The UK Bank Holiday weekend provided a mini-festival for children in Waterford, between events in the Theatre Royal and Christ Church Cathedral and it was a pity they weren’t linked in someway with a family ticket.

The Gruffalo

At the Theatre Royal on Saturday morning, the Robert C. Kelly organisation, who are touring Menopause The Musical, are also using the same technical rig to stage the 2007 sub-teens hit The Gruffalo. Performed by Tall Stories Theatre in a fine brown woodland setting, it was a joy to experience as a family audience settled in to interact with The Mouse who adventures into the deep forest and meets an assortment of creatures like the know-all Fox, the predatory Owl, and the insincere Snake before meeting the far from fierce Gruffalo. To hear happy children entering into the make-believe and talking and shouting to the characters was such fun. Jim Gitsham was Gruffalo, Louise Mai Newberry was an impressive Mouse and Paul Lancaster was excellent as Fox, Owl and Snake.

Suzuki School

On Sunday morning at the Coffee Concert at Christ Church Cathedral was an exciting time for the newly formed Waterford Suzuki Violin School, founded in 2007 by the inspirational Brian Brown. He studied with the Japanese Suzuki founder Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and brings a wealth of musical knowledge and patience to his gentle but dedicated teaching.

This celebratory occasion was also the opportunity to premiere All In A Day, by Marian Ingoldsby, who has written some fine contemporary music for children’s opera. She accompanied on piano, the fifty or so young musicians who revelled in the challenging piece that stretched their skills and allowed them to show off their talents.

The rest of the concert was filled with recognisable and tuneful pieces like a Handel chorus, the singalong Long Long Ago macaronic song; some Dvorak, a Bach Minuet and Bouree and a Vivaldi movement.

The appreciative standing ovation was due and deserved and this Suzuki School is well positioned to fill any gaps in the future of Waterford childrens’ music.

Suzuki School Players

Ellen Arrigan, Anna Beadle, Emma Beadle, Alison Bermingham, Ciara Brennan, Diarmuid Brennan, Clodagh Briggs, Emily Casey, Lauren Casey, Eli Curran, Aisling Douris, Chris Dowling, Cillian Drohan, Anna Duffin, Cathal Duffin, Emma Dunne, Fodhla Dunne, Kate Finnigan, Megan FitzGerald, Rhionna Fitzgerald, Ruth Fitzgerald, Sarah Foley, Alana Keating, Kaya Keating, Lalie Kuppe, Katie Landers, Sean Landers, Jordan Ludusan, Muireann Lyng, Marie McGrath, laoise McLaughlin, Gearoid Morgan O’Brien, Clodagh Murphy, Eabha Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Jane Murray, Orna Murray, Darach O Cathasaigh, Einne O Cathasaigh, Niamh O Neill, Brooklyn Quinn, Lia Reilly, Niamh Saunders, Jessie Smith McCarthy, Peter Traynor, Georgia Tuohy, Adam Walker and Ciara Walker. The Assistant was Emma Dunne.

The Dream Makers

On Monday night, the Theatre Royal was packed for the second night of the Waterford Ballet Academy showcase and premiere of The Dream Makers by Margaret Hunter with music by John Manchberry.

The evening opened with a Polish Symphony where Sarah Fanning, Izzy Rush, Maddison Cuss, Grainne Burke and Shauna Warren showed their fine paces. The costuming of Dedicated Follower Of Fashion and You Can’t Always Get What You Want was excellent and the Stones song was a gem as danced by Izzy Rush, Treasa Doorley, Hannah Feighery, Charlotte Govier, Ceri Green, Hannah Hewetson, Hannah O’Sullivan and Shauna Warren.

The fine costume work continued into the premiere of The Dream Makers with vivid Strawberry Costumes, imaginative Chocolate River ones, glorious Oompa Loopas. This colour-fest continued into Blueberry dresses, Parma Violets and splendid Security Guards.

Margaret Hunter, the Principal of Waterford Ballet Academy wove the Willy Wonka story into a clever dance story where Lachberry’s music was very reminiscent of his Beatrix Potter score. Two excellent scenic cloths added much to the magic.

Grace Flynn was a fine Charlie, Charlotte Govier was Queen Of Dreams, Ciara McCarthy was a familiar Willy Wonka. The children were Emily Codd, Maddison Cuss, Claudia Hannan, Eileen Hopper, Alana Keating, Michelle Phelan, Saoirse Garland, Claire O Nuallain, Orla O’Sullivan and Aimee Swaine.

Anna Papathomas, Lauryn Grant, Megan O’Mahony and Emma Smith were among the Toffee Apples. The Security Guards were Grainne Burke, Jill Harrison, Eilis Magee, Evelyn Moir, Ailbhe O’Sillivan and Izzy Rush.