Vol 8 (1995) Theatre for Children in the Nineties

In the Nordic countries, professional theatre for children and young people has grown during the past 25 years in terms of both quantity and quality. In a statistical analysis of the arts at the beginning of the 1990s, professional theatre performances for children and young people constituted the following proportions of all theatre performances.

Denmark 50 %

Finland 31 %

Norway 32 %

Sweden 45 %

In the Nordic countries there has been a tendency to abandon the kind  of performances put on by big theatres out of a sense of duty to children and young people. This tendency started at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s. In such performances young audiences were lulled into a fairytale world which had little to do with their own lives.

This abandonment was part of the “group-theatre-movement” focusing on specific target groups. Performances for children and young people started to be put on by small companies which toured schools, libraries and childcare centres, presenting themes taken from the real lives of audiences.

Running parallel to the development of anew type of theatre for children and young people (which was characterized by commitment, intimacy, frankness, the desire to communicate, and artistic innovation), the old established, institutionalized children’s theatre continued along its established course – a trend which was more vident in some countries than in others. As a result, children’s theatre in the Nordic countries today is truly pluralistic by nature. In addition, it is characteristics that some of the big theatres have built on the experience and visions of the new children’s theatre, and integrated them into their work.

However, there is still a distinctive difference between putting on theatre for children and young people out of a sense of duty (or even compunction), and doing so because you simply want to, or because you enjoy doing so. In children’s theatre levels of motivation and commitment vary hugely. (Continue reading the preface by Jørn Langsted in NTS vol 8…)


Jørn Langsted
Claus Chr. Reiche
Teatret Møllen’s Aesthetics – the Art of Telling a Story
Karin Helander
Through the Darkness out into the Light. Artistic Creation of Sorrow and Distress through Playful Imagination in Theatre for Children in Sweden
Kirsten Dahl
Generations, Philosophy and Persoanl Experience. Tredns in Danish Children’s Theatre Today Illustrated by Analysis of Lysthuset (The Summerhouse) by Theater La Balance
Margareta Wirmark
Children’s Theatre as Avantgarde. Staffan Westerberg’s Det blödande pepparkakshjärtat
Gudrun Milekic
Music Video Aesthetics and Postmodernism in Young People’s Theatre
Robert Lyons
A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a Factory and Vice-Versa. Backa Teater and Shakespeare
Thoralf Berg
Theatre Policy for Children. Norwegian Esperiences of Attitudes towards the Subsidized Theatres
Book Reviews