Latest Laois Event: Free Bealtaine event sees artist training for older Laois people

Latest Laois Event: Free Bealtaine event sees artist training for older Laois people

Laois County Council Arts Office hosting Free Artist Training

The Arts Office of Laois County Council is hosting a Free Artist Training Session with Sarah Thornton. The session runs from 11am – 4pm in Dunamaise Arts Centre on Wednesday 17th May as part of Bealtaine Festival. Bealtaine is Ireland’s national festival which celebrates the arts and creativity as we age.

The Artists training session will focus on understanding and delivering best practice when working creatively with older people.  It will share ideas drawn from the latest research and practice in the fields of ageing creatively, arts and health, and socially engaged arts. It will incorporate peer learning as well as opportunities for networking and sharing practice. Training will involve practical and creative exercises, discussions and resources.

This training is suitable to anyone currently working through the arts with older people and to other artists who are interested to explore if working in a socially engaged way with older people is for them. 

The training session is led by Sarah Thornton. As Artistic Director of Collective Encounters Sarah spearheaded creative ageing practice in Merseyside for fifteen years. She initiated the first Third Age Theatre company in the North West of England, ran multi-disciplinary arts and health projects in care home, hospital and community settings, developed innovative arts-based training for carers and health care professionals to embed creativity in their daily practice, specialised in living well and creatively with dementia and led training and masterclasses for artists working with older people. Collective Encounters work with older people was commended in Baring Foundation’s publication After You Are Two: Exemplary Practice in Participatory Arts with Older People; and the company was commissioned by Liverpool City Council to host and curate their first Arts & Older People convention. Sarah was chair of the UK’s national network for participatory arts and established a national Centre for Excellence in Participatory Theatre. Sarah is currently working in the Midlands of Ireland as a freelance artist and consultant.

Photo: Sarah Thornton  – Workshop Facilitator

Limited spaces and booking is essential. To book a place on the Dunamaise Arts Centre website – or phone the box office:  057 866 3355

Full Laois Bealtaine 2023 programme can be found here on

For further information about Laois Bealtaine Festival events: Email: or ring 057 868 9386