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Theatre for Early Years

Research in Performing Arts for Children from Birth to Three

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Edited By Wolfgang Schneider

There is an old phenomenon in theatre arts: Education! And there is a new tendency: theatre arts for the very young! The relationship to education is clear, but what about the profit for the arts? The world of children as a horizon of experiences? The role of music as a dramaturgical element? Is it needed to divide the performance in actors and spectators? Is there a special age for a successful reception? How much should theatre artists be confronted with the physical and psychological development of children? It seems that Theatre for Early Years is a work in progress. There are more and more examples on the stages of the world: In Europe, in the States, in Australia. A variety of different perspectives are included in this research in performing arts from birth to three. The authors are reflecting their work, their observations, their directorship – to discover a new audience, to accompany the new generation in aesthetics, to make the signs of the time transparent. And maybe the development of Theatre for Early Years is a new challenge to renew the language of theatre, to establish an art of simplicity for the complexity of theatre.

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First steps Aesthetic peculiarities of the “Theatre for Early Years” by Gerd Taube Based on the theatre for the youngest substructures of the theatre acting and dramatic communication may be discussed.1 The reception of the situation isn’t affected by civic theatre conventions, because the young spectators aren’t yet exercised in those conventions. But even the children’s theatre substructures at large may be reflected and defined. Such a constantly used and never challenged doctrine says: Children’s theatre has got a special connection to its audience. It provides a cause to confine the children’s theatre from the ‘ordinary’ theatre, although there are many professional children’s theatre companies in Germany where this cause doesn’t apply. Therefore it’s necessary to analyse what makes the connection between children’s theatre and audience so special. Neither there is the eternal children’s theatre nor could any other kind of thea- tre be reduced to an aesthetic canon.2 The characteristics are as different and multifaceted as the characteristics of other kinds of theatre. Even though it’s im- possible to deflect statements about aesthetic principles for theatre for the youngest only by watching several performances, there are however different phenomena in different performances to be seen. On that account, the considera- tion about an aesthetic specific of this kind of theatre may firstly be arranged via specific aspects and categories. This effort should not be misunderstood as a canonisation of those aspects and categories. The point is to arrange the first perceptions in this process of discussion which takes place...

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