Browsing Department of Arts and Cultural Management by Subject "children"
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ItemCreative process and co-research with very young children through flight(2023) Ayles, Robyn; Fitzsimmons-Frey, Heather; Leach, JamieWith their abundance of openness, curiosity, and imagination, children are natural researchers. They ask questions and seek answers. As theatre artists and practice-based researchers, we strive to welcome these young, sometimes preverbal inquisitors, into our research process in meaningful, democratic ways. Our practice-based research centres on questions regarding the relationships between very young children (aged eighteen months to five years), actors, and materials, with a view toward democratically creating theatre as a collective and immersive event. Through workshops, artist residencies, immersive theatre offerings, and a Cycle of Co-inquiry, we develop a loose scaffold of dramatic work that forms the skeleton of a theatrical piece, which in turn becomes an immersive theatre offering for the very young. Our process creates spaces that welcome active participation for children and actors to play, and where exploration is encouraged and planned with purpose and intention. This intention crystallizes into reciprocity and generosity of ideas between the participants. The final creative work includes very young children as co-creators in the experience. Although our current immersive theatre offering explores local urban wildlife, our process could be applied to any topic or theme. ItemGumshoes and blanket wings: care in pandemic performances for youth(2021) Fitzsimmons-Frey, HeatherWhen Canadian theatrical performances halted because of the pandemic, artists everywhere bravely reimagined their work. Creating for any remote audience is difficult, but young audiences present particular challenges. Danish artists Peter Manscher and Peter Jankovic (qtd. in Reason 46) explain that in successful child-focused work, spectators “must have the feeling that it would have been different if they hadn’t been there—that their presence matters.” How can children feel their presence matters if a performance streams regardless of a child’s presence? Foolish Operations’ Artistic Director Julie Lebel asserts “Working with children in general and the very young especially implies interactivity. To provide static content doesn’t do the job.” The issue of presence is also related to a second challenge of utmost importance for young audiences: relationship. What kinds of meaningful performance-fostered relationships are possible during this pandemic? In response to pandemic restrictions, Outside the March (Toronto) and Foolish Operations (Vancouver) reimagined projects for young audiences thoughtfully and very differently, but both companies decided that some of their pandemic pivots would avoid screens altogether, and their creative work would focus on intimacy, interactivity, and relationships. Outside the March’s Ministry of Mundane Mysteries Playdate Edition, and Foolish Operations’ Moving, Resting, Nesting boldly use limitations placed on artists and audiences to create opportunities in which a child’s presence matters. While Outside the March is interested in forging relationships between people who cannot be together because of the pandemic, Foolish Operations was interested in “supporting the family unit as the site of the experience.” Through content and dramaturgy that centralize relationships, intimacy, and audience care, each project considers what young people and their caregivers might be craving from a performance experience right now. ItemHarnessing the power of flight: devising responsive theatre for the very young(2022) Ayles, Robyn; Fitzsimmons-Frey, Heather; Mykietyshyn, MargaretSuccessful theatre hinges on relationships. In our research, we devised an immersive theatre piece about urban wildlife through key early childhood education concepts outlined in the Canadian document Flight: Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Framework. The project’s guiding question was: How could we better understand audience engagement in the early years demographic by using the reflective process, rights-based perspectives, and holistic play-based goals of the Flight framework to interpret children’s experiences? Our creative team aimed to develop democratic and playful relationships with children during theatrical exploration, and using the Flight framework to analyse what children were communicating grounded our theatre creation and dramaturgy in respectful and agentic relationships between actors, theatrical objects, and young children. ItemTheatre in Algeria and children: a dialogue on history, culture, and ambiances(2016) Makhloufi, Lilia; Fitzsimmons-Frey, HeatherThe dialogue that follows deals with theatre and children in Algeria, and emphasizes the particular context of its emergence and development. It arises from an academic research project concerning ambiances in Algeria, initiated and directed by Lilia Makhloufi. Because of their artistic, cultural and imaginary dimensions, and their effects on Algerian society and young people in particular, theatre spaces were a case study in this research.1 As readers of the dialogue will see, theatre in Algeria has evolved in response to different theories and practices, some related to political or spiritual ideologies, others based on cultural or artistic concerns. Some theatre processes focus on a story, some on an event, and others act as catalysts for social change. When the editors invited us to connect for this dialogue, we were enthusiastic. Heather knew nothing about performance practices or childhood in Algeria and was keen to have an opportunity to learn more. Meanwhile, Lilia was working in a non-dominant language, answering questions about Algerian context, and trying to satisfy Heather’s curiosity about culture, politics, aesthetics, and intentions in creating theatre for and with children. The process proved to be challenging because we carried out the conversation via email whilst in different time zones and countries. By the end, both of us found that the whole process opened our minds to other ways of thinking about the significance of theatre practices, and ways a culture of theatre for young people might develop and be fostered. We hope that the publication of this dialogue will have similar impact for the readership of RIDE.