"We thrive on the excitement of live performance and seeing our ideas grow into shows that are enjoyed by audiences young and old."


Monkeyshine Theatre was started by Kareen Pennefather and a group of university friends in 1999. Since then there has been quite a journey both creatively and geographically.

Initially a street theatre company creating interactive impromptu theatre on the streets of Northern Ireland, Monkeyshine soon began to develop characters whose stories needed to be told and so, organically, shows began to develop.

In 2004 James Jobson joined Monkeyshine Theatre. The company moved to the south of Ireland and began to establish a strong reputation as a pioneer in children’s theatre.



"Theatre is what we do all the time, it’s our love our life and our passion."

We see theatre as an adventure following inspiration where it leads us. We delve into our imaginations with playful gusto. Our work is inspired by the quirks of human nature, the rhythms of the natural world and the universal themes of life that connect us all.

We are storytellers at heart, intrigued by the timeless structures of celebration and ritual, and the depth of myths and legends. We work as an ever-changing ensemble of artists, telling stories, making music, building sets, sewing costumes and crafting our very own brand of theatre.

Since the early days of the company we have been fascinated by the possibilities of re-imagining the world around us. We gather ideas from the beauty of nature, from objects found at bric-a-brac stalls, from the forgotten and the discarded to the treasured and the celebrated.

We delight in creating vibrant, powerful, soulful and playful theatre. We thrive on the excitement of live performance and seeing our ideas grow into shows that are enjoyed by audiences’ young and old.

We make theatre for the whole tribe. So whether you are a child, a parent, a grandparent, or simply a person, Monkeyshine makes theatre for you.

Today we are based in the beautiful landscape of Co Kilkenny, surrounded by an enriching and dynamic community.

We make our theatre locally and tour it nationally and internationally.


Monkeyshine People


"We love telling stories, making music, creating puppets, building sets and sewing costumes. Crafting our very own brand of theatre."


Kareen Pennefather

Joint Artistic Director

Kareen Pennefather was born in the highest market town in England and grew up with the remote north Pennines as her playground. She went to university on the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. In 1999, the day after handing in her theatre studies dissertation she started Monkeyshine Theatre with a group of friends.  She has lived on the island of Ireland ever since working almost exclusively for Monkeyshine.

Kareen is an actor, dancer, puppeteer, writer, and director.  She is passionate about the value of imagination and is always on the look out for opportunities to stimulate creativity. She is known nationally and internationally for her innovative and responsive work for young audiences.

Jim Jobson

Joint Artistic Director

Jim Jobson is an actor, designer and theatre maker, drawing on a rich and varied skill base. Jim was born in Dublin and grew up on a farm in Co. Wicklow. He has a great love and understanding of the natural world, which flows through his work. He studied Geology in Oxford Brookes University and has spent time living and working with gauchos on estancias in Argentina.

After studying with Song of the Goat, Poland, Forkbeard Fantasy U.K. and Zippos training circus in the U.K. Jim joined Monkeyshine Theatre in 2005 and is joint artistic director.

Jim is Monkeyshine’s lead designer as well as a regular performer and unofficial chef.

Hannah McCormick

Project Coordinator

Originally from Belfast, Hannah McCormick began her career as a theatre maker and performer in the North of England before her work took her back to Ireland and to Monkeyshine Theatre.

With a background in creating theatre for all generations, she has collaborated with artists in the UK and internationally. Her work in devising theatre won her the Swallows Foundation 2012 scholarship to South Africa, an opportunity to work in a diverse, multidisciplinary environment.

Having experienced many aspects of the theatre making process, from performance to administration, Hannah believes in bringing creativity and collaboration to all levels of theatre work.

Eoin Lynch

Associate Artist

Eoin is an Actor, puppeteer, theatre maker and facilitator. He studied European Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College. Eoin has travelled extensively to gain a stronger understanding of how puppetry and mask influence theatre and ritual in different cultures,  attending in-depth  workshops in India, Bali and Japan. Eoin has created a number of pieces of new work for young audiences.

Nicholas Kavanagh

Associate Artist

Nicholas is an actor, director and theatre maker. Born in Waterford City, he came up through the ranks of Waterford Youth Drama before studying Drama at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Nicholas works nationally and internationally, performing, writing, directing, teaching and developing new work both in theatre and street Arts. He is the Artistic Director of Moo Cow Productions.

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Kate Powell

Associate Artist

Kate started learning Suzuki violin at the age of three and has continued ever since. She has performed with a number of UK bands and has worked in theatre and film. Kate moved to Ireland in 1997 . She is a multi-instrumentalist and is most happy as an improviser, playing in the style of whatever is needed in any given context, be it in a cathedral, round a camp fire, or in a theatre.


 "We gather ideas from the world around us, from the beauty of nature, to treasures found on brica-a-brack stalls, from memories shared and time spent together."