Drawing the Theatrical Experience: An Investigation into Children's Theatre
Early art experiences are widely recognised as crucial in terms of individuals' long-term enjoyment of theatre, with children learning how to imaginatively engage with theatrical illusion and gaining skills in spectatorship. This paper explores the methodologies and initial findings of a project designed to support and enhance intuitive knowledge of the enjoyment and benefit that young children gain from attending theatre performances by providing a detailed, analytical and grounded understanding of how young children perceive and respond to live theatre.
Recognising the need to connect with children in a manner that is both appropriate and engaging, the research used visual arts based workshops and participants’ drawings as its primary research tool. The mediated and reflective responses provided by drawing, and talking about drawing, then enabled analysis and the in depth description of how children respond to and remembered their theatrical experiences.
Taking place during the course of Spring 2006, in collaboration with the Children's International Theatre Festival and North Edinburgh Arts Centre, this paper will present the processes and first stage in the analysis of this research. The paper will also invite discussion about possible avenues for developing its analysis.
Keywords: Audience Research, Children's Theatre, Drawing, Theatre and Education
Dr Matthew Reason
Research Fellow, School of Arts, York St John College