Speech by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, at the official launch of “Tradoodle” Monaghan’s 1st Traditional Arts Festival for Children
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Distinguished Guests, Colleagues, Friends….
I am delighted to be here this evening in Monaghan Town to launch Tradoodle, Monaghan’s first traditional Arts festival for children.
I shouldn’t name names, because I’m sure to miss some, but I wish in particular to mention Thomas Johnston, Artistic Director of Tradoodle, for putting together this exciting programme of events that features everything from a mix of magical musical feasts, sean-nós dancing to a spooky Halloween session at the beautiful Tin Church at Laragh.
I would also like to thank Monaghan County Council and in particular, the Creative Ireland Culture Team for Monaghan for their work and dedication in supporting this project– a wonderful opportunity for the young people of this county and further afield to experience culture and creativity first hand.
County Monaghan is indeed a county with a rich and vibrant cultural heritage. The Monaghan Culture and Creativity Plan for 2017 which I launched earlier this year as part of the Creative Ireland Programme brought home to me once again the importance of Monaghan’s cultural assets – whether it’s our natural heritage, our built heritage, our landscape, our archaeological sites or our traditional arts – all woven into the fabric of our daily lives.
I know from personal experience that the traditional arts – whether it be music, song, dance, or storytelling – are particularly dynamic and strong here – the numerous festivals, events, and other happenings taking place across the county each year bear witness to this. There are many organisations and individuals who for years have been dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts and I would like to pay tribute to their commitment and enthusiasm here this evening.
It is this sort of commitment, ingenuity, collaboration and sense of partnership that emphasises the important role local organisations, local artists, local creatives and the local authorities – assisted by central government – can and do play as providers and enablers of culture and creativity locally, something I am particularly anxious to promote through the Creative Ireland Programme.
Tradoodle reflects this collaborative approach – being funded by the Creative Ireland Programme and the Arts Council in association with Monaghan County Council, being presented by Ceol Connected and being partnered by venues such as Íontas and the Garage Theatre venues, community centres such as Teach na ndaoine and Carrickmacross Workhouse, and encompassing the Arts Office, the Heritage Office, primary schools and preschools, county libraries, and other groups and individuals.
Tradoodle is innovative – being one of the first festivals in Ireland curated especially for children and young audiences. It is inclusive and accessible – whether you are in Castleblaney or Clones, Monaghan Town or Carrickmacross – connecting and meeting the needs and interests of children and young audiences alike.
It’s ambitious, it’s new, it directly ties in with Pillar 1 of the Creative Ireland Programme – “to enable the creative potential of every child”. We all know that children flourish through creative activities and experimenting with all forms of creative expression. I was delighted to be able to announce in last week’s budget that funding of €2m is being allocated to delivering and implementing a Creative Children’s Plan for next year.
Tradoodle – at a fundamental level – sets out to explore and open up the exciting spaces between the traditional arts and other art forms such as visual arts, theatre and puppetry, allowing children entry into a magical world. This is reflected in the wonderful printed programme with its magical depiction of “Monaghan by Night” on the cover by Jacob Stack and which contains an exciting family and schools programme including live band extravaganzas, online tin-whistle lessons, art exhibitions, special animation screenings, and lots more. Children will even have a chance to fine-tune their shadow puppet skills!
I was also fascinated to read about the Sí Beag Sí Mor Artist Residency initiative that is designed to encourage new and innovative work in the area of traditional arts for young audiences. This will bring together artists from different disciplines who will be given three days to create new artistic works for children which will then be showcased to those who work in the youth sector. What is particularly exciting about this is the unknown potential when you bring together traditional artists and those from other art forms. We look forward to seeing the outcome of this exciting initiative.
Enabling children and young people to have a meaningful and transformative experience is at the centre of what I hope to achieve under the Creative Ireland Programme. It is through experiencing the arts and their cultural heritage that a child’s eyes are opened to creativity and their potential for being creative is released.
Festivals such as Tradoodle highlight the importance and power of culture and creativity to change our lives and that of our children. I would now like to take this opportunity to formally launch Tradoodle and hope you all enjoy and participate in this wonderful festival.