This award, generally funded by an endowment of the late Nat Eek, is given every three years at the ASSITEJ World Congress and Festival. The award is given to an individual creative artist or company that has achieved noteworthy artistic excellence in theatre for children and young people over the previous three years.
ASSITEJ received 15 nominations. Out of these the selection committee allocated two winners and one honorable mention. The selection committee for the 2017 award was made up of:
• Diana Kržanić Tepavac– Serbia
• Manon van de Water – USA (Chair)
• Marisa Giménez Cacho – México
• Razi Amita – Israel
• Sookhee Kim – South Korea
The winners of the award were:
Johan De Smet (Belgium)
Johan de Smet received the award for recognition of his ability to establish dialogue, and to achieve a high quality in his artistic work. Johan is seen as a leader of theatre, influential and dominant, especially with his work in the production house De Kopergieterij. Over the last three years, he is listed as a coach, creator, director, and co-creator. While this work builds on previous work, he continues to be a leading innovator who encourages and inspires other artists to make creative work for the future. He was nominated by five centres in all for the award.
Mattias Andersson (Sweden)
Mattias Andersson received the award for innovation, building a dramaturgy that emerges from society. Mattias’s work over the last three years centers around one specific piece of work, Acts of Goodness. The award was given both based on the quality of this production and the innova-tion in creation and presentation: it was created on peoples’ reactions and state-ments throughout Europe to what they think is an act of goodness, and presented through the voices of these people, each in their own language, exemplifying the link between art and society.
Nadezhda Alexeeva – Russia (Honorable Mention)
Nadezhda Alexeevna received an honorable mention for her work in Russia where she continues to push boundaries. Much of her work is experimental and creative. The Kingfestival in Novgorod, which she runs, was one of the first festivals to bring in young critics and make them an active part of the festival. Her work in the last three years includes a theatre marathon, young critics laboratory, and a residence for new faces of ASSITEJ.