Grasshoppers Early years Festival was founded as a project in 2019 by Cliodhna Noonan of Acting Up Arts and supported by Our Balbriggan. It is a programme of arts workshops and performances tailored for an audience aged 0-6 and the adults
who care for them. We wanted to reach communities of young children from all cultures and backgrounds in Ireland’s youngest town through visual arts, music, storytelling and movement to celebrate what we all have in common and to create wonderful memories together as a community.
What was the programme in 2019?
In the summer of 2019, Grasshoppers presented eight advocacy workshops for families with children aged 0-6 and two tailored performances by Acting Up! for the same audience, Silver Tree and Dreamtrain. With no arts venue in the town, we gratefully acknowledged the support of the Fingal County Council to use the conference room in the Council Offices building. The energy and fun atmosphere created by the arrival twice a week of buggies, mammies and babies was tangible for all!
Following the advocacy events, the festival 2019 weekend opened with Ireland’s First Buggy Parade and Capoeira in the square. The weekend hosted eight sold out performances for very young children from Lithuania, Croatia, Belgium and Romania.
In the run up to the festival weekend, we also organised and hung an art exhibition around the town of Balbriggan with the theme ‘Our Balbriggan – Our Community’. It was a lot of fun to see many generations together looking for their artworks and discussing the gorgeous images on display. Many thanks to Millfield Shopping Centre, Balbriggan Library and Supervalu in the town for displaying the exhibition!
With the pandemic roller coasting back and forth it was difficult to plan Grasshoppers for 2020. However, we are back with a fully virtual version of the festival for 2021! Now, more than ever, we would like to reach the youngest citizens and share some creativity with them and their carers. Of course, we can reach further with this edition of the festival as it goes online but we hope that preschool and childcare groups open for essential workers will avail of the morning sessions and that families will come online via zoom to meet the international and local experts for some stories, movement and creativity!
Booking will be via Gr8 events website and is expected to be opened on Monday February 1st. (possibly earlier)