PUSH EU project

PUSH is an ambitious artist development project investing in the careers and work practices of artists working in the area of theatre and dance for young audiences, both in their own countries and internationally.

There is a desire in the children’s theatre and dance sector, to create work that is excellent and relevant, which tells a more diverse range of stories, and reflects the experiences and lives of us all. PUSH is a 2-year project to ‘push’ and develop thinking, ideas and the artforms within theatre and dance for children and young people in Europe.

PUSH will focus on three topics that are currently underexplored in work for young audiences – creating space to research, investigate and initiate new artistic ideas in these areas:

  •  Identity – Using performance to explore gender with children… asking the difficult questions concerning taboos within children's work and exploring what is safe and appropriate.
  •  Borders – Asking how we can talk about migration and asylum with audiences, including minority voices, in a sector that is not yet diverse and a context that is highly political.
  • ‘Safety Zones’ – Investigating how we can protect children without restricting their childhood, balancing risk and protection, wildness and safety and taking shows outside theatre spaces.

The project involves a number of internationally renowned partners, each leaders in their own right:
  •   Imaginate Festival, Scotland
  •   The Ark, Ireland
  •   Krokus festival, Belgium
  •   Aaben Dans, Denmark
  •   SWOP/Showbox, Norway

Aideen Howard, Director of The Ark said “The Ark is committed to making great art for our audiences and this award will allow us to invest in the practice and professional development of Irish artists over the next 2 years. Together with our European colleagues we look forward to strengthening the connections and networks between The Ark, Imaginate, Krokus, Aaben Dans and SWOP. We hope that this international engagement will deepen the knowledge and capacity of Irish artists making work for children.”

The Ark’s involvement in this exciting project is part of its ongoing work to promote children's right to culture. As Ireland’s only dedicated cultural centre for children, we are at the forefront of commissioning and presenting new artistic work for children and families. Work covers a wide variety of areas including theatre, film, music, visual arts, literature, multimedia and digital.

More information about PUSH:
PUSH will run over 2 years from autumn 2016 to spring 2018. It will include three artist training labs (with funded places for 42 artists), 8 networking events, 8 public events, a bespoke website and a documentary film. It will also offer funded places for 35 artists to attend major arts festivals for children in each of the five partner countries - including the Theatre for Children Season of Dublin Theatre Festival which is curated by The Ark. Funded places will be offered to artists from all 5 partner countries - Scotland, Belgium, Ireland, Norway and Denmark.

PUSH’s objectives

  • To initiate new ideas for theatre and dance for young audiences.
  • To create positive and open spaces to pilot new ideas/experiments with audiences.
  • To offer high quality training and peer-to-peer learning for European artists and practitioners.
  • To create a visible network of artists, peers, organisations and festivals across the EU.
  • To enhance the international career potential for artists through opportunities to find new collaborators and new markets for their productions.
  • To build stronger and more diverse partnerships, using the PUSH opportunities to build connections in parts of the EU where our connections are not yet as strong.

Want to find out more? Check out the official project website for full updates and resources or follow @PushEU on social media for updates.

PUSH is funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union

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