2012 is the fifteenth year of the Aisling Children’s Art Festival, one of the greatest national children’s art festivals in Ireland, and it takes place right here in Longford.
In these recessionary times, Aisling provides free and value for money artistic experiences for the county’s children. It has always been Aisling’s goal to nurture and develop the artistic expression and appreciation of our children by introducing them to a wide range of artistic disciplines through the medium of workshops and performances.
This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating Difference’, which is certainly apt in light of Aisling’s continuing commitment to bring the arts to a diverse range of young people in Longford.
The annual, week-long festival kicks off with a totally Free Family Open Day on Sunday, October 21, next. As usual, the Open Day is a mix of workshops, music, magic and theatre. This year, two acts will feature on the Open Day stage. The first is Grant Goldie, otherwise known as ‘That Man’, a mime artist and juggler. The second act featured is Custard Pie from the Lambert Puppet Theatre Company. This award winning and hilarious puppet act is a great show for the kids, with a few sly winks to the grown ups as well.
One of the most successful aspects of the festival is the Workshop Day. This day provides children with the opportunity to work with professional artists from a broad range of artistic disciplines, including craft, circus skills, pottery, drumming and much more.
The workshop day takes place on Saturday October 27 and pre-booking is advised, due to demand.
In order to maximise the number of Longford children participating in the festival, our outreach programme brings a full and varied programme of activities to primary and secondary schools, libraries and community centres throughout the county. Children can enjoy the magic of the arts in their own locality, without having to travel to a central location. Event dates and locations can be found on the website, www.aislingfestival.ie.
For the past three years, Aisling has been delighted to introduce a Photography Exhibition in the Atrium Gallery at Backstage. Two schools from the county are afforded the opportunity to learn the skills of photography from a professional photographer over a six week period.
The experience culminates in the exhibition of their very own masterpieces.
As usual, our theatre programme in Backstage is packed full of exciting events. The extremely popular Family Show takes place on Friday, October 26, next and is always a huge hit (early booking is advisable).
This year, the Family Show has two acts: first is Casper, a hilarious mime artist and entertainer extraordinaire from Denmark, who is bound to have both kids and adults in stitches of laughter. The second act is ‘Men in Coats’, a group from Scotland who were a great success at the Edinburgh Festival.
‘Men in Coats’ are two extremely cheeky comedians who get up to all sorts of antics using silly props and comical costumes.
For our other evening show, Aisling is thrilled to be teaming up with the remarkable dance and aerial troupe, Fidget Feet Theatre. A self styled ‘pint-sized Cirque du Soleil originating from Ballybofey’, Fidget Feet Theatre is an internationally renowned company that is one of Ireland’s own. Fidget Feet’s production will be a dynamic show drawing on dance, aerial circus, theatre, music and video art. This extraordinary show takes place on Thursday, October 25 and the excitement continues to mount.
Aisling is always broadening our remit and looking for new ways to bring the creative arts to Longford children, and it is in this spirit that Aisling is launching a brand new theatre spectacular, the ‘Aisling Drama Showcase’.
This evening of drama and entertainment will be brought to the stage by several groups of secondary students from three Co Longford schools. The students will collaborate with a trained drama facilitator in writing, designing and producing a short drama presentation. The results will be showcased on Thursday, October 25 next at Longford’s Backstage Theatre.
Also new this year, is the Aisling/Longford Leader Print Media Project. This will involve three secondary school groups working with staff at the Longford Leader to produce a special Aisling Supplement. This supplement shall be included in the issue of the Longford Leader the week before the festival begins.
The supplement will highlight the impact the Aisling Festival has had on the lives of young people in Longford, while providing an invaluable insight to students on how a real life newspaper really works.
Aisling is managed and operated entirely by a volunteer committee and is a non-profit organisation. It would not exist without the support and goodwill of a host of Longford’s businesses, organisations, and individuals and they would like to thank you all for your support.
All donations to the Aisling Children’s Festival should be sent via the Backstage Theatre, Farranyoogan, Longford.