EDUC08040 2017 Contemporary Theatre for Children and Young People

General Details

Full Title
Contemporary Theatre for Children and Young People
Transcript Title
Contemporary Theatre for Chil
N/A %
Subject Area
EDUC - Education
SOCS - Social Sciences
08 - NFQ Level 8
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2017 - Full Academic Year 2017-18
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Chris Sparks, Bernie Meehan, Suzanne Collery, Kate Brown
Programme Membership
SG_HENGL_H08 201700 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Major: English and Psychology SG_SOSCJOIN_H08 201800 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Sciences in Joint Major: English and Spanish SG_HENGL_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Major: English and Psychology SG_HJOIN_H08 000000 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Major: English and Psychology SG_HENGL_H08 202000 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Major: English and Psychology

In this module, students will be introduced to the genre of theatre for children and young people.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Identify the - A: origin; B: development; C: nature; D: function of theatre for children and young people in European contexts


Demonstrate knowledge of the contemporary representation in the genre of fable, lore and tale


Appraise some of the sub-genres that constitute theatre for children and young people


Identify key contemporary playwrights and companies (theatre-makers) in an Irish context

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Practice-based Field Trips, Seminar

Module Assessment Strategies


For this assessment, the student will create an interactive installation. The overriding exhibition, for which the installation will be designed, will be about contemporary theatre for children and young people.

This installation will be the medium through which the student will critically respond, through a selection of the following: art-making, performance, sound, visual, object, text; to their participation in, interpretation and perception of a live theatre experience.

This will introduce students to modes of ‘seeing’, how the sign system of theatre is experienced and intuited and the role of audience as consumer and/or co-creator.

For the exhibition, the student will place this installation response in the context of the larger exhibition. This will be designed as a whole group piece of work and it will share with the exhibition visitor, the students’ new knowledge around the origins, development, nature and function of theatre for children and young people.

The students will also place their experience of the different theatre performances in the context of an appraisal of the forms in which they were presented by the theatre companies and undertake case study research of the different theatre companies.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat Project (Written)

Module Dependencies

EDUC07027 201700 Drama in Education: Theory - Planning - Practice

Indicative Syllabus

The student will be able to:

Identify the -

A: origin

B: development

C: nature

D: function of theatre for children and young people in European contexts

The student will study theatre for children and young people in historical, contemporary and international contexts. S/he will survey the literature on the subject in order to develop an appreciation of the nature and function of the genre. The student will interrogate shifting values in relation to historicised and contemporary understanding of the genre.

Demonstrate knowledge of contemporary representation in the genre: fable, lore and tale

There is a strong tradition of adapting childrens’ literature for stage. Connecting to the module: Childrens’ Literature, students will analyse significant adaptations in the work from fable, folklore and fairytale.

Students will examine case studies of contemporary children’s theatre. For example: Branar, the Irish language children’s theatre company’s adaptation of The Children of Lir, Barnstorm’s A Murder of Crows, a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, the aerial dance company, Fidget Feet’s production of the Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale, The Snow Queen and Theatre Lovett’s, A Feast of Bones, the retelling of the fable Henny Penny.

Appraise a selection of sub-genres that constitute theatre for young people

Appraising the sub-genres that constitute theatre for young people, will encourage the student to examine the correlation between drama methodology and how young people learn in a Theatre-in-Education (TiE) context. The aesthetics of this sub-genre and the ways in which the productions can be used as a springboard for cross-curricular learning will be central to delivery.

In studying audience/actor relationship, the positioning of the audience and the historical, cultural and socio-political contexts of the sub-genre, the student will gain an understanding of TIE practice, pedagogy and ethos.

Other sub-genres may include: verbatim theatre, youth theatre and theatre of the oppressed.


Identify key contemporary playwrights and companies (theatre-makers) in an Irish context

Presented as a series of seminars by the teaching team and visiting guests from the children’s and young people’s theatre industry, students will broaden their knowledge of who is making work for audiences, the kind of work that is being made, how it is being made and the inspiration behind the work.

This will give students a greater understanding of the current state of play of the professional industry in Ireland and an opportunity to dialogue with those who are driving it.

Professionals may include:

Emelie Fitzgibbon, CEO at Graffitti Theatre Company

Marc MacLochlainn, Artistic Director at Branar

Muireann Ahearn, Artistic Director at Theatre Lovett

Kareen Pennefather, Artistic Director at Monkeyshine Theatre

Phil Kingston, Community and Education Manager at The Abbey Theatre

Aislinn O'hEocha, Executive Artistic Director at Baboro: International Arts Festival for Children

Marie Fleming, Artistic Director at The Ark

Mike Kenny, Playwright

Little John Nee, Playwright

Sarah Argent, Playwright

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Project Project Project 100 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Seminar Flat Classroom Seminar 3 Weekly 3.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2013-03-13 Theatre for Young Audiences: A Critical Handbook Trentham Books
ISBN 1858565014 ISBN-13 9781858565019

One of the UKs most distinctive areas of arts practice is theatre for young audiences. This edited collection gathers together new and original work on the topics, practices and critical perspectives which characterize theatre for the young. It features chapters on theatre and ownership, active spectatorship and audience interaction. Others focus on specific audiences such as children and young people with profound disabilities or nonverbal audiences. A chapter looks at creative methods such as using childs play to create plays for children; another considers how to develop our understanding about childrens perception of theatre created for them through interviewing them and studying their drawings. Other chapters discuss how to connect teenagers with Shakespeares work; how theatre can engage with children in a globalized multicultural society; the current status of Theatre in Education in the UK; and the work staged by the National Theatre for young audiences.

This wide range of topics will appeal to academics, students and theatre practitioners working within the growing field of theatre for the young. For educators interested in the benefits of school-related theatre visits and the young audiences engagement with performances created specifically for them, this book is a rich source of information.

The contributors include Gill Brigg, David Broster, Dominic Hingorani, Jeanne Klein Geoffrey Readman, James Reynolds, Matthew Reason, Peter Wynne-Willson, Jan Wozniak and Oily Carts Tim Webb.

Recommended Reading
2010 The Young Audience: Exploring and Enhancing Childrens Experiences of Theatre Trentham Books Ltd

Recommended Reading
2005 Young Audiences and Live Theatre: An Investigation into Perceptions of Live Performance York St John University

Recommended Reading
2006 Theatre as a Medium for Children and Young People: Images and Observations Dordrecht: Springer

Recommended Reading
1981 Audience Participation: Theatre for Young People Walter H Baker Co.

Recommended Reading
2000 Theatre of the Oppressed London: Pluto Press

Recommended Reading
2014 Applied Drama/Theatre as Social Intervention in Conflict and Post-Conflict Contexts Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Recommended Reading
2016 Critical Perspectives on Applied Theatre Cambridge University Press

Recommended Reading
2015 Forum Theatre for Children: Enhancing social, emotional and creative development London: IOE Press and Trentham Books

Recommended Reading
2013 Learning Through Theatre: The Changing Face of Theatre in Education Abingdon and New York: Routledge

Recommended Reading
2011 Theatre, Education, and Performance The Map and the Story Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Module Resources

URL Resources



Other Resources

Youth Drama Ireland

Klein, Jeanne. ‘From Children’s Perspectives: A Model of Aesthetic Processing in Theatre’ Journal of Aesthetic Education Vol. 39, No. 4 (2005) pp 40-57

Klein, Jeanne. ‘Reading Empathy in a Québécois Play: Crying to Laugh,’ Theatre Research in Canada / Recherches théâtrales au Canada Vol. 15, No. 1 (Spring 1994) Available to read at:

Reason, Matthew. Did You Watch the Man or Did You Watch the Goose? Children’s Responses to Puppets in Live Theatre. New Theatre Quarterly, 24, (2008) pp. 337-354. Available at:

 Reason, Matthew. ‘Thinking Theatre: Enhancing Children’s Theatrical Experiences Through Philosophical Enquiry’ in childhood & philosophy, Vol. 4, No. 7 (2008) Available to read at:

Fletcher-Watson, Ben. ‘Seen and not heard: participation as tyranny in Theatre for Early Years’, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Vol. 20, No. 1 (2015) pp.24-38.

 Fletcher-Watson, Ben, Sue Fletcher-Watson, Marie Jeanne McNaughton and Anna Birch, ‘From cradle to stage: how Early Years performing arts experiences are tailored to the developmental capabilities of babies and toddlers’, Youth Theatre Journal, 28, No. 2 (2014) pp.130-146.

 Fletcher-Watson, Ben, ‘Child’s Play: a postdramatic theatre of paidia for the very young’, PLATFORM, Vol. 7, No. 2 (2013) pp.14-31.

Fletcher-Watson, Ben, ‘Towards a Grounded Dramaturgy: using Grounded Theory to interrogate performance practices in Theatre for Early Years’, Youth Theatre Journal, Vol. 27, No. 2 (2013) pp.130-138

 Heinemann, Caroline. ‘Changing Spaces: A Theatrical Intervention in Nursery Schools’, Youth Theatre Journal. Vol. 27, No 2 (2013) pp.147 – 152.

Hanson, Nicholas. ‘Back to the Books: Evaluating the Economic Factors behind Literature-based Theatre for Young Audiences Productions’ in The Lion and the Unicorn, Vol. 36, No. 2 (April 2012) pp. 193-208