children's theatre



  • Drama productions staged specifically for young people, a featureof the 20th-century theater. The British director and theater managerCaryl Jenner (1917 - 73) was the first to establish a professionaltheater for children in this country. She formed several touring companiesunder the title of the English Theatre for Children and in 1962 establishedthe Unicorn Theatre for Young People at the Arts Theatre,London. Plays presented there included Marged Smith's The WappyWater Bus (1965), John Arden's The Royal Pardon, or theSoldier Who Became an Actor (1967), and The Meg and Mog Show(1981) with Maureen Lipman. The Unicorn Theatre has alsoorganized workshops for children in such subjects as clown skillsand scenery painting. In 2005 it moved to a new purpose-builttheater on the South Bank of the Thames.

    Britain's National Youth Theatre, founded in 1955,established the Shaw Theatre Company in 1971 to perform plays suitablefor young audiences. The Young Vic was opened in 1970 asa theater specifically for young audiences.

    Children's theater has also flourished in America and ContinentalEurope. The famous Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia hasset aside a building for productions for children. In France, LéonChancerel's short-lived Théâtre de l'Oncle Sebastien (1935 - 39)had a particularly impressive record. Chancerel was later the moving forcebehind the International Association for Theatre and Young People (ASSITEJ),established in Paris in 1965; the organization is now active in over 70countries. see also TIE.