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Theatrical co-creation with young people

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Start project

Promoter: Bob Selderslaghs

‘Theatrical co-creation with children and young people' is a common thread throughout the career of actress/theatre maker Sanderijn Helsen. All theatre projects she realised in the past with young target groups, were different in design, form, duration and framework, but always had the same mission: challenging young participants of various profiles to artistic autonomy in a theatrical context. From there Sanderijn has evolved to co-creation with young people within her own work, in which teenagers function as muse, outside eye and target audience.


Throughout her artistic and artistic-educational practice, a unique working method emerged.

With this starting project, Sanderijn is taking some crucial steps to define her intuitive approach and make it shareable. This is a preliminary study in which she will position herself internationally, identify the frameworks she uses within a theatrical context with children and young people and make the vocabulary explicit. This is to allow the implicit embodied knowledge to grow into a shareable methodology for peers from the theatre, the art-educational sector and teaching of artists from various performing disciplines.

This pilot study will lead to a follow-up study in which Helsen evolves from description and retrospection to experiment/application.

Sanderijn Helsen


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Sanderijn Helsen (°1977) graduated from acting school Studio Herman Teirlinck in Antwerp in 1999. She performs, creates, writes and develops a pronounced passion for (co-)creation with young people and the combination of music and theatre.

She performs (acts) at Theater Malpertuis, Het Toneelhuis, Barre Weldaad, Zeven/Inne Goris, Schippers&Van Gucht/Het Paleis, Action Zoo Humain and Froefroe/De Roovers. She works with children and young people for Kopergietery, Bronks and De Veerman. In addition, together with Lotte Pinoy, she leads Jong Wild (2016-2021), a theatre lab where young participants create themselves.

She creates her own work under KcnOna, Arts Centre De Studio and De Veerman.


In De Studio Sanderijn creates and performs De Puberfluisteraar, a theatre concert for young people, inspired and coached by young people. She is currently working on a musical performance about medieval teenager Joan of Arc, fueled by creative input from her contemporary peers. JEANNE (14+) will premiere in De Studio.

Image: Sofie Silberman/Michel Vertongen
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