Photo credit: Clémence Bélénus

Click on the titles to discover the reports, documents and videos.

Manifesto for an authentic artistic awakening

The fundamental principles for an authentic artistic awakening on a European scale, defined by all the participants in the 2020-2023 European training project.


2020 – 2023 European training project

From 2020 to 2023, ACTA coordinated a training project on artistic awakening for professionals working in early childhood, education, the social sector and the cultural sector, in partnership with three other organisations creating for very young audiences: laSala (Spain), Starcatchers (Scotland) and 2turvenhoog (Netherlands). Reports were written after each visit:

1st mobility in Sabadell, Spain, during the ElPetit festival (19 – 21 Nov. 2021)

2nd mobility in Villiers-le-Bel, during the European Forum (16 – 18 Mar. 2022)

3rd mobility in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival (10 – 12 May 2022)

4th mobility in Almere, Netherlands (28 – 29 Sept. 2022)

5th mobility in Villiers-le-Bel and Mitry-Mory (28 – 29 Nov. 2022)

6th mobility in Sabadell, Spain (26 – 27 Jan. 2023)

7th mobility in Almere, Netherlands, during the 2turvenhoog festival (13 – 14 April 2023)

8th mobility in Edinburgh, Scotland (5 – 6 June 2023)

European Forum

Since 2018, we have been publishing a detailed reports of the conferences, workshops and discussions at the European Forum, the key event of the PREMIÈRES RENCONTRES Festival. These documents are only available in French.

2022 European Forum Report, written by Naly Gérard (16 and 17 March)

2020 European Forum Report, written by Naly Gérard (7 and 8 October – modified edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

2018 European Forum Report, written by Dominique Duthuit (28 and 29 March)



The European Forum conferences are filmed in their entirety, to make the ideas that emerge accessible to all. Some videos in French have English subtitles.

‘Building bridges, creating transitions between the different worlds of young children, combining continuity and novelty’ (2022)
Talk by Sylvie Rayna, educational psychologist specialising in early childhood and associate researcher at the EXPERICE laboratory – Université Sorbonne Paris Nord, on transitions in young children’s lives and the role of culture in creating links.

‘And… Around language?’ (2022)
A dialogue between Ramona Bădescu, author, and Céline Schnepf, artistic director of the Un Château en Espagne company, on the combination of images and words in a shared reading and performance.

Presentation of the Erasmus+ funded artistic awakening training project 2020 – 2023
With Ingrid Wolff, Director of 2turvenhoog (Netherlands), Heather Armstrong, Head of Early Years Development at Starcatchers (Scotland), Isabel Urpi, Deputy Director of laSala, and Laurent Dupont, Artistic Director of ACTA. (2022)

‘Creativity and ingenuity of African children in the context of villages and camps in Côte d’Ivoire’ (2022)
With Anouman Adiko Jean-Michel, lecturer and researcher in cinema and audiovisual studies and co-founder, with Agnès Desfosses, of the Cultures d’Afrique – Cultures du Monde Foundation.

‘Music for the very young: where do we go from here?’ (2022)
Philippe Bouteloup, musician and trainer with the Musique et Santé association, and Michael Lurse, co-director of Helios Theater (Germany), will share their musical experiences in hospitals and in an artistic environment.

‘The baby poet, the baby philosopher’ (2022)
A dialogue between Carlos Laredo, director of the Cie La Casa Incierta (Brazil), and Bernard Golse, child psychiatrist, on two sensitive approaches to toddlers and their emotions.

Presentation of the ministerial reportA national strategy for cultural health – Promoting and perpetuating the cultural and artistic awakening of children from birth to 3 years of age in their relationship with their parents’ by Sophie Marinopoulos, psychologist and psychoanalyst, and author of the report. (2020)

‘Enhancing cooperation and pooling through projects and territories: questioning our strategies, their practices and their contexts’ (2020)
Encounter/debate between the partners of two European projects: Laurent Dupont, artistic director of ACTA, Ingrid Wolff, director of 2turvenhoog (Netherlands), Rhona Matheson, director of Starcatchers (Scotland), Michael Lurse, co-artistic director of Helios Theater (Germany), and Anne-Beth Schuurmans, choreographer (Netherlands).

‘What does it mean for an artist to go all the way with their artistic gesture?’ (2020)
Presentations by Louise Allaire, playwright (Quebec); Ève Ledig, artistic director of Le Fil Rouge Théâtre company; and Sophie Grelié, musician and teacher, on the artistic process in the context of creation for the very young.

‘How do the main components of a toddler’s sensory and cognitive experience, which encourage openness to the world and to others, affect artists’ research into creative issues and the parent-child relationship?’ (2020)
Presentations by Margotte Fricoteaux, musician and trainer at Enfance & Musique, on singing with parents in their language(s); Eleonora Ribis, artistic director of Cie Melampo, on the meaning of gesture; and Vincent Vergogne, Cie Les Demains qui Chantent, on welcoming the child’s gaze.

‘What are the key issues in fostering the relational dynamic between young children and adults?’ (2020)
Presentations by Evelio Cabrejo Parra, professor of linguistics and psycholinguistics at the University of Paris 7, on the construction of oral language, the symbolic transmission of language and the representation of the other; and Isam Idris, psychologist and psycho-anthropologist at the Avicennes University Hospital in Bobigny, on transculturality.

‘How does early childhood continue to question new generations of artists?’ (2018).
Presentation of the 2017-2019 Erasmus+ European training project, with the artists and directors of 2turvenhoog (Netherlands) and Starcatchers (Scotland), and Dalila Bahic (head of the Villiers-le-Bel RAM); and talk by Sylvie Rayna, lecturer in educational psychology, associated with the EXPERICE laboratory (University of Paris 13 Sorbonne Paris Cité), for her research in the field of early childhood, conducted within several European and international networks.

‘What posture for the artist who is “creating” in an early childhood facility? What happens when the artist takes over a childcare facility with his artistic material in gestation?’ (2018)
Presentations by Ben Fletcher-Watson, researcher at the University of St Andrews (Scotland); Gaël Blanchard, project manager at Lab – Liaison Arts Bourgogne; Christian Duchange, director of La Minoterie in Dijon; and Vincent Regnard, juggler.

An exchange of views between university researchers and artists: the senses as part of a toddler’s awakening to the world (2018)
With Maya Gartier, professor of developmental psychology and head of Babylab (Université Paris 10) and Mathilde Lechat, artistic director of Cie Charabia, on the importance of musicality in communicating with babies.
With Riitta Lahtinen (Finland), psychologist and expert in non-verbal communication, and Päivi Aura, choreographer with Dance Theatre Auraco (Finland), on the forms of interaction involving touch in child development.

An exchange of views between university researchers and artists: the senses as part of a toddler’s awakening to the world and conclusion of the European Forum (2018)
Speech by Claire Dé, visual artist and author, and Karel Van Raasbeeck, director of the Theater De Spiegel company (Belgium), on the role of images in the creation of books for toddlers.


Short interviews with some of the speakers of the European Forum. Some videos in French have English subtitles.

Anouman Adiko Jean-Michel (2022)
Lecturer and researcher in cinema and audiovisual studies, lecturer in the arts department of the UFR Information-Communication, and co-founder of the Fondation Cultures d’Afriques – Cultures du Monde.
Ivory Coast

Carlos Laredo (2022)
Artist and director of La Casa Incierta, a pioneering company in the field of performing arts for young children.

Philippe Bouteloup (2022)
Musician and trainer with the Musique et Santé association

Ramona Bădescu (2022)
The author of some thirty books for young people, she works with theatre artists, photographers and film-makers.

Agnès Desfosses (2020)
Director, photographer, founder of the Compagnie ACTA and the PREMIÈRES RENCONTRES Festival
Full bio (in French)

Agnès Desfosses and Vincent Vergogne (2020)
Vincent Vergogne is a sculptor, short-film director, image show creator and founder of the Compagnie Les Demains Qui Chantent.

Anne-Beth Schuurmans (2020)
Dancer and choreographer with Cie sQueezz, and programme creator at 2turvenhoog

Sophie Grelié (2020)
Musician and teacher, in contact with young children for 35 years, co-artistic director of the company Éclats

Sophie Marinopoulos (2020)
Psychologist and psychoanalyst, author of the report ‘A national strategy for cultural health – Promoting and perpetuating the cultural and artistic awakening of children from birth to the age of three in their relationship with their parents’, commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and submitted in January 2019.

Anne Quentin (2018)
Author, drama critic (Cahiers de la comédie française, CNDP, Stradda), journalist specialising in cultural policies (La Scène).

Brigitte Plancheneau (2018)
DRAC Île-de-France Advisor in the Territorial Action Department (in 2018)

Cécile Mont-Reynaud (2018)
Circus artist, co-founder of Compagnie Lunatic

Dalila Bahic (2018)
Early childhood educator and head of the Childminders Hub in Villiers-le-Bel.

Judith Bouchier-Végis (2018)
Actress, musician, director, author, founder of the company Filalo!

Press and books

Contribution by Laurent Dupont in Interdisciplinary Theatre for the Very Young, Fransien van der Putt and Anne-Beth Schuurmans (2024)

Contributions by Laurent Dupont and Agnès Desfosses in Petite enfance : l’atout nature, Sylvie Rayna (2024) (French)

Le Piccolo n°108, “Serge Boulier and Laurent Dupont: the vision of ‘pioneers'” (2020) (French)

Focus on the ACTA company, Territoires d’éveil n°14 (2019)

“Culture and creativity in early childhood: a polyphonic approach”, Sylvie Rayna (2014) (French)

Le Furet n°69, “Looking elsewhere to advance our practices in terms of creativity and safety”, Agnès Desfosses (2012) (French)

Le Furet n°63, “Early childhood in theatre” : A look back at the collaboration between the Villiers-le-Bel early childhood service and ACTA (2010) (French)

Le Furet n°58, “Portrait of an ‘artist in the city'”, Interview of Agnès Desfosses (2009) (French)

Special report: Early childhood, artistic awakening and live performance. First European Encounters in the Val d’Oise (2006) (French)