ASSITEJ Newsletter N°83, February 2017



By Manon van de Water 

One of the guidelines for writing the introductions to the ASSITEJ newsletter is to write what you are thinking about. What occupies your mind and heart. And as the snow is melting here in Wisconsin I look up and I see two dogs in front of the fireplace and four cats scattered on pillows and cat trees, and I think about interaction. Interaction between humans and animals, between the seasons (because it can start snowing again in a heartbeat in February), between countries and continents, between artists and cultures, and then, of course, between research and practice. The mind wanders.

In our field, Theatre for Young Audiences, there are few, if any, researchers who do not practice their own and other’s ideas.  And there are few practitioners who are not inspired by other artists’ work. Interaction is what drives us, in particular on a global scale. The more productions we see, in diverse cultures-from diverse cultures, in various forms and styles, productions for babies or young adults, with or without children, the more we want to try ourselves, in our culture, in our city, with our artists.

ITYARN, the International Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network, just marked its 1Oth anniversary in October 2016. Its first research conference was in Adelaide, Australia in 2008, and in 2011 it became the official research network of ASSITEJ. In 2014 the ASSITEJ EC invited a network member on the EC for the first time. And in Cape Town, at the XIX ASSITEJ World Congress and Festival, ITYARN will have two days of intensive presentations and interaction between researchers and practitioners.

Interaction is also the hallmark of another network founded at roughly the same time as ITYARN, Write Local Play Global, since 2011 the Playwriting network of ASSITEJ. Of Small Size, the network of theatre for the very young. And of IIAN, the International Inclusive Arts Network, ASSITEJ Network since 2014. And of course, interaction is all about the Next Generation, young artists coming together to interact and share and spread beyond their experiences.

As I am having my first rehearsal this afternoon, I realize how all these interactions feature in my work.  Two of my students, the next generation so to speak, will experiment with and perform a play by Finegan Kruckemeyer, a playwright who was at the very first Next Gen meet in Adelaide. I had a number of interactions with Finegan, which would not have happened without the networks or ASSITEJ. I wouldn’t know about this play. My students would not know about this play and would not have come up with the idea to adapt this play and perform it in schools. They would not have gotten permission to do this.

And I would not have thought of combining it with a research project, that is the Master’s Thesis of another student who would like to research the effect of live performance in schools and create a performance curriculum around it.

Interaction, then, whether intergenerational, interdisciplinary, or intercultural, between research and practice, between performers and audience, between cultural norms and values, between networks and centers is what interests me, what I think about, and what I practice and research.

The article at the end of this February 2017 newsletter is written by two of my students who were selected to be Jim Rye Fellows at IPAY, the International Performance Art for Youth Showcase. They write about their interactions at the show case, with performances and performers, with festival and producing house directors, and within the group of REY fellows. They are our next generation of interactors, whatever their specialization may turn out to be.




Become a Friend of ASSITEJ and support the Next Generation of Theatre Makers

It is our great pleasure to introduce you to the 2017 Next Generation cohort who will be brought together for the very first time in Cape Town as part of the 19th World Congress:


Through the generosity of ASSITEJ Friends we are able to keep the Next Generation Programme going and support those participants who are the least likely to be able to participate because of financial constraints and challenges.

ASSITEJ will be holding a special ‘Meet the Next Generation’ event for Friends of ASSITEJ on Wednesday May 24, which will be a unique opportunity to meet the participants and learn about the new group.

Your support is greatly appreciated and we would urge you to consider becoming a Friend of ASSITEJ or renewing your membership today! Your support will help us guarantee future participation from young and emerging artists from all over the world.

With warm wishes Marisa, Yvette and the EC of ASSITEJ


World Day Logo and Activities

World Day is approaching and we would like to remind you to download this year's logo, if you haven't done so already. Remember you can also adapt this logo into your different languages:


We would also like to ask you to share any activities you will be having regarding World Day so that we can include this in our Press Release, as well as share with the rest of the ASSITEJ community.

We would like to remind you all to use the hashtags for this year's celebrations:

#takeachildtothetheatre    #assitejworldday    #worldday2017

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With no previous experience except for having frequented the theater as a boy, at the age of seventeen I directed a play with a cast of friends and classmates. It was presented informally at our high school and also in a more suitable space, open to the public. The play was called Dress Rehearsal: it touched on the subject of drugs and above all, as its title suggests, the mise-en-scène. It was written by my father, whose innate vocation as an actor was cultivated while he was a young man through scattered performances for local charities. Neither he nor I continued down this theatrical path, although I did become a staunch reader and watcher of plays. Curiously enough, I would later reencounter drama a different way: some of my stories written for children have been adapted for the stage over the past twenty years or more. In the beginning, if the troupes were formal, I would ask that they send me a copy of the adaptation for my approval. But as time passed, I preferred not to, giving free rein to those who do their job with the awareness that during the transit from narration to drama, something has got to give. Sometimes I have attended these performances. Others, I have learned about them through the press, or a webpage. Sometimes the literal content of the text is respected. Others, it acts as a source of inspiration for the creation of a new work. The Worst Lady in the World is the story of mine that has been staged most often, whether as a monologue or a marionette or shadow-puppet show, whether as a dramatic reading or a school play or a full-fledged professional performance. The director of a theater company once told me that they had to rescue the actress in the lead role from an enraged audience of young people who saw in her the true embodiment of evil: reality and fiction had melded in their collective imagination. I have also born witness to the demands, during a performance, that some children familiar with the story make whenever the actors follow a script that takes liberties with the original.

            A story well-told on stage doubtless captivates the children in the audience and somehow transforms them. Leaving the theater after a show, the world seems different: it has been touched by a performance that allows members of the audience to see beyond the surface. And frequently, a cathartic reaction takes hold upon seeing themselves projected through certain characters or situations. Unlike the solitude of reading, once a story makes the leap onstage, the experience changes: now it is something that is happening before our very eyes, something we may share with others. We are no longer the sole witnesses. The tale comes to life beyond our imagination and somehow, transforms us into protagonists, because we entrust the characters with our emotions and fears, our desires and frustrations. Once they are staged, fiction, music, dance, song, poetry, games, magic, and juggling are all harmonically assembled, along with the resources typical of the theatrical arts: wardrobe, lights, scenery, makeup, props. The contributions made to our cultural heritage –with an emphasis on literature and theater– invariably lead to children exercising their imaginations and finding greater meaning in life.


Francisco Hinojosa

Mexican leading author of children’s literature.

Read more.

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World Performance Week

ASSITEJ proposes a collaboration between international associations involved with different art forms related to live performance, which celebrate their World Days between March 20th and March 27th.

We invite you to participate in week long celebrations as part of the very first World Performance Week. The week includes March 20th, ASSITEJ World Day of theatre for children and young people (and the campaign “Take a child to the theatre”), March 21st, UNIMA’s World Puppetry Day, and March 27th, ITI’s World Theatre Day, which is also celebrated by other associations, such as IATC, IDEA and others.

Use the unifying logo as well as the ASSITEJ logo and the Take a Child to the Theatre Today logo, to promote the week.

By uniting the activities of these international associations, while retaining the individual character of each day, we hope to strengthen key messages around cultural entitlement connected to the March campaigns, promoting the transformative power of the performing arts for children and adults world wide, and supporting one another to reach our goals.

 We invite you all to use it and include in your publications and communications.

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Last Opportunity

To have your Advertisement in ASSITEJ Magazine 2017


To be launched in our next Congress and Festival

Cradle of Creativity!


Deadline for artwork February 28.


More information at 



Towards ASSITEJ World Congress

One Step Beyond Intercultural Exchange


Congress Registration

Registration for the 19th ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival Cradle of Creativity is now open!

Please visit the Congress website to register: http://www.assitej2017.org.za/ and don’t forget to let the ASSITEJ office now if you are planning to come! Write to us at sg@assitej-international.org


Social Events and Parties

For those centers and networks that want to book and organize any social events at the 19th ASSITEJ World Congress and Festival Cradle of Creativity, we kindly ask you to contact Liza Monteiro at liza@confco.co.za

She is the person from the ASSITEJ South Africa team in charge of social events and receptions.

It is important for you to know this would be on your own expense, but Liza will provide a venue. Should you require some technical assistance, such as a projector etc, Liza will try to include this. However, if it is necessary to hire equipment, this will also be on your own expense.

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Join us for the 2017 ASSITEJ AUCTION

Bid on unique and extraordinary objects while supporting the activities of ASSITEJ and the Next Generation Programme.

Join colleagues from across the world at The 19th ASSITEJ Congress in Cape Town and 2017 Auction. On the evening of the 3rd day of the General Assembly, colleagues from around the world are invited to come together for an evening of entertainment, fun and competitive bidding!

All proceeds will go to the Next Generation placement and residency programmes which enables younger artists from around the world to experience international exchange, many  for the 1st time.

The event will be a memorable evening for the whole of the ASSITEJ community, including participants of the 2017 Next Generation Programme brought together for the very first time in Cape Town.


Leer en Español

Read more.


ASSITEJ Networks


A day, A play #4 : The global game

Dear fellow playwrights and storytellers from all over the world,

We are delighted to announce the launching of the 4th edition of A day for a play, the TYA instant playwriting game, in conjunction with the ASSITEJ international theatre day (March 20th) and the ASSITEJ Congress in Cape Town (May 2017).

It’s a worldwide writing game designed for easy play and enjoyment. The registration is free and open to anyone who wishes to write a short script for young audiences. And there is nothing to gain but the pleasure to share an « instant playwriting » moment with fellow storytellers and other practitioners from all around the world.

As in the past editions, it will only take 24 hours (or less) of your time during the first two weeks of March 2017 (and, at the time you register, you get to choose a day between 1st and 15th). The process will be as simple and personal as it is playful. Echoing the Cape Town Congress, our topic will be, “Where do I come from?”.
On the morning of your participation in March, you’ll receive some easy and fun rules; you will write your short script in your usual language. As far as possible, please just add a short summary in English or French, along with your translated title. On March the 20th, all of the scripts will be published on the WLPG website.

For the newcomers, or those whose memory needs refreshing, everything from the past editions is readable here : http://1jour1piece.assitejfrance.fr

If you’d like to participate this year, please register as soon as possible athttps://goo.gl/forms/ZxRO5SZftU7I5C3K2
Then you’ll receive all the details about the process.
And do not hesitate to forward this announcement to any fellow playwright of yours !

Please note that from now on, Scènes d’Enfances-ASSITEJ France is passing on the organization of the game to Write Local, Play Global.

Looking forward to your answer, which we hope will be positive,
friendly yours,
Write Local, Play Global, with the technical support of Scènes d’Enfance - ASSITEJ France

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National Centers


ASSITEJ Australia

Theatre Network Australia is facilitating the sector through hosting the Australia National Centre of ASSITEJ

Australia has always been very involved in ASSITEJ International, which brings people together to share knowledge and practice within the field of theatre for children and young people. With the demise of Young People and the Arts Australia (YPAA) as an executive board, Theatre Network Australia now supports the sector, and is developing a dedicated strategy for the sector, with the input of the sector and ASSITEJ Australia representative, Sue Giles. Amongst other things, there will be a gathering at the Australian Theatre Forum, and we are continuing to be a part of ASSITEJ as a National Centre. More Info here.

Awards - Australian TYA work continues to kick goals

At IPAY (International Performing Arts for Youth) in Madison Wisconsin, Finnegan Kruckemeyer won the Mickey Miners Lifetime Achievement Award for his amazing work as a writer of theatre for young audiences. Slingsby Theatre Company won the Victor Award for Best-In-Showcase for their production of The Young King. Back in Australia, ATYP won Best Production for Young People at the Sydney Theatre Awards for Spring Awakening. Congratulations to them all!

Round up on the state of Youth Arts in Australia - Fraser Corfield, Australian Theatre for Young people (ATYP)

It is worth making a note of the demise of federal funding towards Australia’s companies whose work is focussed on collaborating with young people.

Prior to 2016 the Australia Council ran the ‘Youth Program Fund’ which offered operational funding to 12 Australian youth arts companies. There were a further two companies that received operational funding as ‘Key Organisations’. When the changes to Australia Council funding were announced in 2014 the Australia Council declared that the Youth Program Fund would be disbanded but youth companies should be able to secure funds through the new six year operation funding model or a new project funding program that could offer triennial support. This caused great concern amongst youth companies who felt that their processes and outcomes weren’t accurately reflected by the same measures applied to fully professional theatre companies and that the changes would have a very negative impact.

Read more.

International Directors Seminar

Congratulations to Jessica Wilson who will be the Australian representative and a big thank you to other applicants and to the panel for the process around this. It was a very competitive round.

Vic Youth Arts Network

Continues to meets Contact Simon Clarke at ceo@westsidecircus.org.au for more information.


ASSITEJ Azerbaijan

Theatre of Young Spectators hosted a number of foreign guests in January

One of the meetings held was with Olga Lucitskaya, the director of the          Saint - Petersburg's Famous Experimental Theatre Kovceq (Theatre Ark) in the way of expansion of international theater relations.

The theatre director Mubariz Hamidov also gave information about the history of Theatre of Young Spectators. At the same time he noted that the theater is living its renaissance period and the country's leadership pays attention and care to Azerbaijan theater sphere.

Both head of the theaters shared their views about mutual cooperation in the future, and stressed their common interests in implementing joint projects.

Olga Lucitskaya invited State Theatre of Young Spectator’s ADTYS’ to perform Fairy Tale of One Night for her audience.

The next meeting served to develop a new performance. In terms of 2017 year’s repertoire theater approved to stage Chippolino performance based on the novel with the same name by G.Rodari. So our theater invited Elena Ivanova, an artistic director of the Rostov Maximum Theater,  Head of the Art Department of the Rostov Play-directors School to manage the structure of the performance.

For more information we would like to note that, there are 4 new plays in progress at the present in the theater. In the coming days, two premieres will be demonstrated.




March 8th - 12th, Montreal, Canada

Since 2006, Festival de Casteliers has invited audiences to come explore puppetry’s various forms and techniques. Window to the world and showcase of our own, Festival de Casteliers also invites us this year to discover the Other, who comes from Russia, Slovenia, France, the United States, Alberta and Québec. (Click for video)

The festival will feature shows, short pieces, Ciné-Casteliers film projections, an installation, a roundtable discussion, a work-in-progress discussion (Budding creations!), the Marionnettes en vitrines! exhibition, workshops and much more.


Program available on line

Festival passports available on line (Quantities are limited – Not available after February 17, 2017.)

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4th International Workshop of Clowns

The TEATRO TUYO Group invites national and foreign professional theater groups to participate in the 4th International Workshop of Clowns, to be held from 20 to 25 March 2018 with proposals for children, young people and adults. Those interested should send the completed technical file or folder in PDF with the details of the show(s).

The reception of requests for participation of national groups will close in the last week of November 2017. The selected Cuban groups will be announced during the month of December 2017.
Individual companies or foreign artists will have as deadline the month of January 2018 because in due time all documentation must be processed. The economic limitations of Cuba do not allow financial support in international transportation or fees, the Organizers offer more profitable options than usual, as well as the productive logistics of elements that they need for their presentations.

The duration of the performances must NOT be less than forty minutes, nor more than 1 hour and thirty minutes (1 ½ hours).

National and international groups will perform their show at least twice.

All participants, national and foreigners will have free access to the events and activities of the Workshop specifically programmed for accredited at the event.

Clowns in Las Tunas

20th - 25th March, 2018, Las Tunas, Cuba

Las Tunas, is once again the capital of clowns in Cuba. We will share classes, workshops, conferences, exhibitions and staging on the endless universe of clown, which will make it possible for 6 days to draw together a path to achieve the utopia of dignifying clown art in our country. These days pretend to be a celebration of joy together with an audience that knows how to thank each delivery and has accompanied us in every effort throughout the 17 years of our work.

Thematic workshops for professionals and amateurs, theoretical events, concerts, exhibitions and presentations of specialized books, among other artistic actions, fill the city of Tuias well as Cuban sculpture and clowns.

We are waiting for you all to this celebration of joy! Welcome!

Contact us through our email: teatrotuyo@tunet.cult.cu and visit our website: www.teatrotuyo.tunet.cult.cu

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ASSITEJ Czech Republic

Jan Borna: Czech Director, Playwright and Poet

It is with deep regret that we inform you director, playwright and poet Jan Borna (* 25.08 1960 in Pribram, Czech Republic) died on January 16, 2017. He was one of the most important personalities of contemporary Czech theater, and won numerous awards mainly in the field of theater for children.

More information


Scènes d'enfance - ASSITEJ France

Construire des histoires / Shaping stories

Playwriting TYA laboratory in French-Speaking Africa
Regional Workshop of ASSITEJ
Organized by Scènes d'enfance - ASSITEJ France

Session #2 : The Cradle of Creativity, festival and World Congress of ASSITEJ. Cape - Town, 23 - 27 May, 2017

ASSITEJ invites 15 artists from Africa to participate in the second session of "Construire des histoires / Shaping stories", the playwriting laboratory for children and young people, in the frame of the festival "The cradle of creativity", 19th congress of ASSITEJ.

"Construire des histoires / Shaping stories" is organized by Scènes d'enfance - ASSITEJ France, in the frame of the Regional workshops of ASSITEJ.

Before proceeding to your application, please carefully read this information :

Who can take part?

Any perfoming arts artist, whatever his or her discipline, working in an African country, and who wishes to develop and share his or her skills in the field of performances for young audiences.
The working language is French

What are the goals?

Getting and and proposing skills in professional creation of performances addressed to children, adolescents, and people surrounding them. Taking part of a permanent network of African artists invested in TYA performing arts.

Read more

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The 25th Seoul Children’s Theatre Awards

At the Closing day of Winter Festival on 14th January 2017

“The Overcoat” produced by Brush Theatre made a clean sweep of the awards in the 25th Seoul Children’s Theatre Awards; Best Play/Director and Audiences Award.

"The Overcoat” invites children audience to the world of imagination where actor's movement, live music and magical screen art, all become as one. The jury of the Awards praised this piece: “a well-organized performance making audiences continuously imagine the next scene."

Since last year, ASSITEJ Korea also started to award the TYA playwrights to expand the field and encourage the progress of original plays. This year two authors were awarded as co-recipients.




International Festival of Performing Arts

for a Young Audience

March 9-12, Riga, Latvia

The theater festival ‘EJU MEKLĒT!’ is organized by ASSITEJ Latvia and will offer an exchange of experiences between theater professionals, spectators, actors, parents and children.

The festival program offers a wide range of genres - a drawing theatre, object games, nano opera, Shakespeare's text in a clownery, philosophy in movement performance, also performance as a lecture and puppetry. Additional events – international professionals symposium ‘Performing Arts for Young Audience – entertainment, education, personality and contacts program ‘Festival club’ is to be held in the framework of the festival.

The festival presents a program of professional theatre productions from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany and Russia. The program is aimed at children and youth from the ages of 1 to 18.

Full program is available here: http://ejumeklet.lv/en/program/calendar/

The aim of festival ‘EJU MEKLĒT!’ is to expose Latvian artists and performances on the international level.

More information


ASSITEJ Pakistan

Yes it has happened!!!!! National Centre of ASSITEJ Pakistan has got registration.

Previously in Pakistan, there were two individual members, The Little Art and Maas Foundation who joined two more theatre organizations to launch ASSITEJ in Pakistan.

The four founding members of ASSITEJ Pakistan are; Maas Foundation The Little Art
The Independent Theatre

Chota Mota Theatre

ASSITEJ Pakistan is working now towards Hosting ASSITEJ Asia Meet 2017 in Lahore, Pakistan - and organising Tamasha Festival (Theater for Young Audience) for the first time in the country.

ASSITEJ Asia Meet 2017

The annual meeting of ASSITEJ Asia will be hosted by ASSITEJ Pakistan in Lahore from 6th to 7th April 2017, in which delegations from ASSITEJ Asian national centers will participate and discuss cultural and theatrical development in the region, possibilities of engaging more countries from Asia for ASSITEJ & future possibilities of collaboration in theatre for children and young audiences.

Tamasha Festival 2017 (Theatre for Young Audience)

Concurrently with ASSITEJ Asia Meet 2017, ASSITEJ Pakistan will conduct Tamasha Festival 2017 (Theatre for young audience) from 7th to 9th April 2017 at Lahore-Pakistan. It is a new international performing art festival of its own kind in Pakistan, which showcases performances for young audience, hosts dialogue sessions and will offer workshops. ASSITEJ Pakistan is planning to make this festival an annual activity.

For above said happenings, ASSITEJ Pakistan had its first plenary meeting on Sunday 22nd January, 2017 to discuss and plan the upcoming TAMASHA FESTIVAL 2017 and ASSITEJ Asia meeting. Performing artists, directors, producers, educationists and art lovers of the city of Lahore participated & spent time with ASSITEJ Pakistan planning the Festival with their valuable suggestions and feedback.

Tamasha Festival in Pakistan

Call for Application

Tamasha Festival on behalf of ASSITEJ Pakistan invites international participation to its upcoming theater festival in Pakistan. As this is the first year, the festival is not inviting theater productions, but only theater experts to participate in the Festival.

TYA experts are invited to host master workshops, participate in the public panel discussions during the Festival and contribute as jury in the Festival. Please drop an email of expression of interest at umair@thelittleart.org if you are interested.

Tamasha Festival will bear the costs of boarding and lodging of the international theater experts during the Festival in Lahore.

Gogi aur Jugnoo ka Tamasha – The Little Art performs first theatre play for children and young in Lahore

After years of working with students and teachers on the importance of drama and performance in education, this is the first time The Little Art has produced a theatre play especially written and performed for children. The newly established theatre program “Tamasha – Theatre for young audience” presented a 45-minute play “Gogi and Jugnu ka Tamasha” which was a story about a 10-year-old girl who is bored as a child and encounters a mysterious friend with whom she goes on a journey of imagination.

Over a period of 3 days of the performance from 23rd to 25th September 2016 at Ali Auditorium, the halls were completely full and audience poured in hundreds on all days, curious children tagging their families along to watch the colorful performance. Nearly 1500 hundred audiences attended the shows in 3-days run.

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Tamasha member participation in JIENKYO and ASSITEJ Japan Next Generation Program Asia in Tokyo 2016

Umair Mushtaq, co-founder of Tamasha – Theatre for Young Audience, participated in Next Generation Program in Tokyo, Japan. Next Generation is a program of ASSITEJ, offering 10-day residency workshop of selected young theater makers from all across the world. This program enabled him to work with other young artists invited from across Asia and exchange ideas to work in future together. He shared great joy and experience at the program and has started on another small production for children and young of Pakistan.

Umair is leading “Tamasha –Theatre for Young Audience”, a project of The Little Art that uses theatre as a process of transformation, psycho-social connections and intellectual development of students while they develop their understanding of social life, the principles of peace and tolerance through active dialogue and engagement.



Theatre Days for Children and Young People

ASSITEJ Turkey, organised “Theatre Days for Children and Young People” at Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, between 25th and 31st January 2017. With the collobaration of alternative theatre group “Yol Atolye”, ASSITEJ Turkey invited nine small theatre companies. The festival space was ASSITEJ Turkey’s new place at Ankara. More than 1000 audience saw different performances.

During February, ASSITEJ Turkey has been organising public seminars and workshops for educators and theatre people about basic principles of physical theatre, playwriting, movement politics, making puppetry and staging process. We called it “It’s your stage” project.

Also, the new executive committe will be elected for 2017-2019 period, towards national Congress preparations. Also, preliminary work for World Theatre Day for Children and Young People 2017 and the 22th Bursa International Children and Youth Theatre Festival has just started.



New Hopper Project Set to Reshape

Early Years Theatre

Somerset Arts organisation Take Art, in partnership with Surrey Arts and China Plate, has received £92k from the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring Fund and £24k from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for the Early Years regional Theatre project Hopper, focusing on Somerset and Surrey in 2017/18.

The pioneering Early Years project will create opportunities for over 3,500 babies and pre-school children to experience and influence the development of great art and culture in their Early Years setting. Taking place over two-years, Hopper will bring specially created theatre shows into theatres, pre-schools, nurseries, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from poorer less advantaged areas.

This not JUST a touring programme but there is also a call out for companies wishing to adapt early years work that normally tours into small/mid scale theatres for touring to EY settings.

There will be plenty of opportunities for EY theatre makers to join in the professional development programme too.

Phil Gibby the SW Area Director for the Arts Council said“We’re really pleased to be supporting Hopper as we believe that all children and young people, whoever they are and wherever they live, should have the opportunity to experience the richness of arts and culture.”

Please click here to read the full story bit.ly/HopperNews


Articles Section.

Knowledge - Experiences - Reflections.


Collaborative co-enquiry – on stage and offstage. School Without Walls

By Kate Cross.

It is no easy task reaching out to children so that they can see great plays. In England, every second of a child’s life has a prescribed, educational learning outcome attached to it, yet only through schools can we reach the vast majority of young people.

Still adamant that we can make a difference, our Creative Learning Department aims to establish a two-way dialogue with teachers. But before long, they are delivering workshops on The Greek Gods and leading historical guided tours of the theatre. How effortlessly do we mirror the state of the Education system that adopts a top-down, knowledge-based approach to teaching?

And how inadvertently can we neglect our core purpose of ‘children witnessing art’?

 If we agree that in any well-crafted play, the audience and the characters in the play start off from an equal position of ignorance and knowledge, that we should neither learn from the play, nor should the play make a pretence of asking our advice, then can we not adopt this conceit in the learning that we undertake with children?

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IPAY 2017: Unpacking The Can’t

By Claire Mason and Bridgett Vanderhoof

How often has our desire to engage with young people been derailed by questions of means, consumerism, or cultural censorship?  As theatre artists / practitioners / participants, we frequently face a wall of can’ts: you can’t show children that, you can’t afford this space, you can’t cross that line, you can’t, you can’t, you can’t. But what is really keeping us from practicing / experiencing that which might be far too experimental / expensive / intellectual / controversial / culturally inaccessible?  Moreover, as this year’s keynote speaker Dasha Kelly of Still Waters Collective suggested, how might we use our privilege: be it privilege of thought, privilege of space, privilege of experience, privilege of imagination, and/or privilege of education to turn the impossible into the possible?

Theatre makers from all around the world gathered in Madison, WI, USA to explore these central questions during the International Performing Arts for Youth Showcase (IPAY), January 17th-21st 2017. The IPAY “showcase” is held each year in a North American city, and it provides a space for presenters and venues to interact with artists and productions they may want to program in their upcoming seasons and with the option to book those productions on the spot.  As a marketplace for TYA touring productions, the Showcase features full length productions of theatre, dance, and musical acts for the young (both in age and at heart), Spotlights focusing on ten minute snapshots of additional shows, and there is an exhibit hall for agents and presenters to gather and highlight additional shows for booking.

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