ASSITEJ world day of theatre for children is an ASSITEJ campaign, promoted and celebrated through the message ‘Take a child to the theatre, today’.  

This focus enables national centres, individual members, companies, arts organisations, academics, teachers, artists, practitioners and others interested in theatre for young audiences to connect with the idea of world day and ‘make the case’ for children’s entitlement to theatre and the arts.  

All ASSITEJ members are invited to promote special world day messages written every year, share the ASSITEJ film and consider additional activity – large or small. Each year ASSITEJ centres around the globe deliver activities ranging from conferences, performances, workshops and special media events connected to #takeachildtothetheatre.

  • WTD 2018 logos (available in English, French, and Spanish)
    Download the logos HERE

  • A complete document, including a presentation of WDT campaign and guidelines for the use of the available tools through different occasions and medias can be downloaded here : ToolKit 2018
  • The Press Release for 2018  is available here: ASSITEJ Press-Release-2018
  • Download Press Release editable file (Word) HERE

2018 World Day Message from Yvette Hardie

Take a child to the theatre today! Or Take theatre to the child? Are they equally valid? This year we have two world day message writers – one from the USA and one from Syria – which represents these two points of view speaking from starkly different realities.

#Take a child to the theatre has been our rallying cry since 2012 as we celebrate the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People every 20th March and reaffirm our commitment to every child’s right to artistic experiences created especially for them. This year I would like to argue that it’s reverse is often more justified and equally as important.

When we consider the millions of children who do not live within the easy reach of a theatre building (especially one designed for them and their needs), we must as artists expand our notions of what theatre can be if we truly believe in the arts as a basic human right. Of course this idea is not new in the history of theatre, but somehow the distinctions of formal vs. informal still seems to pervade our value systems and our notions of quality when we talk about theatre for young audiences.

The rough magic that can transform a dusty playground, or a township hall, a school classroom, or a refugee compound, is often what is most needed – not just because it is more practical and economical to meet children in their everyday circumstances, but also, more profoundly, because it IS magic. 

Theatre is always about transformation. Its capacity to transform a space of ordinariness and even crisis, into a place where the imagination is activated and unexpected possibilities unfold, is unique. It offers a moment in which children can experience powerful social change in action. Here they can see that change is possible. That magic can come from the mundane. That joy can be found even in the most deprived of spaces. The quality of a theatre experience that achieves this miracle is not less than one which allows us to take flight in a specially designed cocoon, with technology and design fully at our disposal.

Of course, we do not for a moment deny the special experience that is so particular to the dedicated theatre space. But for children experiencing the daily assault of life in a warzone, for children living in far-flung rural villages, for children living in inner-city poverty, there have to be other options. And this kind of transformation can make a profound difference to their experience of the world. 

As theatre practitioners focused on innovative practice in theatre for young audiences, we all need to ask how theatre can bring about truly transformational experiences –wherever it can find an audience – and to make these a reality. 

So let us work together to Take a Child to the Theatre… And Take Theatre to the Child in 2018.

Yvette Hardie

President of ASSITEJ

2018 World Day Message from Mohamad Al Jounde

Theater still one of the best ways to express yourself and a mirror to show people what’s good and wrong in our world, the stage is a space where you can create your own world, where you can feel your dreams coming to life. The kids i used to work with were able to show us their past and the future they wanted by the play they wrote and acted and they were able to influence people’s emotions and give them the chance to live what was real for those kids, because they never acted, there were showing their feelings and their reality in a touch of art.

Mohamad Al Jounde

Mohamad Al Jounde, form syria, won the 2017 International Children’s Right Prize, from the kidsrights foundation. He is 17 years old. Here is his story, as related by KidsRights website :

"Mohamad grew up in Syria, but fled for Lebanon when life became too dangerous at home. Like thousands of other refugee children in the country, he couldn’t go to school, so he set out to make a difference for children in the same situation. Despite of the difficult circumstances he was living in, mohamad built a school in a refugee camp. At the age of 12 already, he was teaching math and photography. Now 200 children access here their right to an education. Mohamad helps children to heal, learn and have fun with games and photography. He is a natural storyteller, raising awareness about the challenges refugee children face by bringing their stories to a wider audience." 

2018 World Day Message from Mo Willems

'World day of theater for young audiences?  Really ?

Why would you, of all people, take a kid to see “children’s theater”?

Don’t you have better things to do than watch a bunch of adults, who are usually so serious and dull, being silly or loud or sad or ridiculous just to amaze a kid you love?  I mean, who wants to be transported into a world of imagination and story? Who wants to experience characters and emotions that are both otherworldly and completely relatable?  Do you really need the magic, the transformative magic of a live performance, in your life?  Is seeing that magic through a child’s eyes right for you?  Let’s get real here: do you like creating memories that will be the springboard for future play in a young person you love?


That sounds amazing.

When you’re snuggled in your seats and the curtain rises, know that you’ll see more than just a show; you will experience a new, special connection with a child who is special to you.

Oh, and that kid will probably have fun, too.'

Mo Willems

Author, illustrator, playwright, former child.

Ps: world day of theater for young audiences is march 20, 2018.  But, the transformative magic of theater has been extended indefinitely.

The graphical message from Mo Willems

For WDT 2018, Mo Willems sent a special message from his famous Pigeon character. Download it HERE

ASSITEJ film for World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People 2018

For 2018 the World Day video has been created in Uruguay by Alvaro Adib / la Casa del arbol