From cradle to stage: how early years performing arts experiences are tailored to the developmental capabilities of babies and toddlers

Ben Fletcher-Watson, Sue Fletcher-Watson, Marie Jeanne McNaughton, Anna Birch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Theatre for early years (TEY) has become increasingly popular around the world in the last 30 years but has struggled with legitimation. Scholars have challenged TEYs validity and have declared performance to children aged younger than 3 years to be frivolous or even impossible. However, new models of aesthetic sensitivity and intersubjectivity have become allied with artistic practice, as artists choose to collaborate with developmental specialists. This article provides case studies of recent early years performances and explores how they have been tailored to specific developmental stages throughout early childhood. The authors propose that this comparison of the routes by which contemporary artists combine age appropriateness, accessibility, and aesthetic validity may define two alternative models of current praxis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-146
Number of pages17
JournalYouth Theatre Journal
Issue number2
Early online date22 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • early years education
  • performing arts
  • Theatre for early years
  • TEY
  • child development

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