxed shows sell very quickly so obviously there is a demand out there for them, which is great! We haven’t had much feedback directly – I think the parents are too busy to get back to us! But what we have noticed is a lot of smiles – smiles during the performance and smiles coming out! There’s always a really lovely atmosphere, almost as though everyone there knows each other – a sense of community maybe in a way, and a sense of understanding. There’s an ease to it, and as far as we can tell, it’s a positive experience for the families.
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