The current situation in TYA in Germany is difficult and the timeline for theatres going back to work is yet undecided. It is not only that performances are impossible, but also rehearsals, at least for another few weeks. Most theatres that address young audiences do not expect any kind of business as usual before the beginning of 2021.
The board of ASSITEJ Germany has set up two working groups that also include volunteers from the membership: One working group deals with how the art of theatre can react to the situation and how it will change with regard to its dialogue with the audience, its production processes, the use and development of digital tools and the ideas of co-presence and physicality. The other working group implements strategies that address politicians, arts administration and potential allies (parents, doctors) that we will need when future budgets are discussed and the relevance of our work is at stake.
The focus of our political work lies on two things: The situation of artists and cultural institutions – there are many fellow associations we work with in this field – and the situation of children and young people: Their needs remain unseen in the current crisis and their voices remain unheard in the public discussions. TYA has long claimed that we live for the child’s right to participation in culture and the arts, that we give children’s issues a stage and make children’s voices heard. So this is what we are trying to do now – locally, together with our members. We are collecting examples of public discourse, newspaper articles, petitions etc. that discuss and claim children’s rights and voice their needs in crisis. One example is this initiative called “our perspective”: http://unsereperspektive.de/
ASSITEJ Germany and KJTZ are running a “virtual season” of premieres, reading and discussion under the headline with+distance (mit+abstand) that can be followed here. Mini-scholarships enable (young) artists to produce plays, performances, discussions etc. and keep contact with their audiences or involve young people in the discussion about the future of theatre. It is mostly in German, but please do contact Meike Fechner (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about the project.