Online Delegate Programme
Panel Discussion

Diversifying Performance for Young Audiences

Ireland’s population has changed dramatically in just one generation. Children attend school with children from a myriad of backgrounds, ethnic groups and cultures. However, not all children are seeing themselves reflected on Irish stages, particularly in work made for young people. How do we address this issue in Ireland? Are there good examples to look to in other countries?

Chaired by Dr. Charlotte McIvor, Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies and Deputy Head of the School of English and Creative Arts at the National University of Ireland.

In partnership with Theatre for Young Audiences Ireland (TYAI)

This event will be closed-captioned.


Maureen Kennelly

Maureen Kennelly was Director of Poetry Ireland from 2013 until she commenced her role as Director of the Arts Council in April 2020. She was previously Director of Kilkenny Arts Festival, Artistic Director of the Mermaid Arts Centre, General Manager with Fishamble Theatre Company, and she also worked with Druid Theatre Company, the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, The Arts Council and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland. On a freelance basis, she worked with a wide range of organisations including Theatre Forum, Sing Ireland, the Performance Corporation and Age & Opportunity. She was Primary Curator with the Mountains to Sea DLR Book Festival and Programme Director with the Cúirt International Festival of Literature.

Boomer Stacey

Boomer Stacey is the founding Executive Director of IPAY. He has a wide range of experience in the field of international performing arts for young audiences including over six years of service on the IPAY Board of Directors, and continued work on the board of ASSITEJ Canada. Additional experience includes; Artistic Director of the renowned Milk International Children’s Festival of the Arts and Artistic Associate at Harbourfront Centre; Conference Producer /Networking & Learning Manager at Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT); and consulting work with international artists, organisations, and theatre for young audience companies. Boomer has extensive international experience with continued participation in international festivals and events for professional performing arts for young audiences.

Yvette Hardie

Yvette Hardie is a theatre producer, director, educator, and writer active in the world of theatre and performance, with a particular focus on theatre for young audiences. She initiated the launch of ASSITEJ SA in 2007 and leads the organisation as Director. She currently serves as President of ASSITEJ International, a network of theatres and artists working in theatre for young audiences in over 85 countries. She is also deputy chairperson of the ACTYA (African Children and Youth Theatre Arena). She has written and spoken extensively on issues relating to arts for young audiences, arts education and arts for reconciliation and conflict resolution at events around the world.

Trina Haldar

Trina Haldar is Associate Director at The Spark Arts for Children, and Artistic Director of Mashi Theatre, which was set up in response to the lack of diverse work on offer in the UK, particularly for young people. As a Director, Trina’s credits include productions at Curve Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, Tara Arts, Soho Theatre and Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai, India. She was recently awarded the Naseem Khan commission with Curve, Bristol Old Vic and The Lowry to develop a new piece of theatre for adults.Trina is former participant with the National Theatre - Step Change programme, The Optimists with China Plate and a Clore50 SC Alumni. She consults with Theatres and consortium to increase representation on and off our stages and has spoken at a number of platforms including The Guardian's “Our Nations Theatre” conversations with Lyn Gardner and recently on Radio 4's Front Row programme. Trina is on the Board of Theatre-Rites an award-winning company and leader in the creation of experimental theatre for children.

Cliodhna Noonan

Cliodhna Noonan is founder and director of Acting Up! Arts. She advocates for the importance of early years arts experiences for all and has performed her early years shows in Ireland, Lithuania, Egypt, Italy, Russia and Tunisia. She created Acting Up! to offer a moment of deep communication and calm to carers through an arts experience with their children. Finding new tools for communication and creating experiences that touch us through arts activity is the basis for her work. Acting Up! Arts is the international programme curator of Labas! Festival for early years audiences in Vilnius and Grasshoppers Early Years Arts Festival in Balbriggan, North Co. Dublin. Cliodhna is a committee member of TYAI (Theatre for Young Audiences Ireland), a member of Smallsize EU network association and most recently a board member of IIAN - International Inclusive Arts Network.

Dr Charlotte McIvor (Chair)

Dr Charlotte McIvor is a Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She is the author of Migration and Performance in Contemporary Ireland: Towards A New Interculturalism and the co-editor of The Methuen Companion to Interculturalism and Performance (with Daphne P. Lei), Interculturalism and Performance Now: New Directions? (with Jason King), Devised Performance in Irish Theatre: Histories and Contemporary Practice (with Siobhan O’Gorman) and Staging Intercultural Ireland: Plays and Practitioner Perspectives (with Matthew Spangler) and has published in multiple journals and edited collections. She is also a theatre and creative arts practitioner whose most recent work is with NUI Galway’s Active* Consent programme, for which she directs the Creative Arts and Communications Unit. In 2019, she directed and produced Active* Consent’s inaugural national third-level theatre tour of The Kinds of Sex You Might Have in College, an original play she co-devised with students featuring a company of professional alumni actors.