Skip to content

A Children’s Guide to Anarchy

Seven musically animated posters created by the Children of Easterhouse, Glasgow.

The Atrium, BC Building, Level 3, Ulster University

8th - 16th March 2024

Belfast Children's Festival

Inspired by the 1931 publication ‘La Anarquia Explicada a Los Niños’, an instructional manual for children published during the Spanish Civil War that explained the ideas and practises of anarchy – composer Brian Irvine and director John McIlduff in collaboration with the children of Oakwood Primary School in Glasgow and the Red Note Ensemble have created a collection of 7 musical animated video posters that explore key elements of “anarchical” thinking such as autonomy, kindness and human connectivity from a child’s perspective.

The work was developed over a year-long process of co-creation involving pupils, teachers, artists, and musicians.

A Children’s Guide to Anarchy (An Easterhouse Children’s Manifesto) was completed and premiered at Platform, Easterhouse on the 14th of June 2023.

“The superpower of children is their ability to remind us of the core values of humanity, care, humour, and joy… values which in their honesty and depth, and simplicity feel increasingly anarchic within the context of an ever turbulent and confused world. Their simple advice: “listen to your dog“ or “be nice” or “eat strawberries”, seems to poke at the heart of what we as a species are all about… these incredible children in this beautiful project illuminate the wondrous and reignite the deep sense of love and fun and care within us all. It has been one of the most inspiring and authentic and enduring collaborations I have ever had the pleasure to be involved in.” – Brian Irvine


Born from Red Note’s 5 Places programme, which targets five locations across central Scotland. This programme aims to properly get to know people in their own neighbourhood at grassroots level, and work with them to make and create new live music together in the heart of their community over a number of years.

This Easterhouse collaboration is based on the ideas and voices of Oakwood Primary School’s pupils and their partnered groups from the wider community.

Led by composer Brian Irvine who wanted to allow young people’s anarchy to direct us, the grown-ups, on ways in which we can uncover the best of what we as humans can be.

From this was born the children’s new creed of Anarchy and this work was developed throughout 2022, where pupils found their voice with the help of Red Note vocal coach Rachel Spencer and developed their creative minds with Brian Irvine and Creative Fellow Martina Corsini. In April 2022, Red Note musicians joined them for a showing of their work. After the summer, the players met again to record Brian Irvine’s scores followed in November by the recording of the songs at Oakwood Primary. Each class which had been working on the project were able to record their songs.


The Atrium, BC Building, Level 3, Ulster University

8th - 16th March 2024

Belfast Children's Festival

Brian Irvine – Composer

John McIlduff – Librettist

Oakwood Primary School Pupils

Red Note Ensemble

Rachel Spencer – Vocal Coach

Martina Corsini – Creative

Sasha Staicu – Illustrator

Dena Springer – Animator