Ireland has seen an surge in the number and type of festivals celebrating an ever-growing number of aspects of Irish life. Audiences have come to expect more – and better – family entertainment at each event. This is where Ireland’s only travelling marionette theatre comes in.
As well as performing for President Higgins’ guests each Christmas at the Áras an Uachtaráin Christmas party, we provide family entertainment at many of Ireland’s most successful events, including the Irish Open Fringe Festival, the Five Lamps Arts Festival, the Westport Festival of Music and Food, the Hullabaloo Children’s Arts Festival, the Celtic Fringe Festival and the Aisling Children’s Festival.
Given the complexity of marionettes, they are rarely seen at events in Ireland. Other forms of puppetry are commonplace at festivals and community celebrations, which is one of the reasons that the presence of the Moon and Sixpence Puppet Theatre at a particular festival makes it such a vivid memory.
We can perform indoors in a traditional stage-setting or provide our own outdoor fit-up to perform for large audiences enjoying the unpredictable Irish weather!
Given the breadth of festival audiences, including the great range of ages, and often generations, a marionette performance has an edge over other forms of puppetry. The movement of marionettes, together with the use of music and sound effects provide many aspects of entertainment for all sorts of audiences – not to mention story lines that can appeal to children on one level and adults on another!
Because working with marionettes can involve some complex set-up and because of the logistics involved, we have been cautious about bringing our productions to smaller spaces, like libraries. However, Meath County Libraries persuaded us to try something new over the summer of 2015 and it proved a great success!
Each Wednesday in July and August, we provided a marionette performance in local libraries in County Meath, including Ashbourne, Dunboyne, Dunshauglin, Kells, Oldcastle, Navan and Trim. The logistics were challenging at times, but the warmth of the reception of the various audiences made it worthwhile.