"A wave of interest, policy and activities in children and young people's participation has passed through many countries over recent years. As participation activities have proliferated, so have challenges arisen as people have sought to translate the rhetoric of children and young people's participation into realities. Working across collaborators in Brazil, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom, this article draws on the collaboration's interest in ‘transformative participation’ as a potential way forward. The article begins with reviewing the growth of this concept within development studies, including its ties with empowerment. The article seeks to go further, to consider other potential concepts and theories that may critique or add to ideas of ‘transformative participation’: namely the concept of ‘co-production’; and ideas of performance and multimodal pedagogy. The article discusses the potential for co-production to recognize children and young people's assets, capabilities and abilities, and to facilitate deeper engagement in service and policy development. The potential of performance-as-participation is more testing, valorising different ways of participation and communication, emphasizing creativity, affect and embodiment rather than rationality and governance. Such ideas may have equal, or even more potential, for ‘transformative participation’" (copied from the abstract).