Shape Shifters

Queens Theatre 3, Thu 5th Oct, 11:30am, 1 Hour Facilitator: Sue Giles 1st Provocateur: Naomi Edwards 2nd Provocateur: Luke Kerridge

Examining the impact of including young people in theatre making with national and global examples: how does engagement with children and young people change practice, perspective, and opportunities for the entire arts sector? How do children and young people offer insight to new forms, and challenges to the status quo?

Key Points (Updated Live)

  • Many definitions for creating work with/for children. Challenge of discerning between making art for children or creating the work with children. Creating work for adults with children is about interrupting adults’ perception of young people and allowing children to have a voice in the cultural setting

  • Barriers with theatre for children include; children are not buying their own tickets, taboo topics, space between art and entertainment, ticket prices have to be cheaper therefore money must be used more efficiently for a show

  • Engaging with specific audiences to influence your work in the devising process and via collaboration. Negotiation of power and ownership.

  • Why bother? Babies and children are still human beings! And this work can change adults’ perspective on what theatre is

  • The adult gaze impacts this. In work for children form is challenged, you are required to find new ways to communicate other than traditional theatre text, you can be reaching adults in a space where they are vulnerable because they feel like they are not being directly spoken to with the work

  • When we taking risks with theatre for children; are we playing into the expectations of teachers, parents; are we not giving ourselves permission to make children think instead of purely entertaining them

  • Can we talk to both young audiences and adult audiences in the same way? How do we create work that doesn’t have to necessarily talk to adults or to children? Completed meaning means that you have to specify whether it is for children or adults – instead we can leave room for imagination. Also trusting that children can read the subtext

  • Considering representation of gender and race it is important not to reinforce preconceptions of gender and race. Often children do not have any expectations and we can be letting children and babies experience theatre naturally (without adults)

  • Not choosing when to treat children as children and children as adults. In places in Europe, they have a policy that children are social citizens. Consider a shift in thinking about how we manipulate children. Children are part of the real world and therefore should be shown the real world