Since I became father I have enjoyed any moment. My daughter Sofia, 15 months, is simply a mystery of beauty.
I am Italian and we live in London. As the majority of parents, we want to give Sofia the best emotionally-nurturing, psychologically-balancing and socially-enriching experiences we can. Because Sofia’s beauty is a mystery, what me and my partner can do is to offer her the best stimuli we can, and she will deal with it her own way.
It was a Saturday, 11 am, Archway children centre. Sofia and me were there to attend to a “Early Years Theatre” performance by Elisa Fontana, an Italian artist from Verona.
Born in 1978 in Italy, Elisa works with contemporary artistic disciplines inventing formats which cross genres and approaches. Her work focuses on relational art with an inter-generational approach. She creates performances, installations, games and theoretical reflections about performing art.
In that page there is a detailed description of her biography.
In this page I wrote what I could see.
I often go to Round House or Jacksons Lane to enjoy circus and theatre, but Early years theatre has been, so far, something unique.
She performs in a small room of about 15 Sq m, at the same level of the audience: babies sit in front of the stage. They can easily walk through it and as you can imagine babies of such age (6 months to 2 years old) do not care much about being an obedient sitting spectator, but here comes the wisdom of Elisa’s approach.
She is not just an artist, but also a nursery teacher and she knows children very well.
In “The Danish way of parenting” the first chapter is dedicated to play: children learn through play. If you think for a moment it is obvious: babies do not know rules and when there are no rules everything is play. Stop a baby from playing and you will stop her learning process.
Elisa is a performer and an educator at the same time and when a child walks into the stage she plays with her without losing track of the show: the baby becomes, magically, part of the performance without stop learning.
Early years theatre is a unique moment for the life of children: music, nice objects, colourful lights, and an emotionally nurturing artist become a representation of reality, an opportunity to play and learn at the same time.
Last but not least babies have the opportunity to differentiate between the space of the stage and of the audience. It is scientifically proved that children start to build a coherent representation of reality very early, from about the 3rd month of life. With Elisa they perceive themselves into the show.
When Sofia attended to her first “Early Years Theatre” she was 6 months old and she learned to clap. Two days later we were at Jacksons Lane for a puppetry show and right after we sat, she started clapping! The show was not on yet, but she knew what her role was.
Elisa’s performances has been the best, more sophisticated, emotionally rich, and educationally interesting experience I’ve been able to offer to my daughter.