This month Barnstorm Theatre Company celebrate 30 years serving the people of Kilkenny
In 1991 with the support of Margaret Cosgrave of Kilkenny County Council Arts Office and Barry Lynch of Ossory Youth Services Barnstorm first poked its head out. Since then: 135 productions! 3,000+ performances in local venues and in 56 venues nationwide! And international touring to Japan, USA, Canada, Australia, Spain, England, Scotland and Wales.
To date more than 725,000 children have seen a Barnstorm production.
However, many local people will have fond memories of Barnstorm’s youth theatres and the Adult Theatre Club programme, from which the Barn Owl Players’ amateur drama group emerged. Communities around the county have engaged with Barnstorm through theatre spectacles like River Through Time (Kells), plays such as The ‘Comer Story (Castlecomer) and a travelling troupe’s performances of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant on village greens, Strollers (Freshford, Graiguenamanagh, Gowran, Kells, Jenkinstown Wood, Kilkenny Castle), among other Outreach programmes. Local schools have engaged with the company through a series of Participation & Education programmes; and post-primary students have experienced the Curriculum Play Live annually since 2016 with Translations by Brian Friel in 2016, The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey in 2017, the American classic All My Sons in 2018, and The Playboy of the Western World by JM Synge 2019.
During COVID-19 Barnstorm teamed up with the Barn Owl Players to create exciting new theatre produced through Zoom and presented online – ZOOM BOP: Confinement saw the creation of 9 monologues which were subsequently broadcast for radio through KCLR; and Love in Lockdown Part 1 & 2 which commissioned 10 short new plays that were produced and presented on YouTube with 36 local artists (actors, directors, and producers).
The company also moved premises after 25 years behind the Good Shepherd Centre and now enjoys its new home on the river, in the centre of town above the Home Rule Club.