Through the international interest in productions like "WOODBEAT" and "H2O", the curiosity about HELIOS Theater's artistic approach has grown continously. Director Barbara Kölling, who developed the "material theatre" approach together with Michael Lurse, started mentoring young artists in the creation of theatre for the very young, starting from a material, in 2015
In India and South Africa, commited theatre makers have organized several workshop programmes:
With the help of Goethe Institut, Magnet Theatre from Cape Town has installed theatre for (very young) children in its artistic theatre training programme in 2015 and has created a platform for the international exchange between artists from different African countries. A first workshop took place in 2015. In 2016 and 2018, Barbara Kölling mentored artists from nine African countries – from Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, in the production of performances for the very young in Cape Town.
After the big success of a master class in Delhi in 2015, which was organized by UNIMA India, the puppet theatre Katkatha invited theatre makers from different fields to an intensive, 7 week long mentoring programme with Barbara Kölling in 2017/18.
In October 2019, a new project in Nigeria took place. The impulse came from a theatre maker who had participated in one of the international workshops in Cape Town. Professionals who were interested in Theatre for young audiences from all over Nigeria came together in Lagos. They tried and discussed different theatre forms, approaches and topics for and with young audiences.
From all these different collaborations, about 20 theatre productions for children have evolved – with a wide variety of materials like paper, clay, wool, stones, wood and plastic. They are played in kindergardens and theatre spaces, are invited to festivals and tour internationally. Additionally, some former participants have founded their own theatre festivals which focus on productions for children, also in their early years.
For HELIOS Theater, these workshops mean an intensive and fruitful exchange with the artistic approaches and perspectives of contemporary theatre makers in African countries and India.