Clean Reader’s blue dots do the censor’s job on sundry saucy classics

Aivis Kerans of Larkin Community College rehearsing for the students’ play, The Girl With No Name. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The Abbey’s Theatre-Making and Citizenship course has been piloted in an inner-city Dublin school, and the positive effects on s(...)

Connected: online book clubs and apps offer readers new ways to interact with each other and even with authors

Far from destroying reading, the internet is making it a more interactive experience

Review: Bake!

Paul Curley tuns a birthday party into something more chaotic with more than a hint of moral absurdity

Acrobats Emily Aoibheann and Elaine McCague (above, with Peter Corboy)  enliven the visual element of the show. Photograph: Patrick Redmond

This show for ages six and up broaches some important issues around identity and inclusion, but dramatically it feels embryonic

Noelle Brown and Iseult Casey in Monday’s Child. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

A party where children can ponder life’s big questions

Disruptively dozy digital reading can be hazardous to your health

Artist Helen Barry works with young children at Wee Care

Before children become literate, music, painting, crafts and drama can give them powerful tools for communication and development (...)

From left, Deborah Treisman; Paul Muldoon; director of the Arts Council Orlaith McBride (not on the selection panel); Paula Meehan; Siobhán Parkinson; Juan Gabriel Vásquez; and Blake Morrison

Passionate, relentlessly energetic and possessing a collegial focus: ahead of the announcement of the inaugural laureate in The Ir(...)

King’s popularity ensured the technological experiment would be a success. Photograph: Stacey Cramp/The New York Times

Stephen King was the first writer to embrace the medium

A Quentin Blake illustration in Roald Dahl’s The Twits

Illustrations are a touchstone of children’s literature. Here is a potted guide to the artists behind some of the best-loved stori(...)

Elf Factory: offers early-years audiences an opportunity to enter Santa’s workshop

Three- and four-year-olds give Santa a dig-out in this charming show

The dastardly Captain Hook (Nicholas Grennell)

The baddies are the swashbuckling heroes in this terrific, lavish production

Composer Brian Irvine

Sniffs and snuffles are welcome at this lively classical concert for kids

Sleeping Beauty: a refreshing antidote to some of the more commercial children’s entertainment on offer at Christmas

A commercial-free experience makes for a lovely, old-fashioned day out

As Consumpta and Concepta Carcrashian, Eoin Cannon and Aidan Mannion get all the best lines. Photograph: Conor McCabe Photography

Consumpta and Concepta Carcrashian steal the show in this Theatreworx remix

Motion comics combine animated panels with sound and video

Rachel Joyce: “Once I had the idea of seeing things from Queenie’s point of view, it wouldn’t leave me. I wouldn’t say the book just came to me in the writing, but I found she had so much to say.”

A pilgrimage to a hospice was the unusual theme of Rachel Joyce’s Booker-longlisted debut novel – but readers wouldn’t let her l(...)

A soldier’s story: ‘On the Wire’ at The Sailor’s Home on O’Curry Street in Limerick focuses on the life of an Irish soldier who comes back from the first World War to find a very different Ireland

Play dramatises the untold stories of Irish soldiers coming home from the first World War

David Nicholls has faced the crippling anxiety of writer’s block

Authors David Nicholls and Zadie Smith have both had to fight temptations of internet

David Mitchell: ‘I wanted to put a lot of things into my books  . . . gluing shorter novellas together was the only structure that lets me do that.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

The writer’s labyrinthine novels marry experimental narrative techniques with plot twists drawn from sci-fi and fantasy. In person(...)

Julia Donaldson. ‘Parents often tell me that they sing the books rather than read them aloud.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Live performance is an integral part of the work of the former children’s laureate, who tours with her stories and songs as part o(...)

Oliver Jeffers: ‘There is a certain sense of humour in my art that you might not find in the picture books, and a sweetness in the picture books that you will probably find lacking in the art.’ Photograph: Malcolm Brown

The Belfast writer and artist’s well-loved picture books have given him a public profile that has aided his success in fine-art ci(...)

The Way Back Home, Branar’s ambitious stage version of Oliver Jeffers’s beautiful picture book

It’s not unusual to find our best theatrical talent working in children’s theatre, and given the calibre of the work there’s littl(...)

The Victorian atmosphere of The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy

In this rite-of-passage play, a boy made of cheese becomes a man

Official e-textbooks are working out pretty heavy on the pocket, too. But alternatives are evolving both here and in Britain

Oliver Jeffers’ book jumps off the page and into space in this beautiful stage adaptation

Review: A Mano

This children’s show creates a concentrated beauty from almost nothing

The Way Back Home: Branar’s new show is based on an Oliver Jeffers picture book

Is there a future beyond the local community for plays in Irish? A new generation of theatremakers are finding out

Verbal pyrotechnics: Mark O’Rowe. Photograph: Alan Betson

The plays of the ‘Howie the Rookie’ writer are dark, complex affairs. With his new work, ‘Our Few and Evil Days’, about to open at(...)

Ross Dungan had success in the Edinburgh Fringe as a performer but hated every moment – the switch to writing hasn’t harmed his ca(...)

This year’s Show in a Bag offerings include Noni Stapleton’s Charolais

The Show in a Bag series is one of the strongest facets in the Tiger Dublin Fringe. So what’s the secret of its theatrical success(...)

Found in translation: a self-portrait by Tove Jansson, author of The Summer Book. Photograph:

There is something pleasingly arbitrary about the subscription approach to literature in translation

Shaun Dunne: coming from a place of truth. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The theatre’s outreach programme made Shaun Dunne an actor at 11. Now he’s back with his own play

Director Róisín McBrinn

Director Róisín McBrinn believes, like Shaw, that theatre changes lives

Artistic touch: Jenny Wallblom and her children, Lois and Milo Humphries, exploring Propositions at Imma. Photograph: Frank Miller

Imma’s touchy-feely retrospective of the work of Hélio Oiticica is an ideal place to introduce curious toddlers to the world of ar(...)

Billy Collins: ‘It is like an eye chart, with its big E at the top, and the letters getting less legible as it moves along. A poem should be like that’

The former US poet laureate believes in bringing poetry to the widest possible audience. Some critics have found his poetry to be (...)

Harper Lee: after years of resistance from her, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was published for Kindle by HarperCollins last month. Photograph:  Chip Somodevilla/Getty

According to Harper Lee 'some things should happen on soft pages not cold metal'. Her dissenting voice is one of many as digitisat(...)

Jessie Burton: “People think actors are narcissistic but writing is the more egotistical, because you are all the characters.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Seeing a doll’s house in Amsterdam prompted Jessie Burton to examine, in her novel ‘The Miniaturist’, the confined circumstances o(...)

Herman Koch: ‘When I started writing it was a question for me, too: how far would  I go along with the character? How far would he go?’ Photograph: Alan Betson

Herman Koch specialises in vile characters. The protagonist of ‘The Dinner’ revealed his depravity over a gourmet meal. His new no(...)

The five poets shortlisted for The Irish Times Poetry Now award are, clockwise from top left,  Nick Laird, Conor O’Callaghan, Tara Bergin, Billy Ramsell and Sinéad Morrissey

Contemporary Irish poetry is doing well, as the breadth of work up for the Irish Times Poetry Now award demonstrates

Eleanor Bermingham with her son Mikey and their dog Ralf  near their home in Citywest Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Theatres and cinemas have responded to the call for special screenings and relaxed performances

Samuel Beckett Summer School runs at Trinity College Dublin in August

Schools that focus on trad music, Irish dance, Beckett, Joyce, Parnell, Yeats and public policy should keep adults of all stripes (...)

Family drama: John Kavanagh and Tadhg Murphy. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

John Kavanagh played Casimir in the first production of Aristocrats in 1979, a role Tadhg Murphy now inherits. They discuss the ro(...)

Margaret Atwood: brave commitment to exploring contemporary issues. Photograph: Damon Winter/New York Times

Those doomsayers predicting the death of the book need look no further than Wattpad for confirmation of the power of fiction in th(...)

The Hugglewug way: Henry Hugglemonster

Niamh Sharkey’s delightful picture book ‘I’m a Happy Hugglewug’ has led to the hit Disney series ‘Henry Hugglemonster’ – and to a (...)

West Side Story: the cast of this revival by Joey McKneely succeed in reproducing original choreographer Jerry Robbins’s movement with precision
West Side Story

There are some breathtaking moments in the choreographed fight scenes but vocal performances are nowhere near as strong

A True Tall Tale: a deeply sensory experience. Photograph: Bo Amstrup
A True Tall Tale

A dark Danish fairy tale for ages eight and up that reveals its inner workings

Camille O’Sullivan: gives a hypnotic performance
The rape of Lucrece

Camille O’Sullivan gives the wronged Lucrece a powerful voice as Shakespeare’s text is condensed into 12 songs

The Hanging Gardens

Frank McGuinness’s new play gives a glimpse of the pathology of the Irish patriarch and how its roots thrive despite the poison (...)


This show for children keeps adult meddling to a minimum by keeping them out of the show

The Critic

It has terrific comic performances, put a number of competing angles bring confusion rather than clarity to this show

Feast of Bones

If they pay attention, this show will satisfy even the hungriest of audiences

This emotionally affecting portrait of a teenage carer uses a single story to tell a devastating broader truth

The Events

The Events is complex study of how a mass shooting affects a community and individuals

Mette Rosleff commands the full attention of her young audience
Little Steps

A calm, gentle performance delivers an exquisite production that puts its young audience first

Maeve’s House

Eamon Morrissey’s New York encounter with Maeve Brennan forms the basis of this show, and it struggles to escape its source mater(...)

Winners and Losers

It’s not difficult to take sides in this ambiguous show

Animus brings a cinematic type of Gothic horror on to the stage

A fascinating, if underdeveloped glimpse into one of Dublin’s many secrets

Beauty in dereliction

Beckett’s words sing with contemporary relevance in this new production

This detective story refuses any neat endings – to great effect

Gonzo Theatre’s production is sharp and committed but can’t match the scale of its ambition

My Holiday Reading: Maureen Kennelly
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  • September 7, 2013, 01:00

Terrific ensemble piece: Susan McFadden, Oliver Savile, Alicia Beck and Paul Monaghan in  Cats. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The Lloyd Webber musical is best embraced with a child’s willingness to accept the stunning weirdness of this feline underworld

The book show presenter likes to take a spiritual journey

New habits: there are many ways, and places, in which to read an ebook. Photograph: Will Ireland/Future Publishing via Getty Images

How the rise of digital devices has given the short story a shot in the arm

Photograph: Louisa Cameron

Driving to Maine, the bookseller was captivated by Stephen King’s new novel

Eleanor Methven and Marty Rea in Major Barbara. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

An exploration of the perceived morality of extreme positions pits religious idealism against pragmatic realism within a single fa(...)

Being an artist can be difficult, but being an artist and a mother creates extra challenges

Clare Dunne and Paul McGann in the Abbey Theatre’s Major Barbara. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

George Bernard Shaw did not always fit in with post-independence Ireland and the National Theatre but ‘Major Barbara’ continues a (...)

Actors Lloyd Cooney, Eric O’Brien, Bairdre Ní Aodha and Laura Murray in a tenement house in Henrietta Street, Dublin’s inner city. Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

An interactive show to mark the 1913 Lockout is taking place in what was once a grand house but later became a tenement

Stunning performances from the ensemble cast ensure that A Streetcar Named Desire retains its full emotional power. Catherine Walker and Garrett Lombard star as Stella and Stanley Kowalski

What makes the lead performances so compelling in this version of ‘Streetcar’ is that each actor subtly plays their character agai(...)

The musical based on John Waters’s 1988 film is frothy but has a social message

My Holiday Reading

Jessica McCarry is a librarian with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Libraries

E-version of spy classic may send you climbing back up to print

Alakazam, Irish Times Critic’s Choice winner, at the Street Performance World Championships in Dublin at the weekend. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The Street Performance World Championships at Merrion Square showcased the thrills – and inherent risks – of the form

Rosemary Collier, director of The Kilkenny Arts Festival, with members of Macnas. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Four arts festival directors share their thoughts on what makes a great festival and recount their toughest challenges

Paul Lynch: "I had become fixated. What started as a pleasant dip on the plane quickly turned into mania."

In Athens with Roberto Bolano’s ‘2666’

Elisha Willis as Giselle. Photograph:  Bill Cooper

Giselle is not the most technical of ballets, but its spectacle, as realised in this fine production, is hard to match

Scenes from Galway Arts Festival and Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre’s co-production of The Rite of Spring/ Petrushka. Photograph: Colm Hogan

Michael Keegan-Dolan and his dance company Fabulous Beast brought an epic vision to ‘Giselle’. Now he is taking on Stravinsky

Elaine Murphy on the set of Shush: ‘The audience will change everything. They will teach you more about the play than anything you could ever learn in rehearsals or in a room on your own writing.’ Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Elaine Murphy’s ‘Little Gem’ was a slow-burning success, and now her second play, ‘Shush’, is set to premiere on the Abbey’s main (...)

Actor Tom Vaughan Lawlor. Photograph: Eric Luke

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor is going back to his criminal roots for ‘Howie the Rookie’, but this solo show is a world away from Nidge and h(...)

Sara Keating borrows some ebooks from her local library

Big role: Declan Conlon in An Enemy of the People. Photograph: Peter Rowen

Declan Conlon’s career got off to a wobbly start, but now, as he begins a run of Arthur Miller’s version of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enem(...)

The beautiful and the damned: F Scott FitzGerald with his wife, Zelda, around 1935. Photograph: Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty

F Scott FitzGerald’s funeral had a meagre attandance, but his novel grew a reputation that can’t be overshadowed by Baz Luhrmann’s(...)

True love: Cary Elwes and Robin Wright in Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride

Few things inspire children more than movies, so what are the favourite childhood films of actors, directors and producers at the (...)

Everything else pales in comparison to Tero Saarinen’s astounding Hunt

The senior orchestra at Newpark Music Centre in Dublin has a membership of 30

Senior orchestras are springing up around the country, with plenty of healthy benefits

Swipe first: with just one glance a child becomes master of the touch-screen universe, but what impact does that have on reading? Photograph: Joakim Leroy/E+/Getty

Sara Keating looks at the latest ebooks for children

Pride of place: Carol Stennett as Nala (left) and Nicholas Nkuna as Simba in ‘The Lion King’ at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The musical beast reaches Ireland

Alan Delmar’s Dismantlement uses humour to reflect upon male sexual identity

You can’t legislate for an audience’s reaction, which is the fire in the belly of the Live Collision festival

A different kind of beast: the interactive Frankenstein, by Dave Morris

The latest from the world of ebooks

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