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About ALâ


ALâ Participatory Theatre was established in 2004 to provide people with the opportunity to develop their acting, technical and facilitation skills.
ALâ  is a fully inclusive personal, social and community development organization, catering for adults of all abilities, nationalities and ethnic groups. It is a registered charity run by its members.


ALâ is made up two groups – Ballybane Community Workshops and Theatre for Change.



The founders recognised that there was little opportunity for many people i n communities to participate in theatre without developing such skills. They decided to set up, not a theatre company, but a group that allowed anyone to join and bring their own original stories to create improvisations. This gave people the opportunity to learn skills and get experience in a fun, nurturing environment.

The arts can have a powerful and positive influence in many aspects of our lives in terms of the personal, community and social development while being a lot of fun. Art and artistic expression defines how we see ourselves, and helps us understand who we are. It expresses our hopes aspirations and vision of what we might become. Through challenging our members to be the best they can be as actors, it increases not alone their artistic ability but also their confidence and self-esteem. In this respect it is rewarding to see many of our previous members progress to mainstream theatre, film and other aspects of performing arts.

The importance of establishing community led rather than artist led projects is stressed by ALâ. In the first instance they are owned by the community rather than externally. Community led projects are, more likely to be, sustainable as “Artist in the Community” type schemes generally last only as long as the funding for those projects is available, often leaving no lasting benefit to the community.

On the other hand participatory arts projects are, in many cases, largely funded by the community. ALâ raise over 50% of its income through its own efforts and contract artists to facilitate their chosen projects. In this way the arts activity responds to the perceived needs of the community rather than what the arts sector think they need. ALâ has since 2004 continuously expanded. So much so ALâ has established two divisions, Community Workshop and Outreach & Training each with its own committee and coordinator reporting to the Managing Committee.



Here are some of the awards we have won:

2009 ALâ won the JCI
2009 Connacht Tribune/Combined Insurance, “Make it Happen” award
2010 Mayors Award, Nominated for the on a number of occasions before winning it in 2010
2013/14/15 Nominated for the AONTAS Star awards a number of times, short listed last 2 years before winning it in 2015

Other Community Involvement:
As a member of Galway City Community Forum (G.C.C.F) we worked on the development of the Galway City Arts Strategy. In 2011, GCCF organised a concert on February 17 to celebrate World Community Arts Day for the first time in Galway. We had a wonderful line up on the night of the concert, Galway Community Circus, NUIG Trad Soc, ALâ, Tribal Chamber Choir and music from Sean agus Nua. World Community Arts Day (WCAD) 2012- the Galway City Community Forum (GCCF) organised workshops for adults and young people with support from Westside Community Development Project and Ballybane & Mervue Local Community Development Office. ALâ worked with two groups of NUIG business students this year which helped them develop a project each. We also promoted ALâ at the NUIG Student Volunteer Fair.[/show_more]