Theatre for the youngest audiences


Big International Research Project

This year, "MAPPING" has startetd: a big international research project about the theatre for early years. It aims at the investigation of artistic means in the theatre for the little ones, accompanied by scientistic research.

From 2019 to 2022, 19 theatres and festivals from 17 countries are working together with theatre researchers from the worldwide network ITYARN. They develop theatre productions and organize festivals especially for very young children. Over the four years, they will investigate artistic means with regard to the different modes of sensory reception they address in four working groups: sound/music, image/stage, text/story and movement/dance.

HELIOS Theater will work on sound, music and listening with three partner theatres, Kolibri Theatre from Budapest/Hungary, Toihaus Theater from Salzburg/Austria and Teater Tre from Stockholm/Sweden. Barbara Kölling, director and artistic director of HELIOS Theater, will make the artistic concept for this research group. A theatre researcher will accompany the group with scientific questions.

Funded by

small size

International exchange in theatre for early years

From 2006 to 2018, HELIOS Theater was the German partner in three international projects, "small size", funded by the European Union. Back in 2006, seven theatres from seven countries started an exchange about theatre for children from 0-6 years of age. In a first and second project ("small size – the net" and "small size – big citizens"), the partners successfully developed (co-)productions, organized festivals and held symposia where they discussed cultural political developments and artistic questions together. In 2014, a third project was funded by the EU: "small size – wide eyes" was running until 2018 and focused on spreading the experiences in the theatre for early years that the now 15 partners had gathered.

More information about small size can be found on

Out of the EU projects, the small size network evolved: a worldwide association of theatre makers who create work for the very young. Information about the small size network can be found here:


Forming and Fading

The HELIOS Theater Hamm performs big themes for the youngest audiences – and for everyone else

The crowded foyer of the HELIOS Theaters in Hamm is thick with suspense. A good forty small and just as many big visitors are sitting on small benches. They have arrived in good time on this Sunday morning to wait for H2O to begin... 

Click here to read more.

By Erpho Bell (story editor), 2013, published in: "About the work of HELIOS Theater"


About the Mentoring Process in South Africa

In 2016, Barbara Kölling and Anna-Sophia Zimniak were invited to Cape Town, South Africa by Magnet Theatre. In a six week workshop funded by the Goethe Institut, 18 young theatre practitioners from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Kenya and Nigeria developed four plays for children from 2 years and up. Barbara Kölling mentored the working process of the four groups for two weeks. In an interview, she describes her experiences from this work.

To read the interview, please click here.



The short documentary follows the HELIOS ensemble's investigation of the material wool and develops its own cinematographic perspective on the material. The focus is not so much on the development of the performance, but on the relationship between material, artists and audience. The film was created by two young filmmakers of Ruhr University Bochum: Stoyan Radoslavov and Damian W. Gorczany.

You can buy the film in the office of HELIOS Theater. Tel.: 02381 926837 oder

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