Through Children’s Eyes; School Children as theatre audiences.

2 – 3 July 2020
University of Exeter

A symposium hosted by Theatre Alibi in partnership with Exeter University and ASSITEJ UK

As school budgets are cut and arts in the curriculum are squeezed tight, what will be missed if school children lose access to theatre? We’ll be looking at the case for live performance having a considerable and lasting impact. Given that performances for school children are a way of reaching an exceptionally diverse audience, we’ll be exploring models that might allow the activity not only to survive but to thrive. Aimed at artists, programmers, policy makers, educators and academics, this is an opportunity to hear from UK and International speakers, to have discussions, to plan and to party.

Theatre Alibi have been taking shows into UK primary schools for over thirty five years and the symposium builds on PhD research, supported by Exeter University, revealing the impact of the company’s work.

Keynote by Sir Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo is an English author best known for his children’s novels such as War Horse and Private Peaceful. Morpurgo started his working life as a teacher and, realising the importance of storytelling in the classroom, began writing his own stories to share with his students. He has since written over 130 books, has been the Children’s Laureate and is one of the nation’s favourite authors.

Speakers include; 

Simon J. James
Professor James is the Principal Investigator and the Chair of the Research Team for the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education. The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education is a joint research collaboration between Durham University and Arts Council England, looking at the role creativity and
teaching for creative thinking should play in the education of young people. The Commission was convened in response to the strength of opinion across the business, education and public sectors that young people are emerging into a world in which the skills and knowledge of the current education system will no longer be sufficient. Its ultimate intention is to change government policy on education in and out of school.

Kate Cross
Kate Cross is Director of the egg at Theatre Royal Bath. Starting in 1998 as Head of Education she worked alongside Theatre Royal staff and Board to create and build the egg, which opened in 2005. She has overseen the launch of groundbreaking creative learning programme, School Without Walls, launched The Incubator Idea Development Programme and produced 8 touring productions, and enabled a great many more, recently extending beyond these shores. Prior to Bath she worked for Salisbury Playhouse, Colway Theatre Trust and Beaford Arts, amongst others. She is the current Chair of ASSITEJ UK, the national centre for the international network of Theatre for Young Audiences, ASSITEJ and was recently awarded an MBE for services to children’s theatre in Bath.

Henrik KØhler
Henrik KØhler is the CEO Teatercentrum, a competence centre for the dissemination of theatre for children and adolescents and organiser of the Danish Aprilfestival for theatre for Young audiences. Henrik has served as the chair for the Danish Children’s Theatre Organisation and for Scenit, an Organisation promoting sales, visibility, access to and documentation of performing arts. He has also served on the advisory board for the Danish National School of Performing Arts.

Monique Corvers
Monique Corvers is the Artistic Director and founder of Het Filiaal theatermakers. Characteristic of her directing style is the infectious love for the merging of music and theatre, of musicians and actors. The inspiring collaboration with the Hungarian-Canadian composer Gábor Tarján bears witness to this. Their joint productions excel in craftsmanship, humour, musicality and the use of powerful, almost cinematic images on stage. The last couple of years object theater (by associate artist Ramses Graus) and the use of live video have become more and more part of their signature style. Het Filiaal theatermakers is based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Monique’s shows, for example The great Illusionist, Miss Ophelia, Falling Dreams and Baron Rabinovitsj have toured the world, from Sydney to Shanghai, from New York to Moscow.

Matthew Reason
Matthew Reason is Professor of Theatre and Performance at York St John University (UK). His research engages with a number of areas across theatre, dance and performance studies, including: audiences’ research, theatre for children and young people, theatre and learning disabilities, and cultural policy. His work is often undertaken in collaboration with arts organisations and he is interested in the use of creative and participatory research methods designed to explore the impact of arts practice.

He is currently working on editing the Routledge Companion to Audiences and the Performing Arts and amongst other projects is working with Mind the Gap Theatre Company.

The Symposium will take place at Exeter University on Thursday the 2nd and Friday the 3rd of July. Registrations will open at 10:30am on Thursday 2nd of July and the event will end at 4pm on Friday 3rd of July.  Upon booking we will provide you with a list of accommodation options, including rooms within the University Campus. It is up to attendees to arrange their accommodation and travel.

A full timetable and breakdown of speakers will be available in the New Year.


Tickets are available for the full 2 day event.

A limited number of EARLY BIRD tickets are available at a cost of £90 including all fees and VAT. This price is available until the end of February 2020 or until all allocated early bird tickets are taken.

Full price ticket is £130 including fees and VAT.

Prices include a full pass to the 2 day symposium, lunches and refreshments.

There will be an evening reception on Thursday 2nd of July, time and location TBC.

Please see full terms and conditions before purchasing.

Buy tickets here: 

Supported by: Arts Council England, Exeter City Council and with thanks to Exeter Culture


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