for the Youngest Audience
recent workshop at Khulna by Tittut, a Swedish puppet theatre
group with Rakhal (Dhaka) and Rupantar (Khulna) theatre group
focused mainly on puppet and shadow theatre. Organised by
Sweden International Theatre Institute and funded by SIDA
(Sweden's International Development cooperation), the workshop
was a part of the project called 'Children's Voice'.
imagination, the will to find new paths--these are the hallmarks
of Tittut, a puppet theatre company that has been performing
for 27 years. In the '70s Swedish theatre for children experienced
a boom and new theatres sprung up independent groups as well
as regional stages. It was the best climate for theatre companies
that worked with and for children, to flourish.
long history of the group runs parallel with a revised and
evolved view of young children.
prompted this effort to cater to the youngest audiences? Margareta
Sorenson, a member of the group says, "No other small
touring theatre company in Sweden had attempted such an approach.
With time, however, attitudes changed and others caught up
with Tittut. Today the general appreciation of the needs of
our very youngest audiences is far greater. But it certainly
took courage and eagerness to dare focus on the youngest audiences
and then in fact, it still does," she adds.
theatre? Ing-Mari Tiren, an artistic director of the group
says, "Because the youngest children (2-5 years) our
audience finds it easier to identify with the small, puppet
than with the big, adult actor. We use the hybrid form puppet/actor
to have eye contact with our audience and the ability to interact
on several levels."
theatre knows no boundaries -- everything is possible. Important
ingredients in our work are clean, clear shapes and colours;
clear and understandable language; rhyme and wordplay; nursery
rhymes, ditties and songs; music and humour. We want to meet
our audience with love and respect and make their first visit
to the theatre an important and fun event for the very young,"
27 years of existence,the Tittut has produced a number of
puppet shows based on stories that have become classics of
the new 'few-year-old' culture. Picture books have often provided
the basis or point of departure for the group's productions.
"A picture, some text and then we turn the page. New
picture, new text and so on," says Margareta. The
Wild Baby, The Cat's Journey, Little Tiger and Little Bear,
Little Sister Rabbit and Langel and the Horse are some
of its best- loved pieces. Christer Dahldramatist, dramaturge,
actor and a pillar of strength through the years, has transposed
an extensive body of literature for small children into well-crafted
plays. For its emphasis on colour and form, the spoken text
is rarely central for the audience, but it is nevertheless
a clear and powerful conveyor of the shape, thought, and world
of the drama. Leif Hultqvist has composed the music for almost
all of Tittut's productions: unique theatre music, mood-sustaining
and actively participating in the action.
it belonged to the modern puppet theatre of the late 20th
century, with its free open stage space in which puppets and
small figures interact side by side with puppeteers and actors.
Prominent artists have contributed stenography and puppets.
interest in scenic art for small children is considerable:
it is seen as both new and modern, both as theatre art and
as an expression of a contemporary, more egalitarian view
of children. Nor has it avoided the big issues in life, like
love and friendship, loneliness and doubt, fear and sorrow,"
of puppet theatre is international in a radically different
way from theatre in general. Tittut has toured abroad, performing
in English or French as needed, or relying on the expressiveness
of images and rhythm. It is an encouraging thought that this
little theatre, sometimes called Sweden's national stage for
the very youngest, has been one of the relatively few Swedish
theatres to reach out and give other countries a picture of
Sweden's rich theatrical life.
(R) thedailystar.net 2005