About the topic

Photo by Geraldine Heaney

With this topic, artists will explore how ideas around gender and sexual identity intersect with theatre and dance for young audiences.  We want to challenge the status quo and find out how we can use performance to explore gender and sexuality in work for children, and whether we should.

We want to ask difficult questions concerning taboos, stereotypes and archetypes within work for children, and interrogate where the boundaries lie between what is safe, subversive or wholly inappropriate.

We want to interrogate the ways we use bodies on stage and how we might use our art to create a space that resists or subverts the gender clichés and hetero-normative values that children are fed in their everyday lives.

We want to inspire artists to think differently about how they make work while taking responsibility for challenging portrayal of gender and sexuality. We want to look at visibility and representation, to challenge whose stories are being told.  While many European countries now have progressed human rights for LGBTQI people, the world of theatre and dance for children is still mostly portraying traditional families and girl-meets-boy stories.

We want to talk about making work that is relevant to all children, including the gender-variant child, the queer child, the homosexual child, the cis-gendered child who might feel constrained by the expectations inherent in being a girl or a boy.

If you are also interested in this topic, you can read the responses from the artists who took part in the PUSH Gender Lab here and read some of the related resources we are collecting here.