Spring Tour 2007
Barnstorm Theatre Company
Silly Bits of Sky
Silly Bits of Sky tells the story of a group of children who hang out near the pier and regularly indulge in ritual slagging matches. Lanky Murphy hates being teased about her height and Deggsie is fiercely sensitive about his family circumstances. When his boast of having a brand new sleeping bag with a hood, is challenged by Spider as 'spoof', the lies snowball and Deggsie has to produce the sleeping bag or be found out.
Barnstorm Theatre Group
Deggsie’s desperate efforts to part borrow, part-earn the money he needs leads him to doing some work for Lanky’s granny, a feisty but insightful woman with whom he forges an unlikely friendship. But with his light-fingered and spacey brother Petey causing chaos wherever he goes and his mother’s failure to understand how important the sleeping bag is to him, Deggsie’s plans go awry. The only solution to his problem would mean betraying the trust of the one person who understands him.
Silly Bits of Sky explores the pressures on children to fit in and their sensitivity to being jeered or taunted by their peers for that which is unique or different about them. It also highlights the role money plays in the lives of our young people and examines the sometimes conflicting values which contemporary society seems to encourage.
This play is suitable for children aged 7 to 11.
Barnstorm first staged this play in 1998, to great critical acclaim. Written by the prolific dramatist, Maeve Ingoldsby, the play has been updated for the 2007 audience, and its themes are especially relevant to contemporary children. The play employs a lively mix of music, songs, comedy and energetic performance to explore the children's world, their efforts at resolving personal clashes and their relationship with the adult world.
Silly Bits of Sky will be performed at The Royal Theatre, Castlebar on the 8th & 9th of March. Daily performances will take place at 10am and 12:30pm.
Tickets: 9.50, group rate - 8.50, available from the Royal Theatre on (081) 8300000. Running time: 80 minutes approx.
Barnstorm Theatre Company is Ireland’s leading producer of professional theatre for children and young people. In operation since 1991, the company has built up a strong reputation for high quality, innovative styles of theatre presentation for young audiences. In 2005 Barnstorm’s production of The Elves and the Shoemakers represented Ireland at the EU TAC International Festival in Japan. Through a proven commitment to touring, Barnstorm offers the widest possible access to professional theatre to children from all communities throughout Ireland. A non-profit organisation, Barnstorm is principally funded by The Arts Council with additional support from Kilkenny County Council.
Background to Silly Bits of Sky
Barnstorm Theatre Company commissioned Maeve Ingoldsby to write Silly Bits of Sky and it was first staged by the company in 1998. It opened in the Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny and toured nationwide to critical acclaim. The play has been updated for its 2007 audience.
Maeve has been working with Barnstorm for over 10 years. She is a parent and an ex-national school teacher. She has written thirteen plays for young people, two children’s operas, numerous pantomimes and satirical revues and also many scripts for radio and TV, including Fair City and Glenroe.
Set Designer Carol Betera brings Silly Bits of Sky’s pier and interiors to the stage and original music is by former Fleadh Cowboy John Ryan. Lighting Design is by Mark Galione and Bernie McCoy is the costume designer.
Gus McDonagh - Deggsie
Gus studied Speech and Drama in DIT Rathmines and played the role of Mr Peachum in their graduation performance of The Beggars Opera in 2003. Since graduating, his TV credits include Tommy in The Big Bow Wow (GPK Productions), Dylan in Fair City (RTE) and most recently as Git in Stardust, (Merlin Productions for RTE). Short Film credits include roles in 20 or 22, (Borderline Productions) and Slots (Hawkeye Films). Radio credits include roles in Jelly agus Carrots, (RTE) by Maeve Ingoldsby and Surprise, (RTE) by Maeve Binchy. Theatre credits include, Alone it Stands (Lane Productions) in 2005.
Niall McDonagh - Petey
Niall began his acting career as a child in RTE radio dramas. Since then he has appeared on stage in The Wizard of Oz (Olympia), The Snow Queen, The Risen People (both in The Gaiety Theatre) and in Time Flies (Andrew’s Lane). He has also appeared in An Cearrbhac MacCaba, An Phortraid and Cen Dochar le Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe and An Triail do Aisling Ghear. He also appeared in Cinderella and Aladdin at the Black Box Theatre in Galway.
Film Credits include The Commitments, W.C. and Edison in The Halo Effect. TV work includes The Big Bow Wow (RTE), Ri Ra (TG4) and also in the TG4 series of Niallo and Peacai Niallo. He has recently appeared in Barnstorm’s The Biggest Adventure in the World and Little Rudolf.
Shonagh Lyons - Lanky
Shonagh studied Speech & Drama in D.I.T. Rathmines and Performance with the Gaiety School of Acting, where she appeared in numerous stage productions including The Beggars Opera at the Mint and A Streetcar named Desire in SS Michael & John Theatre. She played the role of Miss Hannigan in Annie for a gala performance staged in the Theatre Royal, Wexford. For BBC Northern Ireland, she played the part of Aoife in Life in Early Times directed by Sean McGuire. Over the past 3 years, Shonagh has worked as a drama teacher with The National Performing Arts School in Dublin and various schools around Wexford.
Helen Roche - Granny
Helen trained at the Brendan Smith Theatre Academy, and is delighted to be back with Barnstorm reprising her role of Granny Murphy after nine years. In fact Grannyhood is featuring a lot in Helen’s life lately; recent roles include Gran in Only The Lonely, a radio drama for RTE Radio 1, and the title role in another radio play, My Spanish Countess Granny for Lyric FM, while in real life she has become Grandma to Nathan, Juliana and Lexirose. Recently retired from running Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools in Dublin, Helen enjoys playing Emer Charles in Fair City.
Aileen Mythen - Pineapple/Mother
Aileen graduated from The Gaiety School of Acting in 2003. Theatre credits include Alone it Stands (Lane Productions), Red Hot Runaways (Storytellers/The Civic Theatre), Pinocchio (An Griannan), The Desert Lullaby (Galloglass), The Playboy of the Western World (Yew Tree Theatre Company), Borrowed Robes (Island Theatre Company), and What the Dead Want & Elysian Juniors (Project Theatre)
As a voice over artist, Aileen has worked with Magma Films, Brown Bag, RTE, BBC and Crazy Dog Audio Theatre Company. She has recently voiced the character of Jesse in the animated feature film - The Ugly Duckling & Me (in cinemas from February). As well as being a session singer, Aileen has performed as a blues & soul singer in venues throughout Ireland.
John Morton - Spider/J.J.
John Morton has worked extensively in Kilkenny with Dreamstuff Youth Theatre for the past 7 years as an actor, writer and director. In that time he has appeared in 13 productions including Monty Python’s Life of Brian, The Shaughraun and The Three Musketeers. John trained in the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama in Rathmines. He has also been a long serving member of Kilkenny’s Young Irish Film Makers production company (YIFM) and has been a writer for their National Youth Film School features including Lily’s Bad Day, Eliza Mayflower and the forthcoming 2007 project Suckers. He has also acted in many of their features and shorts including the award winning The Certainty of Chance. John is also one of the founding members of The Devious Theatre Company in Kilkenny. He wrote and acted in their first production Heart Shaped Vinyl and this summer will be appearing in their production of Trey Parker’s Cannibal The Musical.