PUSH EU project (2016-18)

PUSH was 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 was 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 focused 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:

• Gender – Using performance to explore gender with children… asking the difficult questions concerning taboos within children's work and exploring what is safe and appropriate.
• Migration – 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.
• (over)protection – 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 involved 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

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.

You can read more about the project here:

Executive Summary

PUSH - Project Evaluation

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