Summary of the European Forum

During two very intense days, which included performances of seven of the Biennial’s shows, times for debate, and times for presenting projects in gestation (“Giving time to time”), three main themes for reflection were addressed:

  • How are new training schemes for young artists designed and implemented in a spirit of cooperation between all the players in early childhood?
  • What are the impacts of these systems on creation? What are the different types of relationship between the creator and the child receiver?
  • How do university researchers and artists view the senses that make up the awakening to the world of the young child (sound, gesture, image)?

This year, despite a tense societal context, early childhood theatre has demonstrated a capacity for invention and research based on the ever closer links between artistic practices, culture and early childhood.

The first day began with a reminder of the signing of the interministerial protocol of 21 March 2017, which affirms the desire to set up and develop a “cultural and artistic awakening” component in the ministerial policy for the care of young children, as well as an “early childhood” component in the Ministry of Culture and Communication’s artistic and cultural education policy. This protocol involves cooperation between local elected officials, performing arts professionals, early childhood staff, parents and children. In this cross-cutting context, new training schemes are being invented to create the necessary conditions (immersion in day care centres, experimentation time, support from directors and academics, meetings and exchanges of practices with actors in the sector, etc.) so that artists can pursue their research in contact with young children and early childhood staff.

Two of these projects were presented: the ERASMUS + Art and Early Childhood Programme and the creation support system initiated by the Lab in Dijon.

The central and complex line of thought that occupied the first day’s debates questioned, from different points of view, the way in which the child, a mysterious receptor, becomes the creator’s field of experience until he or she is transformed into a co-dramatist, a “crash test” or a full-fledged master of the game.

It was agreed that these new cross-disciplinary training schemes encourage the exchange of practices between artists, children and early childhood staff and have a very strong impact on artistic creation. Thanks to the time spent observing, experimenting and meeting with the different actors in the schemes, the artists’ learning is permanent and forces them to accept unpredictability, failure, questioning and differences.

The forum was moderated by Anne Quentin (drama critic and journalist)