Going gaga over baby theatre | A List
Parents and their babies can expect more than a ball of a time at Air Play, a street theatre-inspired performance that is part of Imaginique Children’s Festival. (Photo: Imaginique Children’s Festival)

Going gaga over baby theatre | A List

Is it possible for a child to be young to get started on the arts? Going by a new children’s theatre festival opening in Singapore, 0-year-olds is not too young at all.

The Imaginique Children’s Festival, which runs from 13 to 22 Dec, offers lively theatre and music performances that cater to children aged 0 to 12. It is inspired by the “baby theatre” trend happening around the world and seen at children’s festivals such as Brisbane’s Out Of The Box Festival and Okinawa’s Ricca Ricca Festival.

But first, what is “baby theatre”? Imaginique’s festival consultant Annie Pek says: “Baby theatre is a condensation of reality for babies, the best way to tell them about life, about stories, through cognitive experiences. It taps on a human instinct and innate ability to tell stories, and to connect through non-verbal ways.”

She adds that theatre for the very young aims to spark their imagination and develop their curiosity. The programme at Imaginique includes shows and activities that are interactive and feature tactile experiences and visually stunning effects. The show, Air Play, a blend of circus and street theatre, for example, includes props such as balloons, giant kites and billowing fabrics.

Is baby theatre then, play disguised as art? No, says Ms Pek. It is structured learning through play. “Learning through play is of paramount importance for all children, and doing this through music, dance and movement adds new levels of engagement, development and discovery for young minds,” she says.

The experience, however, is not just for babies. It is as much for the adults, who will get to bond with their children and learn more about the little ones through the way they respond to the performance and express themselves through music, dance and art.

For first-time attendees of baby theatre, Ms Pek offers three tips: wear socks, because most shows have the audience seated on the floor and shoes have to be removed at the door; arrive early, so the children can settle down; and for adults, don’t be afraid to let out your inner child.

Details about Imaginique Children’s Festival here.

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