Branar sa Scoil in full swing across County Galway

Branar sa Scoil, a programme of performances, workshops and arts offerings for primary schools, is in full swing across County Galway this spring term. The initiative comprises of arts programming in a number of selected primary schools, and distribution of Branar’s “Rockin’ the Classroom” music education resource to all primary schools in County Galway. Branar sa Scoil is commissioned by Galway Culture Company, and devised by Branar, one of Ireland’s leading theatre companies making work for young audiences.

Speaking about “Rockin’ the Classroom” one teacher commented, “Tá sé den scoth! Ceachtanna, leathanaigh oibre & ceol lán le craic & spraoi! [It is excellent! Lessons, worksheets & music full of fun & excitement!]” “Rockin’ the Classroom” is a multiplatform education pack that includes videos, a CD and a workbook complete with lesson plans linked to each track on the CD. Upward of 600 copies arrived in school letterboxes across County Galway in early February for use in Junior Infants to 2nd class classrooms.

Following an open call to schools with a DEIS designation, Castlegar National School, Scoil Chroí Íosa, Letterfrack National School and Gort Primary School were selected for participation. The DEIS programme is part of the Department of Education social inclusion strategy to help children who are at risk of or who are experiencing educational disadvantage. Between January and June 2024 these schools are engaging in a curated arts programme including hands-on workshops in dance, visual art, and drama; access to live in-school performances of Branar’s shows “Ballad of a Bandit” and “You’ll See”; Bricí Spraoi Imagination Playground; access to digital content including the Acorn Digital Arts Flag and more. Branar is also curating a bespoke arts programme for Scoil Eoin Pól II on Inis Mór as part of the programme.

Speaking about performances of “Ballad of a Bandit” in their schools, teachers commented:

Tríona, 5th and 6th class teacher at Letterfrack National School said, “The children enjoyed it so much. They were blown away by the acting in particular. The use of props was pretty incredible from start to finish. From a teacher’s perspective it was very inspiring. We talked about the experience for a long time after. The follow up activity was just perfect! it was just enough to get them thinking and writing creatively. It was fun and had a nice link to art, it worked really well.”

Úna, 3rd and 4th class teacher at Castlegar National School said, “It was fantastic!  Miquel was simply wonderful – such talent, energy, storytelling ability and lovely interaction with the kids. Who knew you could provide such an excellent show with cleaning supplies!”

Marilyn Gaughan Reddan of Galway Culture Company said, “Galway Culture Company is delighted to work in partnership with Branar on this very exciting project for young people. Branar is an incredible company, making work for the most important of audiences, our children. The project supports 14 artists working across Branar sa Scoil in a programme of 71 in-person workshops and 13 performances which will reach 561 pupils by the end of the current school year.”