Reflections on Theatre for the Early Years

“Toddler theatre is a new art form in a way” - Dr Lise Hovik (Norway).

The following quotes represent just small snippets from the many conversations being had during two events on Saturday, May 27th, 2017 which were held as part of the Cradle of Creativity Focus Day on Theatre for the Early Years.


During a panel discussion, members of the Small Size Network explored the reasons for which they create and perform pieces for Babies and Toddlers: 

“Theatre and Art in general can feed their creativity […] and help them grow […] we want to plant seeds in their imaginary […] we want to nourish their inner world by sharing what we love.” – Gaêtane Reginster (Belgium)

“For me a spectator – the woman, the man, the boy, the girl – share together a lived experience […] children under 3, children under 2, children under 1 are fantastic spectators.” – Roberto Frabetti (Italy)

“[Speaking of the creation of the Small Size Network…] It was the wish to come together. It was the wish to make an exchange of education systems in different countries […] we wanted to create something together.” – Barbara Kölling (Germany)

“[Speaking of the benefits of being a member of the Small Size Network…] What’s possible when you have contact with this Small Size philosophy and family […] it takes the pressure off you, in your reality, to do it all by yourself.” – Cliodhna Noonan (Ireland)


During a symposium, led by Dr Lise Hovik (Norway) and Eivind Haugland (Norway), on the relational aesthetics of Toddler Theatre:

“Relational aesthetics is about the people, first and foremost, the meeting between the actors and audience […] it becomes a social space more than artistic work.” – Dr Lise Hovik (Norway)

“Relational aesthetics is a way to argue for the importance of theatre for toddlers.” – Eivind Haugland (Norway)

“There’s a lot of experimental work being done and that changes the way of thinking about the relationship with the audience.” – Symposium Participant

Laura Dean (Associate Director)
Laura is a keen advocate for the Arts in Education. A graduate of the Comparative and International Education MA program at Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA, USA), Laura’s research interests revolve around how Arts subjects, and Theatre in particular, can play a crucial role to the development of a student’s social and emotional well-being, whilst bolstering their academic attainment. Having lived in numerous places around the world, and worked to support international students in a university setting, Laura is interested in supporting global Education policy. With an avid interest in Theatre & Performance, she is delighted to be bringing her two passions together to lead on Dialogue’s Community Performance for Education work.