Siân Mitchell MacGregor

University of Aberdeen & Imaginate Edinburgh

Valuing Young Audiences: how children experience and value live theatre and dance and why it matters

Supervised by Professor Amy Bryzgel; Dr Jo Vergunst (University of Aberdeen) & Belinda McElhinney (Imaginate)

Theatre and dance made carefully and thoughtfully for children and young people is establishing a reputation for excellence and care, although little concrete data exists of its importance and qualities. Despite a few recent studies in this sphere, few academics focus specifically on the ways in which a young audience values and is valued when watching live performance. This is the root of my project, for which I draw upon my professional background in stage and production management for small-scale children’s shows, as well as building on theoretical knowledge amassed during related projects undertaken for my Masters. The research is supported and facilitated by a collaborative partnership with the organisation which runs the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, and aims to place the young audience’s experiences at the centre of the study.


One male and two female dancers perch, crouching, faces looking upwards, amongst a randomly stacked pile of wooden chairs. The main light comes from above and they are wearing matching costumes of light grey, with red hoods covering their hair.
Barrowland Ballet; Little Red, directed by Natasha Gilmore