ASSITEJ has developed a new three-year artistic dramaturgy in order to promote exchange, the building of networks and new directions in TYA.
After the bushfire, the undergrowth and the trees grow back differently. Their shapes have changed. The blackburnt trunks remain while the green, tender shoots and leaves are the promise of new life and richness of a diverse ecology.
Regenerating is an active word – a word for the present while acknowledging the past, and aiming to the future.
Regenerating can be played with: life, transition, health, affinity, handing over, transformation, energy, old and new, power, restoring, hope.
We propose a three-year shape that works with this idea across our gatherings, communications, articles and campaigns.
2022 – Regenerating: handle with care
We see our theme exploring both the environment and our social fabric through the words Handle with Care.
The world, the planet, climate change, environment: these are big focus points for us all as we contemplate our impact on this earth and a huge focus of concern, of stress and of fear for children and young people. As practitioners in TYA around the world, we know our response is essential and we have begun the work to imagine ways we can challenge our traditions, change our perspectives, move outside our comfort zones and create new forms of artistic work. What do we take and what do we give back? The planet must be handled with care.
I am Because You Are. Where I start you do not end.
We also need to handle with care our artistic community; regenerating generosity. We need to be aware of damage done to entire fields of practice and of the fragility of artists as so many struggle to survive. We can lean into the feelings of responsibility and being vulnerable, express the emotional rollercoaster through our art and our discussion, questioning our habits, practices and methods. We can observe and examine our own sustainability as artists and as the global TYA community – what makes us strong? We can celebrate new growth in our practices and relish the old. We can find out when we need to unlearn so we can be open to different forms of communication and different ways of making and appreciating TYA work.
The major theme for Bibu and the AAG 2022 is sustainability and is explored through connection with the sustainable development goals of the UN as well as the programming of Indigenous performance from around the world.
2023 – Regenerating: connecting voices
Connecting voices means connecting with all parts of the globe, connecting with those who are not being heard, bringing new people forward. It means a focus on inclusion and access in their universal terms – economic, geographic, age, ability, internet. It asks ‘who is not at the table?’ It means working with new forms to encourage voices differently, or to hear them for the first time, or to explore entirely new ways of communicating.
Connecting voices means gathering new energy ( Regenerating) by collaborating and overcoming gaps of age/gender/culture/economics. It means shifting power and resources, sharing in solidarity and respect. It invites us to be curious about one another instead of feeling threatened. It could create stages and platforms for those who haven’t been heard or seen yet. With this theme we work to create safe spaces and brave spaces, being loud together, speaking with one voice without denying our differences. We look to alliances with partners within and outside TYA fighting for the same values. When we connect voices we listen, listen, listen.
The second ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering is in Serbia and the theme here is voices and new generations.
2024 – Regenerating: embodying vision
Embodying vision adds action to imagination and hope. We forge collaborations and exchange. We participate and invite others to do so too. Participation in and with: as audience and as active agents in creation.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” – we want to be performing action instead of making declarations – less talking more doing! When embodying vision you start with yourself: your personal possibility to change things in the world for the better. Seeking to inspire others and be inspired yourself, questioning what is happening within and around you, and asking ‘what have we achieved so far and what are the next steps?’
Embodying vision also, vitally, asks us to recognise ourselves as artists , as creators, as makers and as movers. How do we use our power in performance? Can we test the limits of what we can do and how? How can we use theatre and performance for young people to make the changes we all hope for?
The World Congress in Cuba in 2024 has a focus on voices also but we also hear from our friends there, that theirs is a culture of involvement, participation and children central to activity in TYA.
We have responded to the energy of Cuba’s presentation and the way they have drawn their picture of the event – the voices of the children and the urge of music, participation and celebration