Small Art Festival 2021

Oslo, Norway (BE, UK, DK, SE, NO)
Small Art Festival 2021 was arranged in Oslo for four days. The festival consisted of art productions within theatre, dance, music and visual arts for children aged 0-6 years. The festival was a cooperation with the Norwegian Opera & Ballet and the Ultima festival.

Norway and Scandinavia are known to produce art of high quality for the youngest. The children get to participate and experience performances and organised workshops on their own terms. Seanse appreciates the children’s ability to get excited by different art expressions, and through the festival we hope to bring joy for babies, kindergarten children, families, and others as audiences. Seanses fourth Small Art Festival had workshops, baby opera and dance with Norwegian artists and invited guest performances from Belgium and England. All arrangements took place around the city centre in Oslo and the festival had 353 children and 363 adults/parents visiting. Thank you to all who visited and contributed.

We look forward to the fifth Small Art Festival in 2024.

Pictures from the opening ceremony of the Small Art Festival 2021



Baby dance is an offer for parents with children aged 3-12 months, primarily aimed at parents on maternity leave. In baby dancing, it is the parents who dance with their babies in interaction with others. Through dance, physical play and tactile objects combined with music, the senses and communication between the adult and the child are stimulated. Baby dancing gives parents ideas on how to explore movement, interaction and play with the children.

Baby dance is led by dance artist Beata K. Iden. She has many years of experience with dance, movement and various performances for children aged 0-6 years, and is also a certified ContaKid instructor.

Contact Play

Contact play is based on the same principles as Baby Dance, but further developed for the age groups 1-3 years and 3-6 years. We move together and want to inspire new ways to play together. The exercises are based on dance and help to train the child's coordination, balance and strength. The play stimulates the child's creativity and enjoyment of physical activity with the adult.

Contact play is divided into two age groups and the program is adapted to the age of the children.

The group 1-3 years is basically best suited for children up to 3 years and the group 3-6 years is best suited for those over 3 years. If you want to get together with siblings, the parents choose the group they think is best for their children.

Baby dance is led by dance artist Beata K. Iden. She has many years of experience with dance, movement and various performances for children aged 0-6 years, and is also a certified ContaKid instructor.

Beata Kretovicova Iden is a dance artist, stage artist and choreographer. Educated at the Statens Balletthøgskole, Listdansskoli Islands and Ludova skola umenia in Slovakia. She works mainly at the intersection between dance / theater and in recent years to a greater extent with art aimed at children. For several years she has worked with Karstein Solli Productions in performances for both adults and children. In recent years, she has delved further into the topic of children and movement, and especially for children aged 0-6 years. In addition, she works actively to develop artistic concepts aimed at kindergartens.


Chaos workshop and shadow game with a theme around endangered animals

Join and explore light and shadow with Guri Guri and Henriette. We will create our own shadow figures based on animals that are endangered in the Oslo area. We work in large format where the children build the animals on themselves with wings, ears, feeler horns, masks, etc.

It can be brush bats, dragonflies, lynxes or the great owl Hubro.

Eventually, the characters will join the shadow forest. Here we will explore how the animals can hide between the trees and cast shadows using flashlights, while moving to music.

Henriette Blakstad (director) is a director, actress theater teacher and with a degree from the Oslo Academy of the Arts and Kristiana University College (then NISS), with experience in physical theater, puppetry, text development and compositional methods in theater. Henriette has worked in the free theater field for more than 30 years and runs HenBlakstad Projects herself, with productions shown in Norway, China and Singapore.

Guri Guri Henriksen is a visual artist, she has a degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris. As well as continuing education «Teaching artist» through Seanse and Volda University College. As a visual artist, she works with paper installations / paper cuts and drawing. Since 2014, she has worked on shadow play-related projects, with responsibility for the visual. She works as a communicator at the National Museum of Art, Design and Architecture.


My Shadow and Me with Drew Colby

"My Shadow and Me" is like a cartoon given life and created out of nothing, only darkness and light. A person and his shadow meet and embark on an incredibly imaginative, shadowy journey where committed creatures appear and transform into something beautiful. The performance uses minimal language in combination with both unusual and surprising interpretations of classical music and non-verbal voice expressions. Small encounters between the characters are explored and tiny stories unfold. Many are funny, others are cute. The ever-fascinating and sweet hand shadow hare appears as part of a simple magic trick, and the show ends with a colorful and impressive finale where several shadow characters are shown at the same time - and made with just two hands!

This is the third production commissioned by Junction, Goole, with funding from Arts Council England. The production focuses on the idea of ​​our shadows and our relationship to them, inspired by the poem "My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson. The first performance was in September 2017 at Junction in Goole and has since been shown in Turkey, India, Switzerland, Chile, Portugal, Malaysia, Italy and Albania.

Winner of the Moving Parts Festival Audience Choice Award 2019.

«A bare stage with a small light projecting onto a large blank screen. The audience of young children and their parents sits in anticipation as a lanky young man in a trilby crosses the stage, smiles and the lights go down. This time, as he crosses in front of the light, his shadow appears behind him. Cue a lovely pantomime-like sequence in which we see his shadow but he does not: “it’s behind you!” squeaks an excited little voice from the audience. And then the magic begins. ” - Pamela Hall, The Croydon Citizen.

Winner of the Moving Parts Festival Audience Choice Award 2019.

Commissioned by Junction, Goole and supported by the Arts C

Drew Colby (born in the UK) has worked with dolls in South Africa and the UK for over 30 years. He started with glove puppets and puppets at the age of 12, while attending school in Namibia. His first professional work was from 1995-1998 at the Playhouse Puppet Company in Durban, South Africa.


Sessions for kindergarten visits:
Thursday 16 September - two performances before and after lunch / dip in the same kindergarten. (FULL)
Friday 17 September - two performances before and after lunch / dip in the same kindergarten. (FULL)


MANTA is an installation for the very youngest children from 4 to 24 months, and is a sensual pleasure to the delight of all ages.

A sound installation that transforms into a poetic dance inspired by the Manta giant ray from the sea. The installation consists of glass art, wood and textiles and the music is based on tradition and contemporary music combined with polyrhythmic compositions. Improvisations occur with the audience during the installation. Repetition and repetitive elements form the basis of the musical journey. The installation's structure is safe and secure and invites exploration, wonder and play.


Liesbeth Bodyn, voice, concept and artistic direction.
Jeroen Van der Fraenen, scenography, technical coordination
Annemie Osborne, cello, voice and composition
Aya Suzuki, (percussion and voice)
Tine Allegaert, Rebecca Van Bogert and Indre Juruguleviciute, (Composition).
Tchi-Ann Liu, (movement trainer)
Atelier Mestdagh / Ingrid Meyvaert, (stained glass paintings)

CO production Nova Villa Reims, Het Lab CCHA Hasselt and Rotondes Luxembourg
Thanks to Musica (Hasselt) Schouwburg Kortrijk + Buda (Kortrijk) Peter Ingekbeen (light)

With the support of the Flemish Government

The performance is a collaboration between Small Art Festival with Seanse Art Center and the Ultimafestival.



An opera experience for children aged 0-3 years!
Pain, sorrow, comfort and joy - these are emotions that the very youngest know.

Opera is about! Orpheus' Consolation is a newly written opera for the very youngest, where children and adults together experience that the one they have lost can be won back with song.

Orpheus cries out - he has lost the best he has, his beloved Euridice. He gets sad and sings a beautiful, sad song. The music lures Euridice back. Is she the same or has she changed? Suddenly she disappears again. Orpheus takes out the harp and sings. And look, there she is finally! In the comfort of the baby opera Orpheus, children and adults are taken back to the Baroque period. The music is composed by Maja S. K. Ratkje, after a fragment of Christoph Willibald Gluck's aria from the opera Orpheus and Euridice (1774). A world of costumes, wigs, dances and sounds shows how we can constantly find each other again - and find comfort.

Idea, concept and scenario (libretto) Christina Lindgren
Music and lyrics Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje after an aria from Orphée et Euridice by Christoph Willibald Gluck / Ranieri de´ Calzabigi / Pierre-Louis Moline

Directed Christina Lindgren
Choreography Elizabeth Svarstad
Set design Tormod Lindgren
Costume Christina Lindgren
Playwright Svante Aulis Löwenborg
Practitioners Elisabeth Holmertz, Silje Aker Johnsen, Marie Delna
Producer Babyopera Camilla Svingen / Syv Mil
Consultant Karstein Solli

The production is a collaboration between Babyopera, Small Art Festival with Seanse Art Center, The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet and part of Ultima 2021. Supported by the Norwegian Cultural Council.


Two people dance and play. Then one of them falls and gets a sore foot. The friend will comfort by blowing it away, but the pain only disappears at the sound of warming singing. But then the friend also falls and strikes! More comfort is needed here, and of course! there is nothing that helps, until the room is again filled with the warmth of the song.

In the warmth of the baby opera Cupid's, children and adults are taken back to the Baroque period. The music is composed by Eivind Buene, after a fragment of Henry Purcell's aria from the opera King Arthur (1691). A world of costumes, wigs, dances and sounds shows how a classic can still touch, even the smallest.

Idea, concept and scenario (libretto) Christina Lindgren
Music and lyrics Eivind Buene after an aria from King Arthur by Henry Purcell and John Dryden

Directed Christina Lindgren
Choreography Elizabeth Svarstad
Set design Tormod Lindgren
Costume Christina Lindgren
Playwright Svante Aulis Löwenborg
Practitioners Elisabeth Holmertz, Silje Aker Johnsen
Producer Babyopera Camilla Svingen / Syv Mil
Consultant Karstein Solli


The red monkey and the blue Appallo are horse-best friends.
Now they are galloping north to Norway because they have been invited to the Seanse Small Art Festival.

They snort and squirm through worlds across continents because they are so curious to meet the human children in Oslo.

Now they are approaching the Opera and the new library in Bjørvika.
They're coming soon.
They show up unexpectedly.
They can play, they can race in wild rides.
They can stand completely still, they can make themselves completely invisible.
They may disappear and suddenly reappear.
They are full of anticipation!

Will there be magic encounters?
Do they find human children?
Can they find a bunch of new kids- human- best friends?

Henriette Blakstad (director) is a director, actress theater educator with a degree from the Oslo Academy of the Arts and Kristiana University College (then NISS), with experience in physical theater, puppet theater, text development and compositional methods in theater. Henriette has worked in the free theater field for more than 30 years and runs HenBlakstad Projects herself, with productions shown in Norway, China and Singapore.

Mafalda Silva (actress) graduated as an actress from Nord University in 2019. After graduating in Verdal, she furthered her education in puppet theater and manipulation of materials with performers from the company, Philippe Genty in France. In the last year, she has, among other things, toured with Den Kulturelle Skolesekken, had a work stay at the Puppet Theater in Nordland, and worked on her own theater projects aimed at children and young people.

Mats Gukild (actor) graduated as an actor from Nord University in 2020. He is part of the theater company, Snakk Om, where he has been a lyricist, actor and co-produced the trilogy, Ingen Vei Tilbake. Mats has participated in, 11-Tram goes to the North Pole by, Feil Teater, and is an actor in Moss' History Patrol.

Kari Noreger (figure maker) is a doll, mask and costume designer with a degree from the Norwegian School of Crafts and Design. She has more than 35 years of experience from a number of theaters in Norway, mentions the National Theater, the National Theater, the Puppet Theater in Nordland Oslo New Puppet Theater, Nordland Theater and others.



Welcome to a professional seminar with exciting and current topics, and with both national and Scandinavian contributors.


10:00 Art experience | Choose between:
My shadow and me with Drew Colby (Deichman) or
Amors Varme, Baby opera (The Norwegian Opera & Ballet)

10:45 Coffe/tea and registration at Deichmansalen

11:15 Seanse welcomes,
w/ Marit Ulvund and Karstein Solli

11:30 Performing arts for the youngest - utopian moments and deepest seriousness lecture w/ Rebecca Brinch

12:15 Lunch

12:45 The redemptive power of music and children with special needs lecture w/ Lise Lotte Ågedal

13:15 The child in one self lecture w/ Catherine Poher

13:45 Coffe/tea break pause

14:00 Power, gender and criticism; reflections from creating performing arts for the youngest w/ Karstein Solli

14:20 Folk music elements w/ Marit Vestrum

14:30 Panel discussion with Rebecca Brinch, Catherine Poher, Lise Lotte Ågedal and Karstein Solli, Moderator: Marit Ulvund - Open for input

15:15 Closing comment

Lise Lotte Ågedal has a doctorate in music therapy and has worked for a number of years with children with special needs. The area of ​​expertise is music as language stimulation for children with speech difficulties. She currently works as an associate professor of music at Steiner University College and associate professor of pedagogy at OsloMET. In this lecture you will get an insight into how she has worked with children's self-expression through musical participation. This involves working with children who have language difficulties, children with social and emotional difficulties and children with various diagnoses such as autism and mental retardation. Ågedal is particularly interested in how we tune in to the individual child, and will describe in detail how this tinting can take place. Lecture: The redemptive power of music and children with special needs.

Rebecca Brinch has a doctorate in theater studies. She defended her dissertation Growing sideways: Themes, child vision and artistic design in Suzanne Osten's performing arts for young people, a study of Suzanne Osten's theater for children. She is currently researching a project funded by the Swedish Research Council, with a focus on migration and performing arts for young people. Her main research interests include performing arts for young audiences, theater for the youngest, reception studies, performance analysis and children's culture. Rebecca is a study leader in theater studies and teaches at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics and at the Center for Child Cultural Research, Stockholm University. In addition, she also lectures a lot outside the academy, and thinks it is important with the connection between academic research, the practical field and the surrounding society.

Catherine Poher works as a theater director and visual artist. Poher has been an artistic consultant, director and playwright in relation to a number of the best children's and group theaters and has contributed visual power, poetic magic and simplicity in production. As a freelance theater worker, she has been a central figure and has worked closely with key figures in the group theater tradition to create physical, visual and poetic performances that you can read more about in the book: “… And on the 8th day they started dreaming. Catherine has directed 5 Reumert-winning performances, and during her 40 years in Danish theaters she has helped to revolutionize the performing arts with her visual artist expression. Several performances have toured the world (Scandinavia, Europe, USA, Russia, Canada, Australia, Tasmania, Japan and China).

Karstein Solli has been involved in both the Norwegian Cultural Council's Soundbird projects for children aged 0-6 years in the 90s and Glitterbird EU project 2003-2006 with the performance See my dress for children between 0-3 years. As artistic director of Seanse, center for art production, K. Solli has been involved in programming three small art festivals for the little ones, the first at DH in 2012 and the last September 2018 in collaboration with Teaterhuset Avant Garden in Trondheim. Karstein is a stage artist and choreographer / director in Karstein Solli Productions. Senior lecturer in acting, drama and theater communication. Artistic director of Seanse, center for art production in Volda. He has studied at Ecole Jaques Lecoq mime and theater school, Paris, Desmond Jones School of Mime in London and the Theater Academy department of mime in Amsterdam.


A dialogue about performing arts for the youngest children 0-6 years in meeting with Kritikken and the reviewer's role.

Mini-seminar at Kunstneres Hus in connection with Seance's Small Art Festival 2021


18:30 Welcome and Introduction
- Øystein Elle, Karstein Solli

19:00 - 19:30 A post about the dilemma of reviewing children's theater. Did the children clap or did the adults?

- Anne Middelboe Christensen.


19:45 Experience with art productions for the youngest children and the participation of criticism.
- Øystein Elle and Karstein Solli

20:15 How to promote art for the youngest in the best possible way
artist and reviewer?

- A panel discussion with Øystein Elle,
Anne Middelboe Christensen, Julie Rongved Amundsen,
Cecilie Bertrand de Lis and Hedda Fredly.

Moderator: Karstein Solli

20:55 About the recently started research project «Responsive criticism».
- Hedda Fredly

21:15 Closing v / Seanse


With this seminar, Seanse wants to create a committed dialogue between artists and reviewers to illuminate and exchange art and children's professional knowledge and understandings applicable to the very youngest children.

Can a closer dialogue between sender (artists) and recipient (reviewers) make both parties better equipped in the meeting with the youngest audience group from 0-6 years?

The seminar is suitable for artists, employees in kindergarten and kindergarten education, reviewers, producers, theater directors, organizers and students with an interest in art productions aimed at the youngest audience group.


In the last 20 years, professional art expressions have been established for the very young both here at home and internationally, often artistic expressions that lie at the intersections between theater, dance, performance and music. Performing arts for the youngest are often referred to as a separate genre adapted with both art and children's professional approaches / understandings.

Reviews and criticism of productions for the youngest are not a matter of course. Reviewers represent an important voice and can provide performing artists and relevant audiences with crucial artistic feedback. In addition, reviews can also express understandings and views of the reviewer on young children. There will always be friction between artists and reviews - a source of growth. Since art for the very youngest is both new and marginal, we want to ask the questions:

  • How can reviewers and performing artists enrich each other's knowledge?
  • What do the performing artists experience that the reviewers emphasize or fail to emphasize in relation to professionalism and vice versa? What horizons of understanding are used?
  • Through dialogue from our different points of view and perspectives, how can we make art for the youngest even better?


Anne Middelboe Christensen is an author and theater critic. She has a master's degree. in Danish and Theater Studies. She reviews theater and dance at Dagbladet Information and children's theater at Anne sits on the jury behind the Danish performing arts award Reumert of the Year. She teaches review at the University of Copenhagen and has, among other things. written the book "Enthusiasm and Brutality" which is a handbook for the role of the reviewer. She is the mother of three.

Hedda Fredly reviews performing arts for Norsk Shakespearetidsskrift, and Dagbladet, she teaches drama at the kindergarten teacher education at Høgskolen i Innlandet, and sits on the jury for the Norwegian performing arts award Heddaprisen. In 2020, she won the Critics of the Year award for a review of an installation show for babies. Fredly has a master's degree in drama / theater from NTNU and HiB, and has participated in research projects about the very youngest children's experience of theater. She is the mother of three.

Øystein Elle is an interdisciplinary artist, singer, composer, theater creator, and educator, and is an associate professor of music and theater at Østfold University College. Elle completed her art-based doctorate in 2017. His practice and research span Baroque, Dadaism, Western avant-garde traditions, intercultural and transdisciplinary projects. As a composer, director and performer, he has toured with over 30 theater and musical theater productions in Europe, Asia, the United States and South America. Øystein Elle is co-editor and author of the anthology «Art meetings and aesthetic processes with the youngest children» Fagbokforlaget 2021.

Julie Rongved Amundsen is a theater critic and writer and is from 2018 editor of She holds a Ph.D. in theater science, and defended his dissertation in 2013 with the dissertation «Performing Ideology. Theatricality and Ideology in Mass Performance ».

Inger Cecilie Bertran de Lis is artistic director, choreographer, director and producer for ICB productions. She is a graduate of the Statens Balletthøgskole dance line, and at the Académie d ´art Choreographique, Raymond Francetti, and Studio Paris de Center de Marais. She has previously been employed as a dancer in the Finnish National Ballet, Landestheater Linz, Malmö Stadsteater and the Norwegian Opera. She has also worked for many years as a freelance dancer in various performing arts and television projects, both at home and abroad. In 2003 she created her first performance for young people, and in 2006 her first performance for the very youngest. In 2009, she established ICB productions, and has primarily focused on creating performances for children and young people at different ages. Inger Cecilie has previously received the Government's 3-year work grant, and has in the past the Government's 5-year work grant.