Performance created by Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener. Theirworld's launch of Act for Early Years in the US at the Sean Kelly Gallery, New York on 20 September 2023

Theirworld collaborates with the art world

As part of the global Act For Early Years Campaign, the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York teamed up with Theirworld and the celebrated Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener Dance Company to use the power of dance and art to shine a spotlight on the need for an early years revolution to support the world’s youngest children.

Bringing together more than 150 guests from the worlds of politics, international development, education, business, youth and showbusiness to celebrate the launch of Act For Early Years in the United States, the evening kicked off with a performance by Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener.

The performance – inspired by the “joy and wonder of children” – engaged young children under the age of five as collaborators in the process. The dance company spent time working with children, learning their movements and harnessing their inspiration and aspiration for the performance.

See our recap of the performance and event here:



The Act For Early Years campaign is calling on governments around the world to urgently prioritise spending on the early years – not least because of the profound effect the quality of early years care can have on children and their families. Scientific research shows that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of five.

The performance was accompanied by a hard-hitting Theirworld policy brief on the state of the early years for children in the US. A poll for the charity found that parents across the US are struggling to pay for childcare, with 59% saying their childcare expenses had risen in the previous six months. In addition, 42% of “Gen Z” parents aged 18-24 reported spending between 30% and 70% of their income on childcare costs.

Justin van Fleet. Theirworld's launch of Act for Early Years in the US at the Sean Kelly Gallery, New York on 20 September 2023

We thought there was no better way to bring this campaign to New York City than by harnessing the creativity of the arts community and collaborating directly with artists.

Justin van Fleet, President of Theirworld

“People are looking for positivity and ways to make an impact in their community in their world. Partnering with artists unleashes an infinite set of possibilities to communicate about the issues we work on and provide tangible ways for the public to engage in supporting solutions aimed at a more hopeful and prosperous future.”

Sarah Brown, Chair of Theirworld, said: “Providing for children in their early years must be treated as a public good, not a private test of a family’s financial strength. Parents around the world should no longer be reduced to hoping for the best, crossing their fingers that the inadequate care they are often forced to use isn’t a risk to their child’s safety or their future prospects in life.

“We are calling on governments to Act For Early Years by committing the programmes, people and public funding required to ensure every child gets the best start in life.”

Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener’s performance was inspired by their young collaborators.

Rashaun Mitchell said: “This is our first time being asked specifically to make a dance inspired by kids. But we’ve been making work for 14 years together and a lot of times we feel like the process of making dance and experimentation in general is kind of really childlike. We want to deliver the sort of feeling of joy and wonder and possibility that is within all children and hopefully that will be a strong enough message for supporting this wonderful organisation.”