The Libravian was commissioned by Baboró for our 2020 Commissions Award. It is an innovative work created by Galway theatre artist James Riordan of Brú Theatre to be presented in libraries across Galway city and county for our 2021 festival.
The Libravian explores themes of courage and identity, celebrating brilliant books and diverse stories through big hearted physical comedy.
The show invites audiences on a journey through literature led by Lynn, a lovable ‘libravian’ drag queen equipped with comfy shoes and jazzy cardigans. Lynn chats with audiences and lip syncs to original audiobook soundscapes that immerse the listener in the world of each book. This unique performance, with playful costume and intricate sound design, reinvigorates civic spaces and delights young audiences, families and schools with a celebration of literature, story and diversity.
James collaborated with sound designer Jenny O’Malley and Macnas production designer Orla Clogher. The character and story development was informed by a selection of five books chosen with project partners Children's Books Ireland, The O'Brien Press and Little Island.
Director: Cillian O'Donnachadha
Performer: James Riordan
Sound Designer: Jenny O’Malley
Production Designer: Orla Clogher
James Riordan, Brú’s artistic director, is from Galway and trained at LISPA (London) and the APT (Berlin).
Following years based in Berlin and London and working for companies including the ENO and Absurda Comica, he became a core member of The Lipsinkers (UK) for 4 years. Returning to Ireland in 2017 to set up Brú, he is currently an Arts council Theatre Artist in Residence at the Town Hall Theatre, Galway. He is an Irish Times Theatre Awards Best Actor nominee 2020 for his role in Brú’s Selvage, a participant on Creative Europe’s Make a Move, Theatre Forum’s MAKE and has recently collaborated with Darren O Donnell of Mammalian Diving Reflex in creating a new theatrical sport for Baboró International Festival for Children.
He was recently awarded the Michael Hogan Bursary to write new work from the Abbey Theatre.
Brú Theatre is a bilingual theatre company creating interdisciplinary work in Irish and English, based in Galway city. Founded in 2018 by Artistic Director James Riordan and Producer Jill Murray, Brú Theatre makes visual performances that incorporate new writing, mask theatre, live music and dance to create exciting and engaging experiences for audiences. They tour nationally, present work across different mediums to a wide range of audiences and have multiple Irish Times Theatre Award nominations for their work.
Brú loves to explore and innovate traditional forms of Irish storytelling including literature, song and superstition, and the work has a strong collaborative element. They recently toured Ar Ais Arís nationally, a merging of Irish language literature and visual poetry in virtual reality as part of Brightening Air I Coiscéim Coiligh. Their next show, Gol, will be on stage in December. This will be a five strong ensemble of Irish lamenters and tell a darkly comic story of aging and what is lost when those people and practices are left behind as we progress.
Jill Murray is Brú’s producer and a freelance producer working in theatre, dance and visual art in Galway. She is the General Manager with Galway Dance Project and producer at Interface Inagh, a visual arts workspace and studio in the Inagh valley, Connemara.
Jill is an alumni of Irish Theatre’s Institute’s ELEVATOR programme and on Agents of Change, a professional development programme funded by the Arts Council’s Invitation to Collaboration Scheme, and was managed by Irish Theatre Institute, Galway city and county councils and Roscommon County Council.
Jill has worked with the Town Hall Theatre, Druid Theatre, The Galway Arts Centre, Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Decadent Theatre Company and Macnas.
Children’s Books Ireland is the national children’s books organisation of Ireland. Through their many activities and events they aim to engage young people with books, foster a greater understanding of the importance of reading for young people, and act as a core resource for those with an interest in books for children in Ireland.
The O'Brien Press is Ireland's leading general publisher of both adult and children's books. They aim to continue to pursue a policy of excellence and diversity in both adult and children's publishing, now and in the years to come.
Little Island Books is an award-winning independent Irish publishing company that started life as an imprint of New Island Books. They publish only great books for children and young adults, focusing primarily on emerging Irish authors.