Child’s play: add DANISH+ to your calendar this year

As a specialist working with theatre for children and young people, a trip to this year’s DANISH+ is a unique addition to your conference calendar. Producer Malene Cathrine Pedersen highlights the country’s vibrant performing arts scene and child-centric programming.

DANISH+ occupies a unique place in the conference circuit, showcasing the diverse range of Danish performing arts opportunities dedicated to children and young people. Held every other year in the city of Aarhus, in Denmark, DANISH+ draws delegates from around the world, with attendees from North America, Australia and Asia alongside a strong European contingent. Over two and a half days delegates are exposed to Denmark’s vibrant performing arts scene, whilst performers are able to forge global networks that would otherwise not be available to them.

This year DANISH+ 2024 continues its mission to showcase some of the best of Danish performing arts for young people of all ages, presenting works that “make you feel challenged and puzzled but most of all recognised”. Whilst there is never a set theme, public spaces feature heavily across this year’s programming, representing a blank canvas to share community stories and shared challenges. The 2024 showcase sees three performances revolving around public benches, each showcasing the role of simple, communal symbols in communicating universal truths to children.

Alongside its youth-centric programming, DANISH+ has built a strong reputation as a sectoral networking event. In a feat of scheduling, organisers ensure that all delegates and artists dine together during the conference, creating opportunities to share thoughts about the day’s performances and build long-lasting connections.

 This year DANISH+ will feature numerous new interpretations of classic literary works, with Teatret Gruppe 38 (the organisers of DANISH+) presenting performances of The Secret Library and The Little Match Girl. The former is an intimate performance for children and adults charting the inner pictures and thoughts created when we read books. The ethereal images are accompanied by wonderful music from Søren Søndberg, seeking to counter the dominant refrain that “reading books is not trendy”. Taking inspiration from the moving classic by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Match Girl gives life to another childhood classic, with alluring scenography and a quirky manuscript.

Alongside Teatret Gruppe 38’s work, DANISH+ 2024 will feature a wide range of performances, including: a masked theatre performance about power and persecution entitled Animals; BENCHED, a dance performance exploring doubt; and The Bench, an acrobatic duel to the music of Chopin. With each performance, DANISH+ legitimises young audiences, showcasing the power of high-quality and captivating performances that treat children with genuine artistic concern. As well as offering opportunities for Danish performing artists, DANISH+ reminds delegates of the importance of performing art as a tool to communicate with the next generation.

DANISH+ takes place in Aarhus in Denmark from 6 to 8 May. For more information, visit

Photo: BENCHED (Solholm)