In 2004, a part of the theatre festival “hellwach” was dedicated to the theatre for the very young. In 2005 the HELIOS Theater continued to examine theatre which seriously takes small spectators as recipients of art by organising “first steps” – an international symposium. Within this context the participants analysed the background of this theatre form and watched & discussed various productions of the kind.
In the following year HELIOS Theater became the German partner of the project „small size – the net“ (2006-2009). This network of seven European theatres was supported by the European Commission and was concerned with the diffusion of performing arts aimed at early childhood (0-6 years). Based on the successful work throughout the years, two follow-up projects were launched: „Small Size – Big Citizens“ (2009-2014) and "Small Size – Wide Eyes" (2014-2019). By then, the circle of theatres and partners had widened up to 17 theatres from 15 European countries. Since 2018, the network was able to start a new international research project: “MAPPING”. Four groups of four theatres from 16 different European countries and four theatre researchers investigate aspects of different theatrical means – sound, image, words and movement – in the theatre for early years. Barbara Kölling has the artistic direction of the “SOUND” group.
Also in Germany this topic was increasingly argued: In 2006 the Children and Youth Theatre Centre of the Federal Republic of Germany launched a two-years project called “Theatre from the beginning!”. HELIOS Theater was one of four partner theatres who developed productions in cooperation with a team of researchers who accompanied the artists and children scientifically.
In 2007, a country-wide conference took place in the theatre house in Hamm. Under the label “Art and creativity from the beginning” it was one of the first forums for discussions concerning the aesthetic education of small children with a range from theatre to music and visual arts.
Two films concerning the subject "theatre for the very young" were published by HELIOS Theater:
a scientific research relating to the HELIOS production for the smallest "WOODBEAT" called "interplay in the experimental ground of children's theatre" and "Woolgathering", a short documentary which provides an insight into the rehearsal process of "Follow the Yarn".