Mind the gap! Creating a community between teacher-actors and toddler-spectators in a performative event
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEducation Inquiry. 2012, 3 (3), 353-370.
This article is based on an inquiry into the framing of artistic effects in space and addresses the interactions between two-year-old children and adult performers. I discuss how the traditional communication gap between actor and audience can be surmounted. My study is a crossover between performance art and drama pedagogy, which I describe as an interactive scenic playground. I will discuss how toddlers can be active participants in performance art by employing the materials and actions used by skilled kindergarten teachers. Specifically, these include clearly expressing expected intentions, bodily behaviours and social interactions. The interactions of toddlers with performers challenge dramaturgy and actors. The aim of this study is to analyse staging strategies for the benefit of interaction as a participatory and democratic learning process. My empirical sources consist of video footage, observations and notes from the actor-teacher group that performed with the toddlers in two small groups. My results include the sensory and embodied nonverbal contributions of toddlers to performative meaning making as they interacted with both textiles and people and developed into a community.