World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People

10 reasons why making theatre for children is rewarding for artists

Sue Buckmaster, Artistic Director of Theatre-Rites

1.     It improves the work you create.
Children are wonderfully philosophical and have a wide-gaze on the world around them. It is delightful to tap into this. A vital part of making work for young children is finding artistic simplicity out of this complexity, which is gained through a thorough editing process. This can create beautiful and powerful work.

2.     You can never be boring.
Children are an active audience; they let you know what they think, so you can't hide behind a well-behaved or intellectually respectful adult response.

3.     Adults can access their inner child.
When adults experience theatre in the company of children it accesses their inner child. It is a great privilege to engage them in this way and it can have incredibly meaningful responses.

4.     You can take play seriously.

Play is an essential part of a true creative process and this is integral to making work for the young. What better excuse could you have to play!

5.     You can explore non-linear form
Work for under-sixes is best explored poetically, rather than following a literal narrative - it can be liberating to play with this. Children are naturally interdisciplinary which allows the work to be.

6.     It re-ignites your own passion for theatre
You are often creating the first piece of theatre a child will see. Their innate and abundant curiosity encourages you to re-discover your own curiosity, which reignites your passion for theatre.

7.     It allows you to explore deep and dark subjects
Children’s work can tackle very difficult and complex subjects, but in order to do so it is important that you make the subjects accessible.  This naturally means that you will need to work through them yourself.  You should also offer reparation at the end, which ensures that you find hope and inspiration.

8.     It forces you to interrogate yourself
You are presenting your work to an audience of children and their accompanying adults; a very real audience ranging in all ages and experience. Your work has to find a way of speaking to all of them. To do so, you must connect many parts of yourself, as a child, an adult, a parent, artist and teacher. This is very enriching.

9.     You can push the boundaries
Children are still forming their emotional experience of the world and they have yet to define their political allegiances. They don't always know the rules of a theatre performance and therefore you can be experimental and have impact.

10.  You can inspire the future