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Ethan, Michael and Jamie Devin along with Abbie Curran from Newry are pictured at Narrow Water Castle for the highlight event  of the ‘Small size, big festival’, ‘Moon Dance’ an original musical and animated performance with a cast of giant dragons.Newry-based children’s arts company, Sticky Fingers surpassed all expectations attracting over 10,000 people to Newry for the four day long Small Size - Big Festival.

More than 300 delegates attended the four-day festival that was the finale of an exploratory programme which spanned more than five years and involved 12 different countries dedicated to performing arts in the early year’s sector. 

The festival was bursting with sell out performances, workshops, conferences and exhibitions, attracting over 10,000 people travelling from Dublin, Galway, Belfast and Derry to take part.

Chosen by ‘Small size’ UK to bid against Spain and Hungary for this event, Newry emerged as the chosen host city based on its ability to deliver world class access to the arts for children, primarily through Sticky Fingers, with very limited resources and infrastructure. 

Katie McEntee from Crossmaglen and Dragon Jazzy D are pictured at Narrow Water Castle for the highlight event  of the ‘Small size, big festival’, ‘Moon Dance’ an original musical and animated performance with a cast of giant dragons.The festival employed individuals and businesses from the local community, providing opportunities in performing arts, stewarding, lighting and carpeting to name a few.  Local hotels were fully booked throughout the course of the weekend, with restaurants, pubs, cafes and shops bustling with tourists creating a fantastic buzz throughout the city. 

Grainne Powell, Chief Executive, Sticky Fingers, said: “Overall, the Festival was a huge success attracting families from across Ireland to Newry who enjoyed a number of shows, workshops and exhibitions across the various venues. The highlight of the festival was the spectacular ‘Moon dance’, an original musical and animated performance with a cast of giant dragons in the beautiful grounds of Narrow Water Castle in Warrenpoint, both nights were completely sold-out with over 5,000 people at this event alone. Moon Dance received the highest reviews not only from families but from delegates who have extended an invitation to take the performance to France, Finland and Slovenia.” 


“Throughout the four days we truly showcased what Newry can do to make the arts accessible to children throughout Northern Ireland. Newry is now well and truly on the international culture map, with the process already started at EU level to established a new arts venue that is suitable for the entire community, as although the use of alternative space was successfully used the lack of infrastructure was identified by many international delegates highlighting the severe lack of resources placing children and the cultural sector at a disadvantage”.

Samuel, Ross and Elliot Burns from Newry are pictured at Narrow Water Castle for the highlight event  of the ‘Small size, big festival’, ‘Moon Dance’ an original musical and animated performance with a cast of giant dragons.Grainne Powell added: “We  cannot thank the people of Newry enough for coming together throughout the event and a special mention goes to JT Carpets who provided the space for a pop-up theatre welcoming hundreds of festival goers through their store along with the international theatre crews  setting up shows well after opening hours. The support of JT Carpets is a clear indication of the community support that the festival received, for the success of the Small size- big festival is not just Sticky Fingers but the collective input of the whole community of Newry.”

Funders for the festival included Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, An Chomhairle Ealaion, EU Culture Programme and Newry and Mourne District Council who helped make this festival possible.

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