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Creative process and co-research with very young children through flight

Faculty Advisor




immersive theatre, children

Abstract (summary)

With 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.

Publication Information

Ayles, R., Fitzsimmons Frey, H., & Leach, J. (2023). Creative Process and Co-Research with Very Young Children through Flight. Performance Matters, Volume 9, No. 1-2, 278-315.



Item Type




Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)