The infant audience: The impact and implications of child development research on performing arts practice for the very young

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The advances of scientific techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging and functional magnetic resonance imaging have led to an enormous increase in understanding of the physical, neurological and cognitive developments in infancy. Alongside this, radical new forms of theatre, dance and music have emerged, aimed at this same age group. Many artists now work alongside child psychologists, educators and other infant specialists to design performing arts productions suited to the needs and abilities of the infant audience. This article provides a summary of the development of the five main senses in early infancy in relation to theatre-based productions for babies aged 0–18 months. An exploration into this cross-disciplinary research practice not only demonstrates how performing arts have adapted for the baby audience, but also how they can provide a platform for further research into child development.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-304
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 13 Jan 2016