Katie's Birthday Party

Written & performed by Mary-Frances Doherty


You are invited to celebrate Katie’s 12th birthday with her as she explores what it’s like to be 12 years old. Having just moved school but not quite a teenager yet, Katie reflects on times gone by and looks to the future and all it can be.


There will be truths, there will be dares, there will be presents and there will be cake!


Solo performer Mary-Frances Doherty explores notions of childhood on the approach of adolescence, looking at the trials and tribulations of what a young girl goes through in the change from primary school to secondary school – exams, results, new school, new friends and thoughts for the future.


Age Guidance: 10+

Running Time: Approx. 35 minutes



Available for touring! 

Full length video of the performance available on request

email or call (+44) 7505730883




'Internationally acclaimed solo performer, Mary-Frances Doherty

gives a remarkable and real performance of 12 year old Katie...

It was a real, raw and relatable production that every adolescent should

see to feel warranted, and every adult should see for nostalgia.'

Theatre Travels

'Mary-Frances Doherty is a Belfast performer who has come here (Australia)

to show 12-year-olds that their joys and sorrows are pretty much the same

all over the world...Fear of missing out and fear of being rejected by friends

is common to them all.'

The Barefoot Review

'Katie has learned there are rules to follow when life becomes painful,

as it does so often, and she shares her rules for being happy with the party-goers who are, by now, completely captivated by her.'

'...a very well written and crafted show with some very real and genuine moments of vulnerability that take us on a journey through being twelve years old

and all the things that come with it.'  

Radio 5mbs

'...Katie had, in fact woven her way into the hearts and lives of the audience...

It is, in essence what DreamBIG is about.'

Stage Whispers

Selected by the Children's Theatre Reviews as one of their

Top 10 Shows of 2016! 


'Katie's Birthday Party is a hugely relevant and relatable

account of a painful process, told with honesty and insight...

it is one of the best productions for young people I’ve ever seen' 


Children's Theatre Reviews

Selected as one of only 10 shows from the UK & Ireland to be presented at On The Edge: The World Festival of Theatre for Young Audiences & ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering in Birmingham 2016


'Katie’s Birthday Party is one of those rare pieces of theatre that taps into your subconscious and brings back memories that you worked hard to forget.

This gut punching production is a one woman show by the truly sensational

Mary-Frances Doherty'


News On The Edge 2016



'It’s during a game of Truth or Dare - entered into enthusiastically by her younger guests – that we discover more about Katie...As the game unfolds we begin to understand that Katie...is struggling with some private humiliations and crushing anxieties. Katie’s growing pains are emotional, and as the anchors of her early years are yanked out from beneath her she is forced to face the anguish of an unsteady present and an uncertain future.'


Edinburgh Guide



'Party poppers, girly pop songs and a joining-in game of Truth or Dare that gradually edges Katie’s Birthday Party from larky fun to a point of evident adolescent pain...Not even cake can compensate because of how

this solo hits a very real sore spot in growing up.'


The Herald Scotland



'Edgy glimpse into the big bad world...

in the form of an interactive birthday party.'


**** The Belfast Telegraph



‘It was amazing. 100%. 10 out of 10.'

'I felt part of it...I liked the way everyone got involved.’

‘Fantastic, wonderful performance.'

'Truth or Dare was awesome!’

Audience Members - Belfast Children’s Festival

Previous Performances:


DreamBig Children's Festival

Adelaide Festival Centre, Australia 

Wednesday 22nd - Friday 24th May 2019 at 10.15am & 12.30pm

Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th May 2019 at 11am & 2.30pm 

Fife Cultural Trust

Performances in Schools

Thursday 21st & Friday 22nd March 2019

Little Feet Festival

Carriageworks, Leeds

Thursday 14th June 2018 at 10.30am & 1.30pm 

York Theatre Royal, York 

Friday 15th June 2018 at 10.30am & 1pm  

The Barn Theatre, Kilkenny

#StormFest - a programme of events for children and their families organised by Barnstorm Theatre Company

Kilkenny Arts Festival

Wednesday 16th & Thursday 17th August 2017 at 12noon & 3pm


Horse & Bamboo Theatre, Rochdale

Puppet Festival 

Sunday 16th July 2017 at 11am & 12.30pm


Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge

Friday 16th June 2017 at 10.15am & 12.15pm

Saturday 17th June 2017 at 12noon & 2pm


Platform, Glasgow

Performances in Schools

Tuesday 13th June 2017 at 11am & 1.45pm

Wednesday 14th June 2017 at 10.30am & 2pm


The MAC, Belfast

Friday 9th June 2017 at 11am & 12.30pm

Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th June 2017 at 1pm & 2.30pm 


Roscommon Arts Centre

Thursday 8th June 2017 at 10am & 11.30am


The Hawk's Well Theatre, Sligo

Wednesday 7th June 2017 at 10.30am & 12noon


The Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena

Monday 5th June 2017 at 10am & 11.30am


The Ark, Dublin

Dublin Theatre Festival

Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd October 2016 at 2pm & 4pm

Monday 3rd & Tuesday 4th October 2016 at 10.15am & 12.15pm


Birmingham School of Acting, Birmingham City University

On The Edge

The World Festival of Theatre for Young Audiences

ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering

Wednesday 6th - Friday 8th July 2016 at 10.15am & 1pm


Comedia Theater, Cologne

Grenzenlos Spurensuche Children's Theatre Festival


Tuesday 21st June 2016 at 7pm & 9.30pm

Wednesday 22nd June 2016 at 11am 


The Egg, Bath

Friday 17th June 2016 at 11am & 1pm

Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th June 2016 at 11.30am & 3pm


Festival Theatre Studio, Edinburgh

Imaginate Festival (Edinburgh International Children's Festival)

Wednesday 1st June 2016 at 10.30am & 1.15pm

Thursday 2nd June 2016 at 10.30am & 1.30pm

Friday 3rd June 2016 at 10.30am

Saturday 4th June 2016 at 12 noon & 3.30pm

Sunday 5th June 2016 at 3.30pm


World Premier

The MAC, Belfast

Theatre for Young Audiences - NI Showcase

Belfast Children's Festival

Wednesday 11th & Thursday 12th March 2015 at 10.15am & 11.15am


NI Schools Tour 

Northern Ireland

Friday 30th January - Tuesday 10th March 2015


Development Performances in Schools

Northern Ireland

Wednesday 22nd - Thursday 23rd May 2013


Work-In-Progress Sharing

An Culturlann, Belfast

Theatre for Young Audiences - NI Showcase

Belfast Children's Festival

Wednesday 13th March 2013 at 4pm


Ideas Sharing 

ACNI ACEs Report

The MAC, Belfast

Friday 22nd November 2012 at 2pm

By Invite Only



With thanks to Jason Byrne, Gill Robertson, Jess Thorpe and Geraldine Pilgrim. 

Initially developed in association with Young at Art and supported by the 

Arts Council of Northern Ireland