Volunteering in Carlow: Opportunities In The Arts
Over the past decade, Carlow has evolved into a bustling haven of talent for the Arts. With a state of the art theatre and gallery in the GB Shaw & Visual at our disposal as well as the many cultural festivals and programmes run by the likes of Carlow Arts Festival and Glór Cheatharlach, there are an increasing number of opportunities available for volunteers to lend a helping hand. Today Adam is taking a look at Slapdash Theatre and Story Time in Carlow Library where volunteers have been integral to their success and growth in Carlow.
Janice de Broithe, Artistic director of Slapdash Theatre is one of Carlow’s biggest advocates of supporting the arts. She explains to Adam that volunteers are vital to the running of any of her productions both on and off stage. Producing The Wizard of Oz in GB Shaw Theatre last year, and the Carlow 1916 street theatre production, Janice has brought both experience and an invigorating energy to the arts scene in Carlow. “It’s important to be inclusive. Theatre is for everyone and community engagement is a core part of our remit”.
Whether Volunteers are interested in helping on or off stage, Janice explains that there are so many areas in which people can help when it comes to theatre. On stage, all of the cast are there on a voluntary basis, and whether you’ve been on stage before, or never at all, Janice says that even within The Wizard of Oz, Natalie Brennan who played the main character of The Wicked Witch had never been on stage before. “Never being on stage shouldn’t be a barrier. We give everyone a chance”.
Stage managers, assistant stage managers and crew also operate on a voluntary basis, and are responsible for the smooth running of the shows. Ensuring both props and people are on stage when they need to be. There are also more creative opportunities in costume creation set painting and photography, and Janice says that she has been blessed to have had the support of the local talents of James Wynne Photography, Eileen Brophy and Bernie O’Halloran who took the reigns on publicity photography and Costume creation on a voluntary basis for her previous productions. “Slapdash is very lucky to have a core team of people who volunteer both their skills and their time in order to ensure such a high quality output” says Janice.
Slapdash Theatre will have a range of opportunities available in the coming months as Janice prepares for her next big production of Alice in Wonderland which will be coming to the GB Theatre in April. “We’ll have auditons in August, and then production will begin after Christmas”, any enquiries can be directed to Janice on Facebook.
Volunteers are also a huge part of Story Time in Carlow Town Library where Fiona Foskin coordinates the volunteer Storytellers. Story Time takes place every Saturday at 11am in the library, where the volunteers read short stories to the kids and parents. “Volunteers have enabled us to host a Story Time every single weekend, it’s been fantastic for us to be able to offer this service to the Carlow Community and we would not have been able to do so without the members of that community who have volunteered their valuable time”.
Having sat in on a number of Story Times, Adam had a chance to talk to some parents and volunteers. The smiling faces, enthusiastic volunteers and the parent’s feedback spoke volumes for the work being done by Fiona and her team of volunteers. Fiona explains “we believe it is important to interact with children positively around books and reading, to help children to feel comfortable and to feel that they belong in the library, that it is their space. Each of the volunteers we have met through the Volunteer Centre has been willing and able to be trained in the ways in which this can be done”.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering in Carlow, as a Storyteller, within the theatre or indeed in any of the other sectors, we would greatly encourage you to pick up the phone and give us a call on 059 9173033 and we can arrange a meeting to help you find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you. You can also find us on Twitter: @VolunteerCarlow and Facebook: Carlow Volunteer Centre where you can keep up to date with all our latest opportunities, events and general happenings in Carlow.