The Young Audience

Exploring and Enhancing Children's Experiences of Theatre

Paperback / softback, 194 pages, 244 mm x 170 mm
31 Mar 2010
Trentham Books Ltd

Price: £20.99

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Children's theatre in the UK is thriving right now. Interest is growing in the educational, emotional and expressive benefits of theatre for young people; arguments about why children should watch theatre have become a central motif in debates about cultural policy and arts education. Yet, surprisingly, there has been almost no detailed and reflective research on these matters. While young children (aged 4-11) are increasingly provided for in terms of tailored theatre performances, the nature of children's theatrical perceptions and their experiences of being in an audience has scarcely been investigated. This book uses innovative visual-arts based audience research, practitioner interviews and contextual analysis to fill this gap in research and explore the nature of young children's experiences of live theatre. It investigates three primary areas: the cultural policy, educational and creative contexts in which theatre for children is made; children's aesthetic experiences of theatre; and, the approaches through which children's engagement with theatre can be enhanced, extended and deepened. "The Young Audience" provides a valuable resource for teachers, artists, researchers, students, policy makers and other professionals working with theatre and with children in various other contexts and environments. It significantly enhances existing cultural policy and educational research by providing a detailed, analytical and methodologically grounded understanding of how young children perceive and respond to live theatre performances. It thus provides vital insights into how we can better support and enhance children's engagement with theatre.

  • Matthew Reason

Part One: Contexts and Questions Chapter 1 Theatre for Children and Education Philip Pullman: Theatre - the true key stage Chapter 2 From Audience Development to Cultural Rights Tony Graham: Children grow up not down Chapter 3 Quality in Theatre for Children Peter Manscher and Peter Jankovic: Eye-level Part Two: The Theatrical Experience Chapter 4 Researching Children's lived Experiences of Theatre Chapter 5 Theatrical Illusion and Material Reality Chapter 6 Theatrical Competence Chapter 7 Moral or Metaphorical Engagement Part Three: Enhancing Engagement Chapter 8 Enhancing Engagement Chapter 9 Drawing on the Experience Chapter 10 Talking about Theatre Talking about Theatre resource Conclusion 'Looking': Photographs by Lisa Barnard The Audience's Gaze

This inspirational book, that cares passionately about the child's gaze, should be welcomed and cherished.

Tony Graham, Artistic Director, Unicorn Theatre

...a colourful and fascinating account of children's experiences of theatre... This book demonstrates how, when done well, educational research can have transformative and emancipatory effects on participants.

, British Journal of Music Education

...makes an important contribution to the field ...through its critical interrogation of previous theories and rigorous original inquiry. His work will inspire others to embrace empirical research with young people and help us further understand their theatre-going experiences.

, Matt Omasta, Theatre Topics, Utah State University

A fantastic resource for everyone interested in children's theatre. Mathew Reason's groundbreaking research provides fresh insights into children's experiences of live theatre which are of great benefit to arts and education communities across the world.

Tony Reekie, Chief Executive, Imaginate