Theatre for the Very Young – an ASSITEJ Int. Project in collaboration with ITYARN – Int. Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network March 4th & 5th

April 15, 2009

Notes from the Forum from Rachel.
Ivica Simic – Assitej Int. Ecretary General – Croatia opened the forum and said,
‘It is important to make projects together, to raise more iniatives and put Assitej in the place it will be recognized in its field’
Manon van der Water (University of Wisconsin, Madison – USA) introduced the new int. research website and discussed about the lack of theatre research, as work is being made but is not in tandem with research because everyone is busy doing. Practice and research go hand in hand.
Three research presentations from Lise Hovik – The Red Shoes (Norway), Evelyn Goldfinger – Theatre for the Too Young? (Argentina) and Geesche Wartemann – Interplays in the Experimental Field of Theatre for Children (Germany)
Assitej international Forum day 2 – key notes on theatre for children 0-3 years

Graziano Melano – And we all fall down
The game, natural instinct and ability, to empathize with children
Back to natural materials, not plastic
Every object important and the importance of the space, intimacy, relationships, playing in home, then watching the theatre, how should the space be? What is the animism of the objects on stage? Everyday objects change, have life and take on meaning.
3rd voice and sound, words familiar and to discover, prepare your voice to be loved, pace and rhythm.
The tv is destroying our minds
Colours, accustom the child’s eye to aesthetics, harsh design of cities, theatre of being not of having, a poor theatre but rich in ideas. Significant in our society, not commercial, children’s theatre, poor theatre, fly with imagination and complete cycle of generations, life cycle being child like, only a sample of timeless, worlds clock stops, from the heart, light from the sun.

Charlotte Fallon – A Glance Renewal
Making show for 6 months old. Working with cellist, with dancer, looking at face not movement, little ones not engaged. Then singer and composer joined and work with 15 little children, very calm, not walking. Then low soft singing, see babies desire to get close to musician, crawling like crabs, take 20 mins, such a strong desire, make noises with bowl to join in. A little boy looking dreaming andalways there with the performer. Meeting with EY providers for feedback from babies. One child never before moved, he felt tired because room is so tranquilo. Ey provider spent day on the floor at their level to see how everything is for little ones, everything over their heads.
Beautiful soup of moments, how we make structure of this, too much movement and sound. what can be the silence? What can happen in the silence, quality of presence of the artist/
movement assists in development of mind, we adults are in the mind. We find the back bone of the show. am I making pleasure for my ego? if we go with them we learn and find a place to be with them, artistic questions, questions about the beginning of life, share together. No judgment, just to try. Deprived communities need contact with fragile moments with babies, disengaged parents, enjoy thru parents, adults stay open, culture of fear. Am challenged as an artist, in an unknown place, the artists can really develop, I Do it!

Anne Nojgard – Theatre for Little Humans
‘We live our life forwards but understand backwards’
joy of world of children, theatre of dreams,
play with puppets and objects, we are pretending, telling stries with all kinds of feelings.
as a puppeteer stylised to take movements further
open puppet manipulation to aid more pedalogical matters
first experience of theatre- starts as they arrive.
normal movements can seem too intense adapt voice and tone to suit the audience
most gratifying age group to perform for, response makes the low pay and bad knees worth it.

Roberto Frabetti – a continuous seeking…
Many ways of playing theatre for very young, sometimes too much a format/standardization
a visual poem, an open door that leads to the imagination of the artists and lead to a surprise and an encounter and share a higher quality encounter, children have their own high intelligence not little adults. Children are unpredictable. Theatre can explore the mysterious world of the early child, a spinning journey. Urgent need to watch theatre, and not always play. Ask their names, listen to each, pure energy, every child is unique, they can get in and out of the game, builds confidence, 3-4 years excellent audience in their reaction. Words cannot substitute images. Two way process, he likes the good story to recognize and use the words.

Wolfgang Schneider – President of Assitej Int. – Germany
Keynotes reflect on formula of observation, and practice, lots of questions, who provides the answers? I think the children – in the action, in the doing.
Artists position in society – children and society – popular culture frame work- labelling.
Unfortunately I lost my notes on my laptop from the Round Table discussions.Doh!
However Key Points from the summaries included –

Theatre for 0-3 years – Gerd Taube – (Kinder und Jugendtheaterzentrum – Germany)
Stated that experience is the basis of learning theatre and educates whether you like it or not. There was much debate on whether research was really necessary for creating theatre with these age groups.
What is extraordinary? – Work of artists and of educators, special communication with audience
Why theatre for this age group? Multi intelligence.
We should work with children as human beings in this moment
0-6 months rare experiences – had discussion with Maria from Argentina and Inez from Austria at break re creating theatre for babies.
Interaction of performers and audience, b4 during and after
Parents learning thru experience with children
Artists responsibilities
Access for theatre beyond middle class

Audience and the art – pedagogical research & artist’s aesthetics
Consumer not the same as the buyer
Issue of nostalgia, different culture 30 years ago
Role of the story, narrative as well as abstract, variety
Theatrical experience, do children need theatre? what is happening – research
Growing the future audience
Art for family audiences
Communication of emotions, dialogue
Need to speak, solitude of artists, to share experiences

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