A World Day Video Project at Theater Meissen (Germany) takes the Manifesto (6: addressing
local authorities) as its’ starting point. 21-year old Lena Baessler describes why the theatre’s
youth club has decided to fight for children’s rights to participate in arts and culture.
When I think of my childhood, music and theatre were an important part of my life from a very early
age. I still remember my first singing performances, where my father accompanied me on the guitar,
as well as my first performances with the drama group at primary school and the theatre group at
secondary school – these moments are still unforgettable for me today. My family’s support, the local
music school, the youth theatre group of the municipal theatre – all this made it possible for me to
discover and develop my joy for theatre and music.
But not every child and young person has these opportunities. It needs ideas, committed people and
politicians, financial means and free offers that support families with financial problems and enable
them to participate.
I want every child and young person to have the opportunity to participate in arts and culture, just
like I did. In saying this, I speak for our entire youth theatre group in Meissen under the direction of
Utz Pannike. Access to arts and culture, whether it’s music or literature, performing or visual arts,
creates a new approach to oneself. It helped me, and still helps me, to find myself and to get to know
new aspects of myself. Participation should be possible for everyone, here in Meissen and
Our project for the World Day of Theatre for Young Audiences 2021 takes the form of an interview
report. It’s meant to support strengthen the claim for participation in arts and culture for children
and young people and to show what kind of structure and support is necessary to make this reality.
We focus on rural areas and address political bodies, administrations and educational institutions
with our thoughts and ideas.
We want to ask ourselves these and other questions in self-interviews, express our ideas and wishes
as well as raise our own questions: “Where can I participate in the arts in my region?”, “What would
be places where I would like to go and where I could participate in arts and culture?”, “Do I have any
influence myself?”, “Can I mediate arts and culture for others?”
We will also interview people who work towards similar goals or those who already offer projects in
cooperation with children and young people: “How do you feel about the current situation with
regard to the participation of children and young people in arts and culture? What ideas are there to
improve it? How do you enable and promote children’s and young people’s access to public places
and central institutions? What do you wish for the future regarding this topic?”. We will interview the
head of the department of culture, grammar school choir teachers and the people running the social
project “The Arch”. In the end, the interviews and our self-interviews will be edited into a report and
shown in the foyer of the Theatre and published on its website and YouTube. In this way, people
outside the theatre can also become aware of our project. We hope that we can convince institutions
and organisations here and elsewhere with our ideas, concepts and suggestions. We are excited and
looking forward to our results!
Lena Bäßler (*1999) on behalf of the youth theatre group at the Theatre Meissen / Germany.