Sensory SongTales presents Lullaby Leaf
Ceol, most of you will know, is the Irish word for music. At Ceol Connected, we place music at the heart of what we do, composing and producing joyful music experiences for our youngest citizens. My name is Thomas Johnston, a traditional musician and theatre-maker, and Ceol Connected’s founder and Artistic Director.
I’m delighted to have this opportunity on World Down Syndrome Day to share some insights into our exciting Sensory SongTales presents Lullaby Leaf project that will take place this year in counties Monaghan, Cavan, Meath, Louth and Galway.
Over the last few years, Ceol Connected has been developing a strand of our work that we call Sensory SongTales. Sensory SongTales is the space where we work with exceptional artists and creatives to develop multi-sensory experiences for children with additional needs. Our work in this area has developed and deepened over the last four years with projects including Under the Wishing Tree, LEAF, Sounding the Senses, and multi-sensory versions of our A Winter Wish and TREEHOUSE touring productions.
In 2022, under our new Sensory SongTales strand, we are looking forward to presenting an immersive, inclusive and highly-participatory piece called Lullaby Leaf for children with Down Syndrome.
Across 36 performances in four counties – Monaghan, Cavan, Louth and Meath – our special guests can prepare for whooshing winds, gigantic raindrops, busy bugs, and bursts of colourful canopy in this fun-filled sensory experience. With the gentle unfurling of a leaf, a soothing sensory world will be brought to life through traditional music/song, light, smell, movement, and touch.
We are also delighted to bring Lullaby Leaf to Galway in partnership with Baboró International Arts Festival for Children.
"In 2022, under our new Sensory SongTales strand, we are looking forward to presenting an immersive, inclusive and highly participatory piece called Lullaby Leaf for children with Down Syndrome"
Lullaby Leaf: Where it all began
In 2019, Ceol Connected was delighted to work with Draíocht Arts Centre as Theatre Company in Residence to develop LEAF, a multi-sensory performance for children with complex needs funded by the Arts Council.
A core creative team comprised of myself, Orla Kelly (visual artist/facilitator), Joanna Williams (director) and Claire Crehan (musician/facilitator) developed, with Draíocht’s support, our new LEAF performance, specifically-designed for young children with complex needs.
At the heart of this process was our exploration of how multi-sensory experiences – sound, touch, taste, smell, light, movement – could be meaningfully embedded in a theatrical performance to most effectively engage children with complex needs.
In 2022, we look forward to revisiting our LEAF production to develop a piece specifically for children with Down Syndrome. An important part of this process will be our research and development phase which will take place in May/June and involve children and their families from across the four counties.
You can catch a little glimpse into our original LEAF production below.