The Network for Extraordinary Audiences

Network for Extraordinary Audiences logo graphic

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

An Grianán is one of seven Irish venues who are part of The Network for Extraordinary Audiences. Member venues are committed to 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.

I Am Baba, early years show for babies
I Am Baba, an early years show for babies.

An Grianán’s director Patricia McBride explains why we became part of the network: “We wanted to continue our relationship with Anna Newell and her work for early years audiences, having already successfully hosted the excellent I Am Baba and Baby’s First Christmas. This work is really important in the delivery of An Grianán’s strategic aim of centering the theatre at the heart of our community and increasing accessibility. The work allows us to engage with audiences from a very young age.

“Also Anna’s projects have the charm and entertainment value to attract the parents and wider family circle of the target audience. The continuity and consistent touring of creative work from Anna and her team through the Network of Extraordinary Audiences allows us the opportunity to create a long term relationship between the work and our audience as well as allowing us to build new partnerships with schools and nurseries.”

Above: Groove was one of our more recent shows through the network. It was performed off site at St Bernadette’s Special School in June 2021.

The Network for Extraordinary Audiences was initially a formalisation of Anna Newell’s relationships with the seven member 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.

The set for Anna Newell's show for babies, Shimmer, coming in Autumn 2021.
The set for Anna Newell’s show for babies, Shimmer, coming in Autumn 2021.

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.

The Network for Extraordinary Audiences

An Grianán Theatre
Civic Theatre
Hawkswell Theatre
Mermaid Arts Centre
Riverbank Arts Centre
Roscommon Arts Centre

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