Blátha Bána ~ White Blossoms

Theatre for the Very Young

Support Organisations

Theatre for Young Audiences Ireland

TYA Ireland is the national association representing and promoting professional organisations and individual artists whose work primarily focuses on engaging Irish children and young people through theatre. TYA Ireland provides a crucial link between members, the arts sector, the wider community and government.

ASSITEJ International

ASSITEJ recognizes the right of all children and young people to enrichment through the arts and their own cultural traditions, especially theatre culture. Theatre respects its young audiences by presenting their hopes, dreams, and fears; it develops and deepens experience, intelligence, emotion, and imagination; it inspires ethical choices; it increases awareness of social relationships; it encourages self-esteem, tolerance, confidence, and the free expression of opinions. Above all, it helps future generations find their place and voice in society.

Small Size Network

Small size, the European Network for the diffusion of performing arts aimed at early childhood (0-6), provides a structure through which to meet, share expertise and exchange knowledge; to develop collaborative projects and disseminate information and research. Through its networking, Small Size aims to promote an awareness of the significance of performing arts for early childhood with objectives that include increasing children's creative potential along with the comparison of different European cultural traditions. 
In addition, it aims to give value to projects and events that support the development of training and educational programmes for early years educators and artists, and for producers and artists creating productions for the early childhood audiences through widening opportunities for research and collaboration.

Early Years Arts Ireland

Early Years Arts Ireland on FaceBook

Companies and Individuals whose practice influenced Blátha Bána-White Blossoms

La Baracca

La Baracca – Testoni Ragazzi. Founded in 1976, Italian company La Baracca has been working in the field of theatre for children and early years for the past 30 years. The company’s productions are addressed exclusively to children and young people, a nd they are centred on actors' theatre and on an original theatrical style.

Over the years, they have developed a poetics aimed at generating amazement, trying to pursue simplicity intended as essentiality, always paying special attention to the relationship with the audience.

Every year, new productions for all age groups are realised, for children attending crèches to secondary school students, as well as for those attending primary schools and kindergarten children.

To date, 31 theatrical seasons have been programmed in Bologna, and 9 in Medicina. Over 1,200,000 amongst children, youngsters and adults have taken part in them. The performances have been more than 5,000, for over 700 titles, presented by 450 Italian, European and extra-European companies.


To inspire children to engage with the world through their experience of the arts.

Baboró International Arts Festival for Children is Ireland’s flagship international arts festival d evoted exclusively to children and families. In 2012 they celebrate 16 years of presenting a multidisciplinary arts festival to thousands of children in Ireland from our base in Galway.

Baboró brings the most diverse selection of the finest in performing arts from Ireland and around the world to its annual one-week festival in Galway. The festival programme varies from year to year to bring a wide diversity of exposure to the arts especially created for young audiences and their families.

Théâtre La Guimbarde

The company was founded in 1973 with the objective to allow all children to be in contact with theatre, as spectators but also as participants.

The creations of La Guimbarde (more that seventy since the foundation of the company) were born from a desire to help children to have a better understanding of the world in which they live.

They also pioneered in Belgium the creation of a theatrical experience for the very young (0 to 3 yrs). Since 2000 La Guimbarde has made eight productions for children of crèche-going age for the festival "L’art et les tout-petits", organized in May, which gives exposure to the vitality of this art throughout Europe.

Karina Naumer

Karina Naumer, M.F.A., a long-standing member of AATE, has served on the Board as the project chair, and in 2009, the co-chair of the AATE and ATHE joint

Conference, Risking Innovation in New York City. She is a teaching artist and professional developer with Lincoln Center Theater, an adjunct faculty member with City College of New York, and an educator with Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers. She also leads professional trainings with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia and with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts in Vienna, Virginia. Karina was the founder and, for thirteen years, the director of the Creative Arts Team/New York City Wolf Trap Program: Early Learning through the Arts. In 2001, she was awarded the American Alliance for Theatre and Education’s Creative Drama Award for outstanding excellence in the field. She holds a M.F.A degree in Child Drama from Arizona State University.

Suzanne Osten

Award winning director and writer of theatre and film - Artistic Director of Unga Klara theatre company since 1975 - Professor in Directing, Dramatic Institute, Stockholm 1996-2009 - Swedish Research council, member of the Group for Artistic Research, 2001-2007
Honorary doctor, Lund University, 2002

Suzanne Osten initiated Sweden’s first independent theatre company in the 60’s. She has been a pioneering Artistic Director of Unga Klara since 1975 and has transformed the nature and status of children’s theatre in Sweden and internationally. Osten has received numerous awards worldwide for her work in theatre and film, particularly her work in children’s theatre. She is also a writer of several books and screenplays. Furthermore, she lectures and conducts workshops worldwide.


Starcatchers is a pioneering organisation which specialises in performances and creativity for babies, toddlers and young children under the age of 5 in Scotland.

Starcatchers works in partnership with artists, arts centres, child-care settings and families to develop innovative and inspiring creative experiences and performances for this amazing audience to enjoy with their parents, carers, families and educators.

Their work is designed to nurture young children's creative and cognitive development, sparking their imaginations. In a broader sense, the work allows the artists to connect with new audiences, support artists' and educator's creativity and contribute to the development of early years creativity and performance in Scotland.

Select Bibliography of Influential Reasearch/Documentation of Work for the Young and, in particular, the Early Years

General Arts Research Listings

National Arts and Humanities Youth Programme Awards (general listing of research)

Americans for the Arts (general listings on Arts & Education/young people)

National Endowment for the Arts (general listings of research reports)

Arts Education Partnership (general publication listings)

Understanding Quality in Arts Provision

The Qualities of Quality - Understanding Excellence in Arts Education

Australian Education Review

Gifts of the Muse:Reframing the Debate about the Benefits of the Arts

(In book form) Theatre for the Very Young

All publications from the Small Size Network

Instrumental Benefits

Critical Evidence - how the arts benefit student achievement

Learning, the Arts and the Brain

Making Music Together Increases Kids' Empathy
Read the abstract

(Economic) An assessment of the economic impact of the arts in Ireland - an update report for 2011.

Neurological studies and brain development In particular her DVD 'The Connected Baby'

Arts Participation and Cultural Entitlement

Beyond attendance - a multi-modal understanding of arts participation

Points of Alignment - The Report of the Special Committee on the Arts and Education 2008

More recently, 2012 The Arts in Education Charter

(In book form) Reggio Emilia

Loris Malaguzzi and the Reggio Emilia Experience : Continuum Library of Educational Thought Vol.23
Hall, Horgan, Ridgeway, Murphy, Cunneen and Cunningham
Continuum Publishing London 2010

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

The Hundred Languages of Childen:The Reggio Emilia Approach - Advanced Reflections
eds. Edwards, Gandini, Forman 2nd Edition Ablex Publishing USA

Child Protection Policies and Procedures

There are many excellent documents on the Arts Council’s website
These also include Artists in Schools Guidelines which look at models of good practice.