We hope that the following resources are of interest to practitioners, students and academics alike. We have outlined an annotated selection of books published on the subject of theatre for the young in the UK, listed according date (most recent first). This is followed by suggestions of journals on the topic. Finally, a full list of publications on theatre for the young and related topics is listed. This includes journal articles, chapters, reports and books published in the UK and internationally. These are organised according to topic and listed alphabetically and although most are published in English, some texts are German, French and Dutch.

Our aim is to give the most inclusive and comprehensive collection of literature in the field. We would be very grateful for any further suggestions and additions. Please send any suggestions (in the same format as found in the current bibliography) to:

Selected Publications:

book picture2Theatre for Young Audiences: A critical handbook. Edited by Tom Maguire and Karian Schuitema.

The volume, published in 2013, collates new and original work on a range of topics important to the field of theatre for the young. It includes chapters on theatre and ownership, active spectatorship and audience interaction, as well as focusing on specific young audiences, such as audiences with profound disabilities, non-verbal audiences and teenagers. The book considers creative methods such as using ‘child’s play’ to create plays for the child, as well as the development of understandings concerning the young audience’s perception of work created for them, using interviews and the child’s drawings. Contributions deal with the questions of how to connect teenagers with Shakespeare’s work and how theatre can engage with children in a globalised and multicultural society. Additionally, chapters consider the work for young audiences staged by the National Theatre and the current status of Theatre in Education in the UK.

Due to the wide range of topics, this edited collection will appeal to academics, students and theatre practitioners working within the field of theatre for the young. Also educators interested in the benefits of school related theatre visits and the young audiences’ engagement with performances created specifically for them, would find the book a rich source of information. This publication can be recognised as part of a growing interest in theatre for young audiences as an academic topic.


David Wood, Foreword

1   Karian Schuitema and Tom Maguire, Introduction

2   Tom Maguire, There is no audience: meeting the dramaturgical challenges of the spectator in children’s theatre

3   Matthew Reason, The possibility of theatre for children

4   James Reynolds, Theatre for young audiences at London’s National Theatre

5   Peter Wynne-Willson, The Peter Pan approach: creating plays for children from children’s play

6   Dominic Hingorani, Creating emotionally challenging theatre work for a diverse teenage audience

7   Karian Schuitema, Intercultural performances for young audiences in the UK: engaging with the child in a globalised society

8   Gill Brigg, White Peacock: a play for audiences with complex disabilities: rising to the challenge of Article 31

9   Tim Webb, Impossible audiences: The Oily Cart’s theatre for infants, people with complex   disabilities and other young audiences who are primarily non-verbal

10   Geoffrey Readman, ‘All this and more’: learning through participation in Theatre in Education

11   David Broster, Being there: an examination of how children respond and interact to an immersive theatre environment

12   Jan Wozniak, Starting with Shakespeare: performative writing, Shakespeare and young audiences

13   Jeanne Klein, Interviewing children after performances

Please click here for a flyer and order form

Reason bookThe Young Audience: exploring and enhancing children’s experiences of theatre by Matthew Reason (Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books, 2010)

Matthew Reason’s book The Young Audience: exploring and enhancing children’s experiences of theatre, is arguably one of the most important texts for anyone studying and researching theatre for the young. Addressing fundamental questions regarding the child’s experience of theatre, the book illustrates how empirical research can reveal the way children process what they see on stage but also how listening to the experience of children can empower them in relation to their cultural participation. Methodologically, Reason asked children to draw their interpretations of a performance they had attended and encouraged them to talk about their drawings during the process. As he illustrates in his book, these drawings do not just reveal the child’s highly individual theatrical experience but also the young audiences’ creativity in interpreting, elaborating and making a story their own. Reason discusses the essential questions concerning the context of theatre for the young with topics such as theatre for children and education, audience development and cultural rights as well as quality in theatre for children. The book responds to Jacqueline Rose’s assertion that children’s fiction is impossible because it relies on a power imbalance where the child is constructed as powerless, voiceless and innocent. Importantly, Reason argues that without asking children what they think of theatre created for them, the young audience will continue to be constructed as passive, dismissing the individuals ‘lived’ experience (p.170). Instead, Reason illustrates in his research how children can be given an active role and become empowered as self-reflective audience members (p.172).

theatre_for_children_and_young_peopleTheatre for Children and Young People. Edited by Stuart Bennett (London: Aurora Metro Publications, 2005)

This 2005 publication brings together a collection of discussions and appreciations of the developments of children’s theatre in the UK. Voiced by some of the main figures and companies that are involved in creating theatre for young audiences in the UK, the book gives an insight into how versatile and resourceful theatre for the young has become. The publication focuses on a very broad spectrum of issues such as writing for young audience, adapting material for performances, building specialist theatres, theatre for special audiences and educational theatre. The introduction by Stuart Bennett, a key figure in the field, follows the history of theatre for children and young people, illustrating the importance of funding for this art form.

9781566632331Theatre for Children, A Guide to Writing, Adapting, Directing and Acting by David Wood with Janet Grant (London: Faber & Faber, 1997)

This very practical guide, first published in 1997, gives a grounded insight into the art of making theatre for children. Although the book primarily deals with the creation of performances for a child audience, the detailed information shared by an experienced practitioner in this type of theatre will nevertheless be useful for many readers. For example, part two, which analyses the child audience, looks at what children seem to like and dislike on stage and describes the importance of anthropomorphic tales, fear, humour and ‘suddenlies’ (explained as “shifting gear with a logical jolt, [which] helps to hold the attention of the audience” (p.38). It is a very interesting personal interpretation of the particularities of young audiences and what ‘good’ theatre for children should entail, written with a desire to promote and sustain quality theatre for the young.

Alan England

 Theatre for the Young by Alan England (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1990)

This book, published in 1990, represents one of the first studies into theatre for the young in the UK. Alan England recognises theatre for teenagers and children as a distinct phenomenon that differs from theatre created for adults and he offers a brief overview of the historic development in the UK. He also suggests a methodology for the field, which he describes as ‘considered reviewing’ in turn established by John Russell Brown (p.3). England argues that this methodology can address the temporal nature of performance, the interpretation of gesture and sign and the interaction between performers and audiences. As part of this methodology England places his own personal experiences next to his observations of staging effects, interviews with directors, actors and writers (p.4). The book is a clear outcome of his approach and is certainly of interest to researchers in this field.

brian way Audience Participation by Brian Way (Boston: Walter H. Baker, 1981)

Brian Way’s book Audience Participation was published in 1981. Although written more than 30 years ago it is a very interesting text that deals with relevant issues regarding the acknowledgement and inclusion of young audiences in theatrical productions created specifically for them. Way, who is often credited with establishing the Theatre in Education movement, established Theatre Centre in 1953 and is considered a key figure of children’s theatre in the UK. Interestingly the book presents a strong argument in terms of avoiding educational motives overshadowing artistic quality, as Way uses George Eliot’s words to describe this as “a picture turning into a graph” (p.144). In first instance this is a practical handbook in terms of creating theatre for young audiences with participatory aspects. At the same time this publication reflects the observations and considerations of Way during his respected career, illustrating some of the philosophies behind creating work for young audiences. For example the publication has an interesting discussion on specific age categories (p84-89) and post mortem discussions after a performance (arguing this is glorified with the title of research) in which he feels young people are forced to intellectualise an experience that is emotional and spiritual as well as one of the mind (p.60-61). It is certainly worth locating and reading this book if you are interested in creating or researching theatre for young people.


coverYouth Theatre Journal

Issues of particular interest:

Volume 23, Issue 1, 2009

  • Geesche Wartemann, Theatre as Interplay: Processes of Collective Creativity in Theatre for Young Audiences
  • Manon van de Water, TYA as Cultural Production: Aesthetics, Meaning, and Material Conditions
  • Roger L. Bedard, The Cultural Construction of Theatre for Children and Young Audiences: A Captive Eddy of Recursive Harmonies
  • Evelyn Goldfinger, TV-theatre: TV Presence in Contemporary Theatre for Children and Young Audiences in Buenos Aires
  • Merete Elnan, Staging the Impossible for Young Audiences: Preliminary Findings in a Research Project
  • Annie Giannini, Young, Troubled, and Queer: Gay and Lesbian Representation in Edward Roy’s The Other Side of the Closet and Sara Greafe’s Yellow on Thursdays
  • Jeanne Klein; Shifra Schonmann, Theorizing Aesthetic Transactions from Children’s Criteria Values in Theatre for Young Audiences

Volume 27, Issue 2, 2013

  • Manon van de Water & Geesche Wartemann, Art Meets Research: The International Symposium on Concepts, Contexts, and Methods of Research in Theatre for Young Audiences, April 22, 2013, University of Hildesheim, Germany
  • Wolfgang Schneider, TYA as Cultural Policy
  • Sibylle Peters, Participatory Children’s Theatre and the Art of Research: The Theatre of Research/Das Forschungstheater 2003–2013
  • Manon van de Water, Approaching Theory: Scholar and Practitioner
  • Geesche Wartemann, “Not All Performing Is Acting”1: Models of Theatre as Research in Contemporary Theatre for Young Audiences
  • Ben Fletcher-Watson, Toward a Grounded Dramaturgy: Using Grounded Theory to Interrogate Performance Practices in Theatre for Early Years
  • James T. Burling, Youth Performance in Virtual Environments
  • Caroline Heinemann, Changing Spaces: A Theatrical Intervention in Nursery Schools
  • Heather Fitzsimmons Frey, A Playmaking Research Journey Into Canada’s North: Kangiqsujuaq
  • John D. Newman, Examining the Dynamics of Coaching and Mentoring Students in a Performance Class: A Review of The Heart of Teaching: Empowering Students in the Performing Arts, by Stephen Wangh
  • Erika Hughes, A Review of Playing With Purpose: Adventures in Performative Social Science, by Mary M. Gergen and Kenneth J. Gergen
  • Jennifer Chapman, A Review of Theatre, Youth, and Culture: A Critical and Historical Exploration, by Manon van de Water

TYA Today (USA/ Assitej)

SCYPT (Theatre in education) re-named New Voices

See for information:

Resource list:

Theatre for the young general

Eek, Nat, Ann M. Shaw and Katherine Krzys, Expanding the New Audience for Theatre: The History of ASSITEJ (Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 2011)

Goldberg, Moses. Children’s Theatre: A Philosophy and a Method (Prentice Hall, 1974)

Goldberg, Moses. TYA: Essays on the Theatre for Young Audiences (Louisville: Anchorage, 2006)

Gubar, Marah. ‘Introduction: Children and Theatre’, in The Lion and the Unicorn, Vol. 36, No. 2 (April 2012) pp. v-xiv

Hartnoll, Phyllis and Peter Found. ‘Children’s Theatre’ in The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992)

Panken, Ton. Geschiedenis van het Jeugdtheater (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Boom, 1998)

Schonmann, Shifra. Theatre as a Medium for Children and Young People: Images and Observations (New York: Springer, 2006)

Schneider, Wolfgang and Tony Mack (eds.) Next Generation In Theatre for Children and Young People: The Assitej Book 2006/2007 (Croatia: ASSITEJ Croatia/ Theatre Epicentre, 2007)

van de Water, Manon. Theatre, Youth, and Culture: A Critical and Historical Exploration (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012)

Audience studies

Deldime, Roger and Jeanne Pigeon. ‘The Memory of the Spectator’, Contemporary Theatre Review Vol. 10, Part 2 (200) pp. 75-84

Heteren, Lucia and Annemarie van Wenzel. Jeugdtheater, Kinderen en hun Binnenwereld (Groningen: Uitgeverij Passage, 2002)

Klein, Jeanne. ‘Children’s Processing of Theatre as a Function of Verbal and Visual Recall’ Youth Theatre Journal Vol. 2, No. 1 (1987) pp 9-13

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:

Theatre for very young audiences

Ball, Steve, Jo Belloli, Selene Burn and Peter Wynne-Willson. Charting Antarctica: Another stepping-stone across the landscape of early years theatre. Conference Report (2007) Report can be found at:

Ben Soussan, Patrick. ‘Théâtre jeune public: interdit aux moins de 3 ans?’, Spirale, Vol. 35, No. 3 (2005) pp. 43-61.

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.

Morton, S. The playground: Evaluation report. Edinburgh: Starcatchers project. (2014) Report can be found at:

Nerattini, Francesca (ed.) Theatre and Early Years: Stories of Artistic Practices (Bologna: Pendragon, 2009)

Schneider, Wolfgang (ed.)Theatre for Early Years: Research in Performing Arts for Children from Birth to Three (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2009)

Young, Susan. Sticky Fingers and Toes Project: Final Report (2008) Report can be found at:

Young, Susan and Dr Niki Powers. See Theatre: Play Theatre Research Report. (2008) Report can be found at:

Young, Susan. ‘It’s a bit like flying’: developing participatory theatre with the under-twos: a case study of Oily Cart,’ in Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2004) pp. 13-28

Political children’s theatre

Benjamin, Walter. ‘Program for a Proletarian Children’s Theater,’ Translated by Susan Buck-Morss. Performance 1 (March–April 1973) pp. 28–32

Benjamin, Walter. Über Kinder, Jugend und Erziehung (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1970)

Zipes, Jack D. ‘Political Children’s Theater in the Age of Globalization,’ Theater Vol. 33, No. 2 (Summer 2003) pp. 3-25

Multicultural, intercultural and international theatre for the young

Grady, Sharon A. and Phillip B. Zarrilli. ‘…It Was Like a Play in a Play in a Play! Tales from South Asia in a Intercultural Production,’ in TDR (1988-), Vol. 38, No. 3 (Autumn, 1994)

Semple, Maggie. ‘Arts Education and Cultural Diversity,’ Black Theatre in Britain (ed.) A. Ruth Tompsett, Performing Arts International, Vol. 1, Part 2 (1996) pp. 35-41

Schuitema, Karian. ‘The Possibility of an Intercultural Children’s Theatre in Britain’, in The Sands of Time, Children’s Literature: Culture, Politics and Identity (ed.) Plastow, Jenny and Margot Hillel (Hertfordshire: University of Herfordshire Press, 2010)

Literature on theatre companies

Brown, Mark (ed.) Oily Cart: All sorts of theatre for all sorts of kids (London: IOE Press and Trentham Books, 2012)

Cahiers. Jeugdtheater Geen Kinderspel (Amsterdam: Nederlands Theater Instituut, 1991)

Deldime, Roger. Les jeunes au pays du théâtre (Carnières-Morlanwelz: Lansman, 2006)

Deldime, Roger. La montagne magique An 15: Ode à la rencontre du théâtre avec l’éducation (Carnières-Morlanwelz: Lansman, 2001)

Harman, Paul (ed.) A Guide to UK Theatre for Young Audiences: 2009/2011 (Twickenham: Aurora Metro Publications, 2009)

Theatre Centre. 1953-1993: 40 Years of Professional Theatre for Young People Told by the People who Created it (London: Theatre Centre, 1993)

Turner, Oliver. Theatre in Edudation at the Belgrade: Building on our Heritage (November, 2010) Pdf available at:

Whybrow, Nicolas (ed.) Blah Blah Blah: Stories of a theatre company 1985-1995 (Leeds: Alumnus, 1996)

Other topics within theatre for the young

Braverman, Danny (ed.) Inclusive theatre for young audiences (2012) Report available at:

Fletcher-Watson, Ben. ‘From stage to screen: adapting a children’s theatre production into a digital toy’, The Scottish Journal of Performance, Vol. 1, No. 2 (2014) pp. 37-62.

Hanson, Nicholas. ‘TYA = i: Assessing the Fair Market Value of Young People’,  Canadian Theatre Review. Vol.150 (2012) pp. 47-52.

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

Rokach, Ami and Raan Matalon. ‘Tails’ – A fairy tale on furry tails:
A 15-year theatre experience for hospitalized children created by health professionals’ in Paediatr Child Health, Vol 12, No 4 (April 2007)

Schuitema, Karian.‘Staging and Performing His Dark Materials: From the National Theatre Productions to Subsequent Productions’, in Critical Perspectives on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials (ed.) Steve Barfield and Katherine Cox (Jefferson and London: McFarland and company, 2011)

Theatre for the young outside the UK

Behr, Michael. Kinder im Theater: Pädagogisches Kinder- und Jugendtheater in Deutschland (Frankfort: Fischer Taschenbuch, 1985)

Boonstra, Bregje, Dennis Meyer and Berthe Spoelstra (ed.) Uitgelicht: Nederlands jeugdtheater anno 2002 (Amsterdam: Uitgerij Internation Theatre and Film Books, 2002)

Richard, Jörg. Jugend- Theatre (Frankfurt am Main: Haag und Herchen, 1996)

Steenberghe, Els Van (ed.) Groot Toneel (Antwerpen: Bebuquin, 2003)

Strüver, Anke. ‘Everyone Creates one’s Own Borders’: The Dutch- German Borderland as Representation,’ in Geopolitics, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Autumn 2004)

Swortzell, Lowell. Ed. International Guide to Children’s Theatre and Educational Theatre: A Historical and Geographical Source Book (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1990)

Drama studies, educational and applied theatre

Ackroyd, Judith. Research Methodologies for Drama Education (Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books, 2005)

Coventon, John (ed.) A London Drama Guide to Excellent Practice in Drama for Young People (Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books, 2010)

Dawson, Kathryn and Daniel A. Kelin (ed.) The Reflexive Teaching Artist: Collected Wisdom from the Drama/Theatre Field (Bristol: Intellect, 2014)

Duffy Peter and Elinor Vettraino (ed.) Youth and Theatre of the Oppressed (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

Gupta, Amita. ‘Vygotskian perspectives on using dramatic play to enhance children’s development and balance creativity with structure in the early childhood classroom’ in Early Child Development and Care, Vol. 1, No 13 (2008) Available to read at:

Hammond, Nick. Forum Theatre for Children: Enhancing social, emotional and creative development (London: IOE Press and Trentham Books, 2015)

Jackson, Tony (ed.) Learning Through Theatre: New Perspectives on Theatre in Education (London: Routledge, 1993 second edition 2003)

Jackson, Anthony and Chris Vine (ed.) Learning Through Theatre: The Changing Face of Theatre in Education (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2013)

Lazarus, Joan. Signs of Change – New Directions in Theatre Education, Revised and Amplified Edition (Bristol and Chicago: Intellect, 2012)

Neelands, Jonothan. Creating Democratic Citizenship Through Drama Education (Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books, 2010)

Nicholson, Helen. Applied Drama: The gift of theatre (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)

Nicholson, Helen. Theatre and Education (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Nicholson, Helen. Theatre, Education, and Performance – The Map and the Story (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

Schonmann, Shifra (ed.) Key Concepts in Theatre / Drama Education (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2011)

Taylor, Philip and Christine D. Warner (eds.) Structure and Spontaneity: The Process Drama of Cecily O’Neill (Stoke on Trent: Trentham, 2006)

Wooster, Roger. Contemporary Theatre in Education (Bristol: Intellect, 2007)

Zipes, Jack D. Speaking Out: Storytelling and Creative Drama for Children (New York: Routledge, 2004)

Essential literature in related fields

Cunningham, Hugh. Children & Childhood in Western Society Since 1500 (London: Longman, 1995)

Cassidy, Claire. Thinking Children: The Concept of ‘Child’ from a Philosophical Perspective (London: Continuum, 2009)

Fraser, Sandy. Vicky Lewis, Sharon Ding, Mary Kellett and Chris Robinson (ed.) Doing Research with Children and Young People (London: Sage Publication, 2004)

Greene, Sheila and Diane Hogan (ed.) Researching Children’s Experiences (London: Sage, 2005)

Hunt, Peter (ed.) Understanding Children’s Literature (London and New York: Routledge, 2005)

James, Allison, Alan Prout and Chris Jenks. Theorizing Childhood (Cambridge: Cambridge Polity Press, 1998)

Rose, Jacqueline. The Case of Peter Pan, or, The Impossibility of Children’s Fiction (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983, second edition 1993)

Slade, Peter. Child Drama (London: University of London Press, 1955)

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