The Picture Book: A Twilight Fairy Tale
Redmoon Theatre Company, Chicago

This commission was made possible by the pooling of Per Cent for Art monies from Housing schemes in the Stranorlar/Ballybofey area. The commission was part of the county’s Context-Specific strand of its public art policy and strategy, ‘Making Shapes Public Art in Donegal, 2006 – 2010’. The Redmoon Company were selected from a national and international open competition for proposals from artists from a range of disciplines (from children’s theatre, to community arts, carnival, literature, film, animation etc). Size: 10m by 10m approx. Temporary Illumination.

Illuminated Animation projected in the open air onto the exterior glass facade of The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal.. Illuminated Animation is a Redmoon performance technique of delivering the atmosphere and mood of a story through grand shadow imagery, illumination techniques, and space transformation. Performers animate silhouette puppets on overhead projectors and these images are then magnified at large scale onto screens. The most interesting component of this work is its ability to transform space. The screens were hung in the windows of Balor Arts Centre transforming its façade while the audience watched from the outside.

The outcome was surprising, immersive, and delightful for audiences. Location: Local Schools and The façade of The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal. The innovative arts project was based upon the themes of Frances Browne, the ‘blind poetess of Stranolar’ and her famous book of fairy tales for children, ‘Granny’s Wonderful Chair’. Over the course of four weeks Redmoon artists worked with over ninety students from St Mary’s N.S., Robertson N.S., Scoil Naisiunta Seiseadh Ui Neill to create original animations using silhouette images inspired by the classic fairytales of Frances Browne. Each school authored, produced and perform an Illuminated Animation, which featured one chapter from Grannies Wonderful Chair. Accompanied by a choral performance by the Earagail Singers, these animations were projected on the façade of the Balor Arts Center, turning the building into an illuminated screen at an open air festival launch of the Earagail Arts Festival in Ballybofey on July 3rd 2010.

photo of the facade of The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey photo of the projection photo of the projection withpeople standing beside the screen
photo of the kids making characters for the picture book photo of camera view finder recording the picture book

Biography of artist

The Redmoon Company, Chicago

Redmoon was founded in 1989 in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. Redmoon has won national acclaim as the USA’s leading creator of spectacle theater -- a highly visual and inventive theater style that embraces the act of transformation through pageantry, puppetry, contraption-type mechanical objects, robust physical movement, and surprising use of scale and special effects. Using this unique visual language, Redmoon transforms streets and stages into places of public celebration, capable of speaking across cultural, ethnic, and generational boundaries. Building community through the creation of art is at the heart of Redmoon’s nationally recognized Neighborhood Arts Program. Artist-educators use the tools of spectacle theater to engage in deep collaboration with community groups and youth with limited access to arts programming and arts education. Programs include Dramagirls, an arts-based mentorship program for middle-school girls, the Redmoon School Partnership Program, which delivers a unique spectacle-based arts curriculum to Audubon Elementary school in Roscoe Village, an intensive Build Shop Internship for emerging artists, as well as innovative production-based community collaborations designed to include audiences and communities as authors and artists.

Other Notes: Frances Browne

Frances Browne, known as the ‘blind poetess of Donegal’ was born in Stranorlar in 1816 to a large family. Her poems were published in papers and magazines such as the Northern Whig, Irish Penny Journal and Hood’s Magazine. She went to Edinburgh in 1847, moving to London in 1852 where she died in 1879. Her best remembered work today is ‘Granny’s wonderful chair and other tales of fairy times’. In the book, there are seven stories, based around the magical world of the little girl Snowflower