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Steps in the art process

Steps in the art process

Feltöltve 2022. szeptember 12.

Terka Láposi (leader of the art process):



Our first creative day - 23 May 2022


Róbert Júlia, Bartal Kiss Rita, Asbóth Anikó, Oláh-Bebesi Bori and Láposi Terka met in Vojtina.


 We received a humorous, excitingly varied script from Julia, which follows the children's original utterances in every aspect (see separate report on the method of writing the script here)


We have detailed and interpreted the main themes and sub-themes developed by the researchers, the range of activities experienced by the children (see separate summary of the researchers' main themes and sub-themes here)



Our second Creative Day - 30-31 May 2022

Visits to two kindergartens in Debrecen.

(Százszorszép) Daisy Kindergarten (30 May), Ispotály Kindergarten (31 May).

Aim of the visit: to experience how a passage of a textbook written from children's stories affects the age group of the research participants.

Four of us joined the researchers in the kindergartens. We selected a passage from the script and shared it with the groups of children. After reading the passages, we were curious to see how the kindergartners perceived their own reference groups, their own age peers and their own stories on the plane of their individual interpretations. We were also interested to see how their "story interpretation" reflects back on us, on the creators. We used different text blocks in each of the four groups of children, precisely in order to get a sense of the children's reflections on a broader horizon. As a conclusion to the collaboration with the children, we asked them to create and draw for us the stories we had presented. We plan to use these creations in the theatre performance.

Our experiences with children in the kindergartens have opened up several new perspectives for us in the creative process: the freedom of creating a play space, the importance of showing the relationships between child and child, the metaphorical possibilities of visual representation.

The most important thing was that for us, theatre people, the text, which tended to be taken precisely from life and therefore sometimes theatrically dry, gained depth among the children, expanded, and was further broken down into layers. The children continued a story element, adding humour to it, adding gestures and colouring it up.

Steps in the art process

Group photo in the Ispotály Kindergarten

Participants of the Children's Voices project in one of the kindergartens in Debrecen (researchers, members of the creative workshop and kindergarten teachers)

Our third creative day - 23 June 2022

The creative group met in Vojtina.

Our questions and ideas:

We analysed the text from scene to scene, looking for the images behind the text and the peculiarities of the formal language. We selected three scenes that we plan to show at the conference in October.

We decided to respect the children's stories in the concept of staging, so it was important to stick to the text. However, verbatim theatre as a genre does not exclude the possibility of moving away from the text, and the interpretation of images and space away from realistic, overly concrete visual formulations and representations, in fact…!

We plan to define the visual language of form in terms of children's visuality, symbolism, loosely structured surrealism, and to move on metaphorical planes. The visual thinking and representation would be as much montage-like as the child's thinking and communication, boldly shifting planes of time and space; the uninhibitedness of the imagination would be revealed in the visual, and transparency, the superimposed flow charts would be given space. One medium for the fabric of the visual world is provided by children's drawings, the other by shadow play and the simulation of space. These are always used to represent the discourse between the world of children and adults, and between children, to magnify inner images and thoughts, and to give voice to inner speech.

Other issues in the process of colour creation are: the relationship between the actor and puppet (mover and the moved), the choice of puppet type, the development of the style of play, the visual design of the adult and child worlds.

Our fourth creative day - 6 July 2022.

We agreed and accepted: we will have a 1-hour presentation with a scene on one of the conference days in October 2022. We will postpone the presentation of the whole performance by one year. On 20 November 2023, World Children's Rights Day, we will have the presentation of the art project, the puppet show "It's so good just to be!" (with studies, publication).

We have been thinking about unfolding our three selected scenes.

Our questions and perspectives:

In what way do the stories touch upon or unfold the seven main areas (play of freedom, significant people, self-expression, environment, needs for being, child autonomy, adult dominance) and the themes (participation, care, protection) that researchers have formulated for the children's rights group.

How can we elaborate the selected scenes to be worked on and break them down into storyline: to "expand" the text, to see behind the text, between the lines, to include everything that is movement, play, music, images...

Building characters, "personalities" of kindergarten characters.

The "drawing" of the kindergarten teacher - the way we portray her.

Our fifth creative day - 18 August 2022.

We gathered our perspectives and focuses at the intersection of art and research. These are:

- the complexity of creating a theatrical performance

- the methodology of writing the text, after examining the children's texts in the research material

- the design of the scene frames

- stage logic, dramaturgy structure

- the creation of fictional children's characters

- formulating the specific features of the genre

- outlining the puppetry technique and the coherence of the actions

- to lay down the basic principles of genre and aesthetics.


Steps to performing - rehearsal days – 29th August – 9th September 2022


The creative team is completed by:

- with puppeteers Krisztina Hell, Mónika Nagy, Dávid Baditz, Máté Mercs,

- the composer Zoltán Arany, and

- video and light technician Barnabás Nánási.


DAY 1: Introduction of the puppeteers into the research results, we will get to know the kindergarten child from a new perspective (e.g. developmental psychology, cultural history, anthropology)


The aim of our creative sub-project is: to further reflect on the results of the research to date through the tools of arts; to develop the segments of cooperation; to lay the foundations and prepare the ground for a next arts-based research project (to be implemented in 2022-2023).



  1. What does art as research mean for us?

The suggestion/the awareness of the problem has been established

- What can we "do" with children's narratives, what artistic, creative reflection can we add to the research results;

The goal was set:

- to stage scenes respecting children's texts, knowing children's logic, children's play, theatrical parts based on rights to safety, care, participation;


Rationality kept the creative process within a constant framework,

- and also the team that initiated the process, how we are using innovative creative solutions and tools that we have not yet implemented, and how we can share the contexts of arts-based research;

Regularity: the schedule has been extended to include several aspects that differ from the director's theatrical approach

- For example: analytical conversations, training sessions based on own memories and life experiences, continuous feedback to each other, multiple suggestions for solutions and testing everyone's ideas, joint decisions for the most expressive solutions, ...


2. Our main pillars while preparing for performing:

One of our starting points is the results of the research so far (children's texts, videos, audio recordings, written records), the other is the puppet show itself as an artistic medium.


We consider the genre specificity of puppetry as essential to this creative process:


- the essence of the puppet is its unlimited capacity for transformation,

- the ability of the puppet to personify imaginary beings;

- in puppetry, the material, the physical matrix, is the main means of representation and display;

- in puppetry, the rational principle of cause and effect is not a law; the puppet works with symbolic metaphors in both its form and its movement;

- the puppet is always a sign, a symbol, a substitute for a living being.



DAY 2: Puppeteers' introduction into the artistic process



1. Self-experience training - the whole creative team is present

- Collecting our own kindergarten signs, memories, what they mean to us, what experiences are linked to these signs (received, chosen, loved,...)

- what kind of memories do we remember from our preschool past (smells, colours, shapes, sounds, tastes, stories)

- what an ideal nursery school is like

- what memories we have of our kindergarten teacher

- what an ideal kindergarten teacher is like, what we expect from a kindergarten teacher as adults

- which character I most resembled as a preschooler (based on the script)

- the ideal kindergarten teacher and the kindergarten as an institution are important because our story is set in a kindergarten context.


  1. The responsibility of the (adult) artist

The research is essentially about the world of children. In this case, can the (adult) artist express or display his or her position on the issues (cola, McDonald's, hamburger, bought or homemade pizza...), how can he or she do so without influencing the children's narrative?


Where and by what artistic means can/should the text be shown, using signals transposed by the puppeteer (mover) to the puppet:

- kinesthetic signs: make the object come alive by moving it

- the acoustic signals: they give atmosphere and help to define the spatial position of the puppet and its mover, and to nuance their relationship to each other,

- vocal or paralinguistic signs: they directly enrich the animation of the puppet,

- symbolic signs (symbols): they reinforce the anthropomorphic character of the puppet, emphasise the representation of something, the translucence of the puppet's function, 

- signs of proxemics: spatial regulation in the system of relations between puppet and puppet's owner,

- the signs of chronemics: the temporality of the interaction between the two, creating an equivalence of non-verbal communication zones and distances between the puppeteer and his puppet.



DAY 3: Puppeteers' initiation into the procedures of the artistic process



Visuality, aesthetics and the way the performance is played:

- The verbatim layer of children's situations is transformed into performance by building on the dramaturgy of the image.

- We decided to be boldly metaphorical and abstract in the design of the space. We do not see a specific kindergarten classroom, but we do see signs and objects that refer to it. The balance between the concrete and the abstract gives a sense of security.

- One thread of the fabric of images: the children's drawings, the other thread: the co-animation, which is always used to represent the discourse between the child and the adult world, or between children, magnifying inner images, thoughts and voicing inner speech and emotions.

- We see the situations in "drawn", childlike form carvings, using amorphous bean bags and cushions reminiscent of building block elements, or regular geometric cube shapes that are in complete contrast with the soft textile cushions.

- Music will be important and should be addressed from the start of rehearsals


DAY 4-5: Experiments with the ways of performing



  1. Experiments in space with each other, objects, puppets, set elements

- My own role - analysis, unfolding of characters, what gestures the characters have, what are their signs (Kata - Sun, Betti - Butterfly, Ákos - Apple tree, Milán - Dotted mug);

- what is the relationship between the kindergarten children, how are they represented in space

- experimentation, improvisation with the puppet characters: searching for sounds, gestures, situations, musical elements based on the text;

- experiments and improvisations with space, spatial elements, sets: what geometric and amorphous shapes and musical elements can do continuously.

- In the design of the space, it is essential to play on a circular surface (round world, round forest, ...), this is the territory of the kindergarten children, from which the players do not leave during the game, it is the "centre of the world".

- Anthropological and psychological path (identity formation), which are essential in the performance: signification - naming - vocalization - gesture and movement elements = what defines me - bodily experience = my own body - my relation to space = my own space.


The composer is present, constantly adding musical reflections to the increasingly characteristic theatrical images and situations.


  1. The relationship between the mover (actor) and the moved (puppet) and the playing style

Questions of the artist:

  1. the context of the play:

- how the child plays (what we need to know about the child's play culture and the psychology of play in general), what else we need to know about the child;

- how the adult plays (what the adult as an artist considers important in play beyond the stage);

- how should the artist (adult) play, so that he does not play as the child, but imitates it (he is not the child, he shows the child by interpreting)?

- In our play, the balance of fiction and real life is important = the kindergarten teacher cannot enter the real/potential space, in the performance the kindergarten teacher is not physically present, 'she' must be present at all times, everywhere (shadow play). Why = we cannot be direct, didactic, 'speak out from behind the role', and the kindergarten teacher is the person who constantly radiates security, presence.


2. Choosing the puppet type

- which puppet technique should be used, which expresses a side-by-side relationship, where there is no hierarchy between the mover and the moved, which is the aesthetic solution that avoids the appearance of an adult moving a child figure

- the type of puppet of the kindergarten children and the kindergarten teacher must be different - the reasons are important and in comparison which ones do not evoke vulnerability ...

3. Place of humour in the scenes: it should be present in the images, in the contexts of the utterances, in the gestures and in the situations.



DAY 6-7: Further deepening of roles



  1. Building characters, refining the dramaturgical threads


Puppet type:

- Moved from behind, white, costume-less puppet characters with preschool signs on their chests

- the relationship between the two - mover and puppet - is complex (sometimes they talk to themselves, reflect on each other, immerse themselves in each other, sometimes the puppet is "in front" of the actor, sometimes the actor hides behind the puppet, sometimes the two of them, in a real duplication, present the seemingly simple complexity of self and self)

- sometimes the movers can pass on and off roles, we don't want one character = one player

- the shape and style of the puppets: they are boldly detached from reality but carry the physical proportions of preschool, they are not dolls, not fairy-tale figures, but they are a transition between reality and fiction (fun, cute, naughty ... colourful figures)

- how the puppet gets its personality, how its identity is formed


Nursery teacher:

- Drawing the elements and attributes of the "kindergarten teacher" - what symbols, costumes are typical of her, what is her gesture system, how/with what to show the change of her attention;

- for the first time we thought it to be a form of object play- it is made up of objects, costumes - it is moved by several people, the number of people moving it can change constantly, even the person moving it can change;

- our second idea was to create a shadow play - reason: omnipresence at all times; we decided on this.

- The relationship between the kindergarten teacher and the children, where the kindergarten teacher "belongs" to the story, the kindergarten teacher is a person of trust,


  1. Building up the three scenes, we are rehearsing them as one whole part

- completing the musical atmosphere

- clarifying the movement elements of the shadow play - the nursery teacher

- testing and incorporating the animation, adapting it to the context of the situations

- the opening and closing images: who and what we are when we enter the play space and what we become when we leave the stage.



DAY 8: CLOSING the rehearsal process



- How did we experience the rehearsal process together and separately?

- How did each of us relate to the role?

- What did we have to deal with together and separately during the rehearsal days?

- How did children's rights affect us?


The creative team:

- How do we imagine the future?

- What would we explore in an arts-based research?




1. we are creating a PUPPETSHOW - " It's so good just to be!"

PRESENTATION: 20th November 2023 World Children's rights Day

We will organise a CONFERENCE on the day of the show, where the focus will be on arts-based research, exploring the making of performance

We will publish a STUDY BOOKLET (our Puppet Theatre in collaboration with universities) collecting, systematizing and analyzing segments of our arts-based research




Our assumptions and questions:

First perspective: the artistic creation perspective


  1. For whom: adults and/or children - How is the staging of this topic different if we are staging for adults with children's texts (adult dominance), where the emphasis is placed


  1. The artist, the creator is examined - how does the creative process affect the creator?


  1. The artistic creative process is the segment under scrutiny - all the creators are involved in the process, it is not a director's theatre, but... - How can creative experimentation be captured when the whole creative team is involved in every step of the production?


4. In what way do the means of art and the ways of representation change when several people’s realities are presented simultaneously (synchronously) within a theatre performance? Or how does changing these affect the boundaries of interpretation?

For example:

- a scene is for adults and a scene is for children;

- in a conflict situation, we explore and show the point of view of different child characters;

- if the kindergarten teacher appears in a scene in a different way, i.e. with different puppet techniques (puppet moved by movers, and different types - under- and over-positioning...);

- the same if we change the types of puppets representing the children;

- if the setting is not abstract, but a concrete kindergarten environment is on the stage


5. where do the emphases of interpretations go when the style of play, the way of playing, or even the aesthetic presentation changes? (Visual: more realistic, more concrete..., play style: colder, more distant from the child...)


Second point of view: looking at childishness


1. we put reflection sessions alongside the performance (whether we are making the performance for children or adults) - talk about what we have seen, play, continue the situations together...

2. follow up with the child spectators: we offer teachers an activity booklet, concrete tasks, give them samples of what to do in the pre-school session before and after the performance, feedback this to the theatre, ...

3. to plan situation drama activities for preschool groups, to live the activities with them, to stage them, ...



20th October 20, 2022 CONFERENCE

Színháztermi előadás:2.000 Ft / fő
Játszószínházi foglalkozás:2.000 Ft / fő
Gyermek-előadásokra szóló bérlet:4.500 Ft / fő

Kedvezményes jegyár három vagy többfős családok részére:

Színháztermi előadás:1.700 Ft / fő
Játszószínházi foglalkozás:1.700 Ft / fő

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4026 Debrecen, Kálvin tér 13.+36 (52)