Ready, Steady, SHOW! is The Civic’s Festival for Young Audiences. Earlier this year we invited some of the best practitioners in this field to come and play at The Civic and present their ideas and to apply for our Ready Steady SHOW! Commissions and Artist Development Programme. We are delighted to announce the recipients and are excited to work with them and support the development of their ideas as we find new and innovative ways of engaging and reimagining work for 0 – 12 year olds during COVID-19. 

According to Hannah Mullan, The Civic’s  Producer for Work for Young Audiences:
“I’m delighted to announce the commissioned artists for 2020’s Ready Steady SHOW! Each of them are highly experienced and innovative storytellers and creative thinkers. I am extremely excited to be working alongside this talented group of makers, to push the envelope and see what new possibilities lie ahead for our young audiences. Theatre as we know it has been changed by the Covid-19 crisis but the role of the arts as a transformational experience for our children and young people has never been so important.”

Please stay tuned to  our social media channels, website and blog as their artists share their developments over the coming months!


Mary- Lou McCarthy has been commissioned €15k for the development of her theatre piece ‘The Dead Letter Office’

Mary-Lou McCarthy is a theatre maker with almost a decade’s experience in making work for young audiences. As an actor and a writer, collaboration lies at the heart of her practice with the aim of creating work that is innovative, exciting and challenging. For her Ready Steady SHOW! commission she will develop her new work The Dead Letter Office. Currently aimed at ages 10+, this new play will explore the themes of friendship, displacement, loss and being lost.

According to Mary-Lou….
I’m delighted to have been offered this commission and to be part of the RSS programme. I will be using this wonderful opportunity to develop the story of “The Dead Letter Office”, a piece for young audiences that explores the theme of migration and considers what it is to be lost. I can’t wait to create this rich world with my collaborators and to share it with you all!


Katie Kelly and Osaro Azams  have been commissioned €2.5k for the development of their theatre piece “The Other World’’

Stories are made to be told. They are passed down from grandparents to grandchildren, stretching all the way back to when they were tiny little baby stories.
But what is a story? Why do we tell them? Why do we keep telling them?Discover The Other World, where old Irish mythology meets Nigerian folklore. A land of superstition where anyone can swim in the sea with Mami Wata, or howl with the banshee!  Developed by performance artist Osaro Azams and theatre maker Katie O’Kelly, The Other World invites children (8+) to come and explore a world of stories and magic.

According to Katie and Osaro….
‘The Ready, Steady, SHOW! programme is a vital lifeline in the early stages of creative development for young audiences. Not only does it provide the much-needed time for a little show idea to grow, it facilitates audience workshops and engagement, placing child participation at the core of the creative process from the outset. It is an exciting and enriching programme and I can’t wait to get started on our spooky tales!- Katie O’Kelly


Super Paua have been commissioned €2.5k for the development of their theatre piece through Stage 1 Lámh (Irish Sign Language)

Super Paua is a producing vehicle for audience-driven, socially empowered theatre projects with a focus on representing diverse communities and making work for young audiences.Previous projects include Aunty Ben, about a child whose uncle is a drag queen, and The Lonsdale Project, a play for teenagers about Irish-born crystallographer Kathleen Lonsdale. Super Paua are thrilled to partner with the Civic to develop a new piece of inclusive work for early years audiences as well as audiences with learning difficulties, speech delays or English as a second language.  Lámh ™ (the Irish equivalent of the UK’s Makaton), is a communication system which incorporates signing and speaking, and we will be integrating these signs into the piece, working with Lámh instructors to ensure the integrity of the signs.  Our process will explore stories suggested by the vocabulary of Stage 1 Lámh, combining these with theatrical storytelling methods to enhance understanding, as well as embracing and integrating inclusivity from the very beginning of the artistic process.

According to Super Paua……..
‘Super Paua are delighted to be part of the Ready, Steady, SHOW! programme, which we see as just bursting with potential for artists and audiences.  Even as seasoned theatre-makers, sometimes it’s daunting to make new work in an unfamiliar form, or to start a process which asks questions you don’t have the answer to.  Super Paua have wanted to explore work for early years for a while, but didn’t know exactly where to begin. Having the artistic support, community contacts and all the experience and knowledge of Civic Theatre’s Ready, Steady, SHOW! team is making our first foray into accessible, early years theatre feel exciting and empowering, rather than scary.’


A local group of artists have come together have been commissioned €4.5k for the development of a new creative play experience  ‘ At The Very Beginning’ 

Writer/Director CN Smith
Production Manager/Facilitator Sophie Coote
Performer/Facilitator Luke Dalton
Sound designer Martha Knight

At the Very Beginning is an interactive installation for young people, aimed at drawing the link between humanity and nature in bold, and giving an alternative story for all participants to add to the back of their minds. This story will be told through creative play, sound, and music, and will encourage you to think about what we came from.

A quote from the company on the commission……
‘We are so excited to be working with the Civic to develop a creative play station as part of Ready Steady Show! We’re really looking forward to working with this new form because we think it has a lot of potential, and we are excited for the young people we work with to influence and inspire the work. We’re really interested in telling this new story using new forms like sound work and play.’


Anna Newell has been commissioned €3.5k to reimagine her theatre piece BIGKIDLITTLEKID for our current climate under COVID-19

This wordless whimsical physical theatre adventure for audiences aged 3-6 years was created in 2019 funded by Arts Council Ireland and in co-production with the Civic (initial R&D funded by The Pavilion & The Mermaid Arts Centre in 2017).  It premiered at the Ark as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival’s international children’s programme. 

For the Ready Steady Show commission, Anna is taking the original musical score for the show (composed by David Goodall) and the two characters and exploring creating responsive semi-improvised pieces of theatre that will pop-up in a range of outdoor locations in South Dublin.  Absolutely committed to the live experience and to theatre that responds to its audience in the live moment, Anna’s ambition with this is to be able to remain true to the core values of her practice and, by re-imaginging this show within the restrictions of the current time, explore a new way of working, a new way of engaging, connecting, responding that is still very much ‘live’ and perhaps even, through these restrictions, find a whole new thing that wouldn’t have emerged otherwise. Necessity as the mother of invention.  Restriction as inspiration.  Keeping it live.  Always. 

According to Anna Newell……
“Since relocating to Bray four years ago, the Civic has been such a key partner and produces most of my work. I’m so delighted to be part of the team on RSS looking for ways to serve the Civic’s young audiences particularly in these strange new times.”

Please stay tuned to  our social media channels, website and blog as their artists share their developments over the coming months!

With Thanks to Arts Council Ireland and South Dublin County Council