Theatre for Early Years: Panel Discussion

Theatre for Early Years: Panel Discussion

Friday, 14 May 11:00 [LIVE]

A live panel discussion which showcases and explores Theatre for Early Years (TEY) in Ireland. The panel will feature prominent Irish practitioners of TEY, including artists, directors and programmers. The event is open to all and will provide an opportunity for artists who are interested in the field to learn more about creating work for babies and toddlers. There will be a Q&A after the discussion to allow for questions from attendees. The event will be geared towards an audience of artists and arts workers who are interested in understanding, exploring and/or creating work for toddlers and babies.

Panelists: Aisling O'Gorman, Fiona Kelleher, George Hanover, Lali Morris

Producer: Sadhbh Barrett Coakley

Image used with permission of Graffiti.

The Panelists

Aisling O’Gorman

Aisling O’Gorman is Creative Arts Manager at The Ark, Europe’s first dedicated children’s cultural centre. In this role she leads across The Ark’s multi-disciplinary programme for children aged 2 to 12. Her work encompasses creating and producing a diverse programme across that age range including music, theatre, dance, visual art and STEAM. In recent years she has developed a number of new initiatives particularly in the areas of Early Years, Artist Development, Access and arts-based CPD programmes for teachers. Aisling began working at The Ark in 2011 and since then has produced a wide range of programmes including commissioning and producing new shows for young audiences (many of which have toured nationally), developing and directing the John Coolahan Early Years Artist Residency as well as numerous arts participation programmes. The Ark’s recent success with a Creative Europe grant means that she is programmer and producer of Ireland’s first international music festival for young audiences which takes place annually as part of a network of such festivals in 12 different cities across Europe and Canada. Prior to her work at The Ark, she founded and led the Participation and Learning programme for University Concert Hall, Limerick, devising engagement programmes for children, young people and adults and has worked as both a performer and facilitator. 

Fiona Kelleher

Fiona Kelleher is a musical artist specialising in music performance and composing for Early Years audiences. Her work in communities includes projects in Early Years settings, schools, Direct Provision Centres, Hospitals and Day Care Centres across Cork City and county. She creates music for theatre, film, dance and live musical performance. Improvisation and collaboration are key elements of her practice. Creating sound worlds that reference and celebrate the natural world and its beauty is an area of special interest. She is a vocalist and recorded artist. She is an Irish language speaker and celebrates the Irish music song tradition and language in her practice. Acclaimed and recent work includes I am A little Boat for Early Years, Do Chuala Ceol (film with live score for voice and piano) and Cocoon, an animation released in 2020. She is currently writing new music and continues to perform and facilitate for Early Years audiences.

George Hanover

George is an actor, early years artist, creative play workshop designer & facilitator. She has been working as an artist and mentor on BEAG Early Years Arts Programme specifically for children from birth to three, since its inception in 2010 and has recently been appointed Director. It’s the first early years arts programme of its kind in Ireland hosted by Graffiti Theatre with partners HSE, Cork City & County Councils.

George is also a member of BrokenCrow, current artists in residence at the Everyman Theatre, Cork. She has been busy researching and developing stories & performances for early years and young audiences. Alongside that she has been collaborating with fellow Crows on a new piece, Our Tethered Kin by Ronan Fitzgibbon. 

Last year, through Graffiti Theatre, she won a Creative Ireland/DCEDIY Pilot Bursary Award where she worked on Little Bird Babble with lead artist Rachel Doolin, an 8 week remote delivery project in collaboration with a direct provision centre. During lockdown she also created and delivered Telling Tales in partnership with Triskel for Cruinniu na nOg, where she video recorded a selection of stories written by children from around the country between the ages of 6 & 12. She is co-founder of Creative Play Studios where she designs and delivers active participation creative play masterclasses for childcare professionals and artists.

Lali Morris

Lali Morris holds a BA in Education and Speech Theater - National College of Education Evanston, IL USA and an MA in Arts and Education, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick Ireland.

My eclectic background in the dramatic arts varies from teaching, devising and directing small and large productions (300 Max participants) in the USA and in Ireland. I usually work with children, teenagers and occasionally have directed adults as well. 

I moved to Ireland in 1996 and, after teaching an improv workshop for teenagers as part of the children's program (Baboró) of the Galway International Arts Festival, I was invited to join the board of directors of Baboró. In 2001 I was honored to be selected to hold the position of Artistic Director of Baboró (2001 – 2015). I stepped down from this position to return to teaching, doing research and developing new work for children and teenagers including those with Special Needs. I'm also delighted to be on the board of directors of Branar Theatre.


Stage Manager: Karen McCabe


Thank you to: 

Graffiti Theatre Company

The Ark

Department of Theatre

Roinn na hAmharclannaíochta

Muskerry Villas, Western Road, Cork City T12 AW97