Rachel Tynan graduated from the National College of Art and Design (BA Art and Design Education) in 2009. Her Masters degree in Design examined the effects illness has on the human body through textile, sculpture and body art. A solo exhibition Cut Throat at The Lab (2012) pushed her work beyond the fixed manifestations of installation with an explorative dance performance which further explored the experience of living with an illness. Rachel is Fireflies artist in residence at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, Dublin. www.racheltynan.ie
Joanna Williams is the Artistic Director of Little Bigtop, a theatre company based in Tipperary which makes work specifically for children. She established Little Bigtop in 2002 and has over 20 years experience in circus, visual theatre and street performance. Joanna creates and performs in all of Little Bigtop’s shows, teaches circus skills in the circus club and creates and leads the company’s participatory projects. Joanna is the director of Helium’s Jack and Jill Project. www.littlebigtop.info
Musician (uilleann pipes and whistles), educator, and researcher, Thomas Johnston’s work lies between music education research and practice, Irish traditional music, community music and performing arts for children and young audiences. Thomas has worked with a number of organisations in the area of music for young children including Common Ground, Early Childhood Ireland, The Ark, Learning Hub Limerick, Beyond the Bark, Púca Puppets and Arad Goch Theatre (Wales). Thomas is a performer on the Jack and Jill Project.
Niamh Lawlor is a founder of Púca Puppets and its Artistic Director since 1997. With a Bachelor of Design from NCAD and a Masters in Theatre Direction from the University of Hull, she has extensive experience as a maker, performer, director and designer for Púca and other theatre companies (including Team, The Ark, Wide Open Opera). Niamh is a performer on the Jack and Jill Project. www.pucapuppets.com
Siobhán Clancy’s practice explores models of socialization that impact on individual wellbeing in contexts of health, disability, education and young people. She has been awarded residencies with ‘Art at Work’ (2010), Helium (Puppet Portal Project 2009-2011) and Disposable Film Festival, USA (2012). She completed an MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism at NUIM in 2013. Siobhán has been lead artist mentor on Helium’s Two Suitcases Project since 2012.
Ben Murnane is a writer and editor. He obtained a Doctorate from the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, in 2016. He is the author of three books, all published by A & A Farmar: Two in a Million, a memoir of life with a rare genetic disease, Fanconi anaemia; Dublin on a Shoestring (with Katherine Farmar), a guidebook; and Feather Silence, a collection of poetry. He is a script mentor on the Two Suitcases Project and writer/director, with Emma Eager, of Two Suitcases, the pilot film on the project. http://benmurnane.com/