Baboró children’s festival director to leave post

Lali Morris to leave after 14 years with recruitment of a replacement to start in November

Baboró international children’s arts festival artistic director Lali Morris has decided to step down from the post after 14 years.

Ms Morris,who has programmed this year's festival opening in Galway on October 11th, intends to "pursue and develop her own creative projects with colleagues in Ireland and abroad", her festival board has said in a statement.

The Baboró board intends to begin recruitment of a new executive artistic director in November, with an appointment expected in early Spring 2015.

Paying tribute to Ms Morris last night, Galway arts festival artistic director Paul Fahy said she had an "unrivalled dedication" to providing arts for children from an early age, and had a "total commitment" to support artists.


Ms Morris trained in her native Chicago in the US as an educator, drama specialist and drama teacher. Her association with Baboró dates back to when it was part of the Galway Arts Festival, and she served as its guest director for three years.

She built an international reputation for the festival when it became a stand-alone event, attracting children’s artists, dramatists and educationalists from all over the world.

She was a firm advocate of writer Philip Pullman’s philosophy that children “need to go to the theatre as much as they need to run about in the fresh air”.

“The difficulty with persuading grown-up people about this is that if you deprive children of shelter and kindness and food and drink and exercise, they die visibly,” Pullman had said in 2004.

"Kids appreciate beauty, silence, the small things," Ms Morris told The Irish Times, stressing that young audiences needed more than pantomimes.

“ And there is beautiful work being created for children,” she said. “We have all thoroughly enjoyed working with Lali, and wish her every success in the future as she pursues a freelance career underpinned by her commitment to the arts for children and young people,” Baboró interim chair Sybil Curley said in a statement.

“We will always be indebted to her for her contributions to Baboró and indeed to her immeasurable contribution to the wider artistic community, both here at home and internationally,”she said, adding that the festival was developing a new strategic plan for 2015 to 2019.

“To ensure a seamless changeover, Lali has programmed most of the 2015 festival and will be available to work with the new executive artistic director during the period of transition,”the statement said.

An exhibition inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, entitled Citizens of the World, Now, has already opened in Galway as part of the lead-up to this year's Baboró programme, which runs from October 11th to 19th.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times