Opening Doors

Mon 17 Oct

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Opening Doors

A roundtable of makers and thinkers, that explores models of practice to aid artists in the creation of work for very young audiences, in early years education and Creche settings. Through this discussion, panellists will begin to map and articulate models of best practice arising from national and International projects such as the 'Mapping', 'Small Size' and 'Graffiti BEAG'. Using the work created during these projects as case studies, panellists will share their experiences and explore the challenges in bringing work to these settings.

Presented as part of Creative Europe MAPPING Project.

This event will be followed by a Creative Europe reception in the foyer of the O'Donoghue centre. Nibbles will be served, and we invite audiences to join us for chats and mingling as a way to more casually digest and continue the discussion.

Gaëtane Reginster is the Director of Théâtre de la Guimbarde since 2012. Having been an assistant on ‘Etc.’ by Daniela Ginevro, she created ‘King of Clay’, a project for toddlers with the Théâtre Eclair from Ouagadougou. In 2015, she participated in the production of ‘Sweet & Swing’. In 2017, she created ‘Taama’, a musical show for children aged 1+ and ‘Tiébélé’ is her most recent creation. Both are related to the culture of West Africa. She finds her inspiration in African soil. Her next project ‘Walangane’ is about water and is being created with a Senegalese singer. In her performances, she seeks to bring to life the world of the little ones with the beauty – even rough – of the world, music, voice, gestures, bodies of other humans. Since 2013, she has provided artistic training for early childhood professionals and has delivered sensory exploration workshops in creches and for families.

Marc Mac Lochlainn is the executive artistic director of Branar, a company he founded in 2001. Over the years Branar has developed and presented 20 productions and facilitated workshops for thousands of children throughout Ireland. Branar is a professional theatre company that tours productions to schools, venues and festivals nationally throughout Ireland and internationally - Branar's work has been presented on three continents. Marc and Branar delivered Sruth na Teanga in 2020 as part of ECOC Galway 2020. Marc began Branar’s ‘AG Roinnt’ - theatre resource sharing scheme and the TINY SHOWS weekends, which has now developed into Meitheal, a pilot creative supports service for artists making work for young audiences funded by the Arts Council. Branar and Marc were Theatre Artist in Residence in Mary Immaculate College of Education in Limerick. Marc was formerly a Board member of TYA Ireland and Meitheal na mBeag, Macnas and An Taibhdhearc. Marc was one of the 30 theatre makers who worked on Home Theatre Ireland project with Draíocht Arts Centre.

Dr. Rita Melia has worked in Early Childhood Education and Care, in practice, research and policy for over thirty years. As an owner /manager of a creche and preschool and as the Reggio Children International representative for Ireland, Rita has been influenced by Loris Malaguzzi theory of the Hundred Languages. Rita was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to Harvard Graduate School of Education under the sponsorship of Professor Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligences) and Professor Benjamin Mardell (The Pedagogy of Play). As a practitioner, educator and researcher Rita believes in the importance of supporting and enhancing young children’s 21st century skills, of curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, communication through the arts as a right not merely a need, her PhD research is titled 'My self-image and your interactions': The influence of the preschool educator's image of the child as a learner on children's wellbeing and involvement (

About the Chair

Marianne Kennedy is a lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance at The National University of Galway and the Head of Production of The O' Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance and the Artistic Director of the Arts in Action Programme for the University of Galway. She has developed modules on Theatre for Children and Young People in partnership with Branar and Babóró. Kennedy is currently a member of the Creative Europe Mapping Project Committee with Babóró. She is a theatre-maker and arts manager with 20 years professional experience as a producer and director in the Performing, Irish language, Youth and Traditional Arts. Marianne is the founder and a proud member of the Giorria collective ( ), a group of Irish language artists’ striving to push new boundaries in the minoritised arts and the arts in general in Galway and nationwide. Recent directing credits include Frogs by Aristophanes and Paul Mercier’s Diarmuid and Gráinne for the University of Galway, Faoi Scáth le Chéile in Dingle, Cláirseach ina Tost for Galway Theatre Festival, STRINGS, ROPES AND CHAINS: Silencing the Voice of a People for the Abbey (Ireland’s National Theatre) 5x5 Award (all these were for the Giorria Collective), co-directed Dún na mBan Trí Thine by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne for The National Theatre of the Irish Language and the Galway International Arts Festival. Kennedy has spent six years as the CEO of Siamsa Tire, Arts Centre in Tralee, Co. Kerry where she programmed the theatre and visual arts spaces as well as being producer of the National Folk Theatre of Ireland performing company for their national and international tours including an nationwide tour of Venezuela. She is a current board member of Galway Theatre Festival and Áras Éanna Arts Centre, Inis Oirr.