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Current Projects

Mapping – a Map on the Aesthetics of Performing Arts for Early Years

Auraco is a partner organisation in a Creative Europe project called Mapping. Mapping is an artistic research project focused on creating sensory-based relationships with very young children, from 0 to 6 years, through performing arts. From 2018 to 2022, 18 theatres and festivals from 17 countries are working together to investigate artistic means in the theatre for the little ones, accompanied by scientific research.

During the project the partners develop theatre productions and organise festivals especially for very young children. They will also investigate artistic means with regard to the different modes of sensory reception they address in four working groups: Sound, Image, Text and Movement.

Auraco is the leader of the Movement group. The other members of the working group are DeStillte from the Netherlands, Teatrul Ion Creanga from Romania, La Baracca from Italy and the City of Limoges from France. The researcher associated with the Movement group is Young Ai Choi from the Korea National University of Arts.

Other partner organisations:

In collaboration with:

  • ITYARN (International Theatre for Young Audience Research Network), the international research network of ASSITEJ International
  • Small size, Network for the diffusion of the Performing arts for Early Years
  • KJTZ – Kinder-undJugendTheaterZentrum in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Germany
  • CRLI – Children's Literature Research Centre of the University of Bologna, Italy
  • University of Hildesheim, Germany
  • College of Letters and Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  • Korea National University of Arts, Drama/Theatre for the Young MFA, South Korea
Co-funded by the
Creative Europe Programme
of the European Union

Past International Projects

Small Size, Performing Arts for Early Years

Auraco was a partner organisation in a Creative Europe project called Small Size, Performing Arts for Early Years. The project had 17 partners from 15 European countries. It continued on the path of the earlier Small Size, Big Citizens project, and aimed to promote the productions and visibility of performing arts for the early years in Europe. During the four year (2014–2018) project Auraco produced two own stage performances and one co-production.

The Small Size, Performing Arts for Early Years project focused on children from 0 to 6 years old, especially on little children under 3 years old. It was a European networking project for theatres and cultural centres that produce programme for children.

Other partner organisations:

Co-funded by the
Creative Europe Programme
of the European Union

Growing Up in Europe

Kuukulkurit ry, the association that maintains Dance Theatre Auraco and art section Artco, was a partner organisation in a two-year (2014–2016) Erasmus+ project called Growing Up in Europe. The project had 12 partners from four European countries. Its aim was to get to know the childrens’ day care systems and the education of early childhood professionals in different countries, and to create innovative working methods for professional education and training.

As part of the project, Kuukulkurit organized a three day international seminar aimed for early childhood professionals and artists who work with small children. Its themes were art in early childhood structures and the Finnish educational system and culture policy. The programme consisted of presentations, discussions and workshops. See the seminar programme.

Kuukulkurit also participated in the project’s meetings and ran workshops. Other partner organisations:

Co-funded by the
Erasmus+ Programme
of the European Union


Kuukulkurit/Dance Theatre Auraco took part in an international parenthood/education/culture/art project supporting children’s culture. Managed by the French theatre company Compagnie ACTA – Agnès Desfosses, the project was a European cooperation involving five partners: Compagnie ACTA, Auraco, La Casa Incierta from Spain, Armes Theater from Germany, and the French Martinique island’s Cultural Service of Front-de-France. The project was a 2-year learning partnership and it received funding from the EU Grundtvig programme. See the project’s results.


Keanne van de Kreeke and Carlien Banks took part in the Belgian international story-illustration competition “de Prijs van de stad Hasselt”. They got through the first round (29 chosen from 296 participants) and took part in the competition’s exhibition in October-November 2008.

Past Domestic Projects

Ole hyvä

The Ole hyvä project was part of the planning and preparation process for the Till Sacko performance. It began in the school of Mämme in Äänekoski with 2nd grade pupils working together with 8th grade textile work pupils. The first planning meetings were held in the spring of 2009. Participants included teacher Leila Hakkarainen and Kuukulkurit members textile work lecturer Outi Heinonen and granny Tuila Vuorinen. The workshops started in September.

The instructors discussed with the 2nd graders about feelings, recognising and expressing them, and how they affect one’s behaviour. The goal was to make the children aware of the significance of good and bad feelings in their lives. The discussion was followed by reading of H.C. Andersen’s tale The Ugly Duckling. After the tale, the discussion continued with pondering the meaning of the words OLE HYVÄ (“please” / “you’re welcome” in English).

Together with the 8th grade textile work pupils, the 2nd graders prepared animal masks with happy and benevolent faces. The 8th graders had earlier prepared scary masks for themselves, so they were able to teach the younger ones. The cooperation worked well and the atmosphere in the class was intense and enthusiastic.

The climax of the project with the masks came on the workshop day on November 25th 2009 when choreographer Päivi Aura and musician Jarmo Hovi brought their creative addition to the project. There were plans of bringing more publicity for the project by inviting press and possibly performing for an audience.

The project was supported by Lions Club Äänekoski/Helmi.

Viiva la tanssi

The Viiva la tanssi project was made in 2007 and 2008 in Äänekoski in cooperation with Galleria Laaja-Art. Its main theme was dialogue between dance and painting in an authentic work situation. The sessions from each year were recorded on DVD. The year 2007 part was shown in Jyväskylä in the Verstas V – open space for motion and discussion event on November 16th 2007. The year 2008 part was shown in Laaja-Art’s summer 2008 exhibition. The project team consisted of Päivi Aura (dancing), Maisa Kivi (painting), Toni Kalliomäki (shooting and editing) and Jori Mäenpää (music).