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Harvesting Young Creativity – Why Do We Need Festivals?

Panel Discussion

Why Do We Need Festivals? How to stay innovative in the world of children’s festivals? with experts Stefan HansenLaura KauppinenSuzanne Verboeket and Maria Steiner. Moderated by Tony Reekie, Director of Catherine Wheels.

This panel discussion addresses the need for children’s festivals and highlights the key tools required to ensure the future success of the festivals. The talk will focus on questions such as: How can children’s festivals better serve their audiences? What is the future role of children’s festivals across Europe?

About the speakers:

Stefan Hansen is the CEO of Unga Klara, Sweden’s theatre company with a national assignment for youth and children appointed by the Ministry of Culture of Sweden. Chairman for the reference group Performing Arts at Swedish Arts Council. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

Laura Kauppinen works as Children´s culture coordinator at Culture centre ARX, Hämeenlinna, Finland – organisers of Hippalot, children´s art festival.  She has a background in Art Museums and Art Education and holds a masters degree in Art Education.

Suzanne Verboeket is an experienced director in the field of theatre for Young Audiences. For 17 years (2005 – 2022) she has been director of the international children’s festival The Enchantment, which under her leadership grew into a renowned festival with approximately 550 performances each year and workshops in the Netherlands and abroad, engaging and inspiring a broad and diverse audience with over 26.000 visitors per year. In 2022 Verboeket worked as Business Director at the leading youth-theatre The Krakeling in Amsterdam. In her role as boardmember of Assitej NL, she promotes international exchange of knowledge and practice in Theatre for Young Audiences in order to increase creative co-operation and to deepen mutual understanding between all persons involved in the performing arts for young audiences.

Maria Steiner is an actress since 1987 in different performances and spectacles from Tschechow, Shakespeare, Turrini, Dario Fo,Raimund and Arhur Miller. She was also a headmistress for 25 years in her local community theater and assistant Director in different festivals like youthFestival in Kremsmünster, spectacle in the fortress of Reichenau and Theater Tabor.

Tony Reekie is an Executive Director at Catherine Wheels Theatre Company.

The event is part of  the project Harvesting Young Creativity – a EUNIC London project in partnership with Young at Art, Belfast Children’s Festival.

More info here.

Supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum London, the Embassy of Sweden, the Finnish Institute UK+Ireland and the he Embassy of the Netherlands. 

Funded by the EUNIC Global Cluster Fund.


March 5, 2023
10:00 am - 11:30 am


Oh Yeah Music Centre
15-21 Gordon St
Belfast, BT1 2LG United Kingdom
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