Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of 2017 for me was being awarded the International Early Childhood Arts Commission by the four Dublin Local Authorities, funded through Arts Council Ireland's Invitation to Collaboration Scheme to create a brand new show called I AM BABA for babies aged 0-12 months.
Working with long-time collaborator, composer David Goodall, designer Jen Shepherd (who, as usual when designing a baby show for me, did some audience development of her own - welcome to the world, baby Roisin!), costume designer Judy Kay and in association with the wonderful Civic Theatre in Tallaght, I AM BABA was developed in creative consultation with babies and families all over Dublin.
I started off by saying I wanted to make a show for babies about agency, personhood and identity. And then went on a journey with the babies, with the creative team and a wonderful set of performers to find out what I might mean by that!
Breath, light, mirrors and ever-enlarging pieces of chiffon wove a journey of song and voice that, as ever, was constantly nuanced by the individual moment-to-moment responses of the babies in each and every show.
One of my favourite things was that one of the key moments of the show was in fact suggested by a parent who came along to the very first open session in the development process!
We were totally delighted with the responses, one of my favourite being "my baby will dream of this"......
and if you click here, you'll get to a great writeup in the Irish Times.
So, what next? As soon as I open HUSH-A-BYE (the new early years show for Oily Cart that I'm up to at the moment - more of that in a future blog!), with the continued support of the Civic Theatre, Tallaght, I'm putting together a funding application to tour I AM BABA nationally next Autumn. For babies who haven't even been born yet........
Thanks as ever to Soundsmove who created this video piece about the journey of the project. Click here for a link to a shorter video promo.