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The Bedmaker - Public Version

Artist Name(s) Helene Hugel
Artwork title The Bedmaker - Public Version
Context/Background The Bedmaker is a playful and sensitive show for a very, very small audience sitting in a very, very big bed. The performance was 45 minutes and included a ten minute art session at the end.
The Bedmaker was devised by Helene Hugel, directed by Kareen Pennefather, with music by Diarmuid MacDiarmada.


The Bedmaker evolved through creative play with children and explores the bed as a performing landscape, using clowning, storytelling and puppetry. It was developed by Helene Hugel to inspire children to recreate their bed space through their imagination.

This is the public version of a performance which was originally developed for children in hospital. In transferring the experience to the public, the artist has endeavoured to maintain the quality of the audience-performer relationship she developed while working with children in hospital. This relationship includes time for spontaneity, space for the child's voice, and opportunities for responding to the child.

Children from Our Ladys Hospital for Sick Children Crumlin and Daisychain Playgroup influenced the making of the final productions. The show was also developed with input and expertise from the IPPA, The Early Years Organisation.

The hospital version of The Bedmaker was resident one day a week in The National Children's Hospital Tallaght for five months, supported by The Arts Office of the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, incorporating The National Children's Hospital, and financially supported by South Dublin County Council's Arts Office. It has since visited children in hospital around the country.

The public version of The Bedmaker premiered in Garter Lane Arts Centre, Wexford, in January 2008. It has appeared in the Belfast Children's Festival (2008), and this year in the Sticky Fingers International Children's Festival, Clonmel's Junction Festival, and the Kilkenny Arts Festival. It continues to tour.


Helene Hugel is a puppeteer, performer, and arts and health practitioner, with a qualification in hospital play specialism. She began her professional career as a puppeteer in 1997 as co-founder and partner of the award winning Puca Puppets.  She now specialises in the dynamic field of art and health and regards the healthcare setting as a platform to develop new work for children. Helene is supported by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland in her development of a new arts and health company for children called Helium. She currently works alongside Helium's growing and talented team of artists-in-residence across health centres and hospitals in Ireland. Helium's service is participatory and collaborative, connecting children, their families, friends, and healthcare staff on creative common ground to achieve goals, which might otherwise be far more difficult.

Commission Type The Arts Council
Commissioning process Self initiated
Project commission dates March 1, 2008 - January 1, 2009
Partners Monkeyshine Theatre and Tallaght Community Arts
Artform Theatre
Art Practice Arts and health
Funded By The Arts Council
Budget Range 10000 - 30000 euro
Project commission start date 01/03/2008
Project commission end date 01/01/2009
Location Touring various art venues
County Dublin
Town Various
Content contributor(s) Helene Hugel
Relationship to project Deviser/ Performer
Public engagement

Children in hospital
Children in creche

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Kareen Pennefather, Director
Diarmuid MacDiarmada, Musician
Bed Designed by The Wedge Furniture Makers