The House of Children and Arts is a contemporary cultural centre for children and youth in Ljubljana, which has been conducting its activities in the field of cultural and art education since its establishment in 2001. It is the first cultural centre in Ljubljana which, through performances and workshops for children and youth as well as through expert training for adults, especially for educators, emphasises contemporary theatre forms and modern educational approaches, contemporary principles of theatre pedagogy and elements of experiential pedagogy. The emphasis is given to performance art, especially the contemporary puppet theatre, while the programme also includes music concerts and other culturally-coloured social events.
In the House of Children and Arts, children socialise with puppet theatre actors and creators who develop their work in dialogue with them, create mutual forms of communication in the frame of theatre, thus enabling children to develop their creativity and sensitivity. In addition to the already known forms of family theatre and art laboratories, visitors can attend a special form of theatre exhibitions-performances and new forms of experiential theatre that combine interactive experiential theatre in which visitors become both actors and researchers. It is through these projects that the House of Children and Arts is becoming more and more recognisable both at home and internationally: it was a guest at the PIF International Puppet Festival in Zagreb, but it was also awarded, for example, at the Slovene Puppetry Biennial.
Cultural and educational programme
The newest programme is theExperiential Maze of Art, which is designed as a form of sensory theatre, a polygon of different arts: fine arts, theater, puppets, literature, ethnography, architecture, comics, film, music, etc. It is primarily intended for the youngest, offering opportunities for creative play, exploration, discovery and testing.
The past programme included An Old House No. 3, an interactive theatre journey through the fairy-tale world of Slovenian writer Ela Peroci, the experiential labyrinth of art In the Land of Finger Puppets, or the interactive theatre performance Pearls Between the Covers, whose theme is the book, or Emona Ways, which goes back to the Antique past, and many others.
The four recent performances set on stage still in 2020 are the awarded interactive performances “Heart and Belly Button”, the “Chewgumitwist”, the “From Droplets to the Ocean”, and the “Behind the Five Mountains”. The latter two make part of the “Experiential Maze of Art”, and are usually followed by an educational programme.
The House Theatre
The House Theatre is intended for performances for the youngest, offering them the first contact with theatre and art. Theatrical performances are interactive, often transformed into creative workshops. They offer puppet performances, as well as kamishibai theatre, a form of Japanese street theatre and storytelling. They have been running the HELL – the House’s Experimental Puppetry Lab.
Their producer or co-producer is House of Children and Arts, its house theatres Fru Fru Puppet Theatre, Zapik Theatre and AEIOU Theatre for babies and toddlers, but they also host other artists.
Arts and cultural education
The House of Children and Arts also focuses on arts and cultural education that comprises for example, the AEIOU music picture-book, the experiental workshops “AEIOU music workshop”, and the “Dance of the Drops”, and the “Flying Suitcase”, which could be interrelated to the performances.
The House of Children and Arts organises also educational programmes for adults, mostly professional educators and youth. The seminars and courses are related to puppetry and kamishibai theatre. The “House Puppet Academy” offers education to young people up to their 30s.
Festivals are also part of their programme: every year in May, within the framework of the Week of Amateur Culture, a festival of kamishibai theatre, Dragon Kamishibai, is held.
Every Thursday in the summer months, in Ljubljana’s park Tivoli, PicniConcert, a family gathering, a quality cultural experience with ethno and folk concerts, food and drinks, and coloured with ecological awareness, takes place. The summer cycle also includes Fairy Tales Above the City, family wanderings around Ljubljana.
The House of Children and Arts has also organised the street line of events Emona Promenade Festival, happening every last weekend in August, before the start of the new school year.