On Wednesday last children from across Longford descended on Backstage Theatre for a mesmerising work in progress sharing of Luminaria, a new play for children created by Backstage Artist in Residence Maisie Lee.
Maisie Lee is a freelance director of radio and theatre. Her previous positions include Assistant Director in the Abbey Theatre.
Having worked with Maisie on their 2017 project with BYT Backstage were thrilled to secure Maisie as their Artist in Residence for 2018/19.
During her time with Backstage she has been working extensively with children throughout Longford. Late last year she worked with two local schools on the development of The Velveteen Rabbit which was showcased as part of Aisling Children’s Festival.
This year she has been working with writer Fionnuala Gygax and an incredible creative team on the development of this exciting new play for children. Throughout the year Maisie and Fionnuala have worked with students from three schools across Longford sharing ideas and gaining feedback from the children.
Wednesday’s audience consisted of a mix of children who had been involved in the workshops and those who were hearing the story for the first time. This work-in-progress sharing gave students and teachers a glimpse of where this show can go and what a glimpse it was!
The students were captivated by the magical story and the hilarious characters from the outset and during the questions and answers section at the end the auditorium was electric with excitement. Lúna has recently been appointed Reine de Lúmiere of the village of Lúminaria and her job is to send out light to the people in the village who might be in need.
But lately there have been strange happenings in the sky with the light supply getting lower and lower. To save the village of Lúminaria, Lúna must set off an adventure up into the sky to find the light. On her way she meets a cacophony of creatures.
“The world is full of darkness. But also full of light. Sometimes, all we need is a little help to realise that the light is there.”
Backstage was thrilled to be given the opportunity to support the development of this new piece of children’s theatre through the support of funding from Arts Council Ireland, Creative Ireland and Longford County Council made even more special by being performed during Cruinniú na nÓg Creative Ireland programme.
As part of the Creative Counties programme Backstage was also given the opportunity to share this exciting project with Roscommon Arts Centre, expanding the number of children who could benefit from the programme.