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Network for Extraordinary Audiences

Theatre adventures for audiences of babies, early years and children with complex needs

The Network for Extraordinary Audiences is eight Irish venues coming together to commit strategically and in the long-term to programming, developing and advocating for high quality arts experiences for underserved younger audiences, including babies, early years and children/young people with complex needs as a key part of their ongoing year-round programme.

It is initially a formalisation of Anna Newell's relationships with these eight venues, all of whom have, variously programmed, supported, commissioned, developed and/or produced her work for these underserved audiences.

It aims not simply to programme this work as a network but to develop work locally that could have the potential to tour nationally. This would create a coherent national network of emerging artists making work for these audiences with strategic and ongoing bespoke mentoring in collaboration with Anna. Such collaboration will ensure that this work is of the highest quality possible and will build both local and national connections with organisations that engage with those who live and work with these audiences to ensure that the work engages parents/caregivers who might not necessarily ordinarily access the arts.

We believe in the fundamental human right of every child to high quality arts experiences, however young or however profoundly disabled they might be perceived to be; and to arts experiences that connect with them in the unique ways in which they engage with the world.

Extraordinary audiences deserve extraordinary art. And, we believe, engaging with these unique audiences with rigour, curiosity and joy produces extraordinary art.

Photos from the show Groove showing the performers interacting with children inside a tent. The performers wear brightly coloured clothes. Children sit on large beanbags. Colourful patterns are projected onto the walls of the tent.

The Network's latest project, Groove, is a chilled out adventure for children with complex needs, full of harmony singing and immersive video.

The Network Members are: Hawk’s Well Theatre Sligo, Roscommon Arts Centre, An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny, The Riverbank Arts Centre Newbridge, Draiocht Arts Centre Balnchardstwon, Civic Theatre Tallaght, The Mermaid Arts Centre Bray, Limetree Theatre Limerick and Anna Newell.
Supported by The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.