Arrival at the school is no less than 2 hours in advance of the first show time. The show is available throughout the year.
An ideal audience size is around 250 to 350 students. A sound system is provided. Performances can take place at floor level if the audience is seated on the floor. If the audience is seated in chairs, a stage will be needed.
Program curriculum integration materials will be made available one month prior to the show date.
Contact information for John McHugh:
Phone: (H) 919-846-2624
In the 1980's John attended Irish Heritage summer study programs at Elkins College in West Virginia. Studies included the uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes), tin whistle, Irish step dance, and traditional Irish songs. Storytelling was developed through an ongoing course taken at the Carrboro NC Arts Center. With travel in Ireland, John has developed his understanding of Irish culture first hand.
Originally John's artistic career began with attendance at the NC State University School of Design where he developed an interest in traditional circus design. He used design skills to gain a spot in the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Clown College. What followed was a 5 year career on the Circus during the 103rd-107th editions. This formed the basis of a theatrical career which has always included humor.
For 15 years beginning in 1993 John played the uilleann pipes, tinwhistle and anglo concertina with the band Celtic Jam. He used design skills for the Celtic art on the cover of the first cd. The 2nd cd was reviewed favorably by a national folk music magazine.
Through the years, John has performed a large number of corporate sponsored elementary school educational programs on a variety of beneficial themes to children, using puppetry and audience participation.
"John entertained the children with humorous puppets, inspiring magic tricks, songs and musical instruments as he told the folktales about the princess who wouldn't laugh, and the trickster leprechaun and the bag of coins. He acted in a very professional manner, and was well organized in his set-up and delivery."
-Sandra Stott Benavides
Music Specialist, Integrated Arts
Holt Elementary, Durham NC
"Actually some of the fifth grade students stopped me in the hallway to express to Mr. McHugh and myself how much they enjoyed the performance. It was a pleasure to have John McHugh perform at Glendale-Kenly."
Glendale-Kenly Elementary School
"Mr. McHugh kept in touch and sent his materials in a timely manner. I know I will keep the study guide for future reference. Mr. McHugh was very aware of our students and their needs. There was a time for interaction and the stories were just the right length. There were so many visual aids- instruments, puppets, etc. and the students really enjoyed seeing their peers and teachers on stage learning the irish jig!
Benson Elementary School, Benson NC
"The time allotted was perfect for our youngest students and they remained interested and on-task for the duration of the presentation. I would enthusiastically recommend Mr. McHugh to any other school that wants to provide a cultural experience to their students. He is a true professional and educator in every sense of the word. My students are still asking questions and referring to the wonderful program he presented at Southwest Elementary.
Southwest Elementary, Durham NC
Magical Ireland: Folk Tales and Music
Encounter the enchanted world of Irish wonders in this fast moving, humorous and interactive program designed as an introduction to Irish folk arts. Children use their imaginations to travel back in time to the mid 1800s aboard a model Irish immigrant ship of the time. An audience participation routine includes a song with anglo concertina accompaniment in which students are encouraged to sing along. Additionally there is a jig dance teach-in with students selected from the audience to come up on stage.
Traditional Irish folk tales are told, enhanced with the use of puppets and musical instruments. The puppets are intriguing for upper grade levels as well as the younger students. Featured in the program are the tin whistle and the uilleann pipes. This bagpipe form is the only musical instrument unique to Ireland. Celtic Art is introduced through a painting on the bodhran drum.
Above all the program is designed to be educational and fun for all of the grade levels of elementary school.