The World Day of Theatre for Children and young people is an ASSITEJ campaign, promoted and celebrated through the message ‘Take a Child to the Theatre Today’.

World Day campaign 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. Individuals from across the world are invited to promote the World Day messages 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 2017 logos logo-assitej-ingles_-horizontal

Editable file of the World Day of Theatre Logo on InDesign, for translation into any language HERE

  • A complete document, including a presentation of WTD campaign an guidelines for the use of the available tools through different occasions and medias can be downloaded here : ToolKit2017
  • The press release for 2016  is available here : ASSITEJ Press-Release-2016(pdf file)

2016 World Day Message from Jenny Sealey

Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre Company,

Co-director of the 2012 London Paralympics.


I simply cannot imagine a world without theatre or the arts. As a young Deaf girl, ballet classes became a safe place to be me. It was a visual world and one where I participated through watching and the relief of not having to lip read was liberating. I would get lost in the exercises and so loved the creating of ballet stories and performing. Ballet was my first experience of storytelling and as I got older I got involved in theatre and most importantly Young People’s Theatre. What an extraordinary training ground for any actor and what an opportunity to share creative space with children and young people listening to the stories of their lives and making them into plays to give their experiences, trials and tribulations of life a platform to be heard.

At the time of writing I am directing Stepping Stones by Mike Kenny which I co-directed with Jon Palmer for Interplay 18 years ago. The production was ( as is the new one with Graeae’s new Ensemble cast of all Deaf and disabled performers, aged between 20-22 year old) for young people with profound and multiple disabilities, for young Deaf and blind, disabled and non- disabled people. The joy of working thinking about creative access with sign language, audio description, sound and atmosphere is cemented in the belief that ALL young people should have full and equal access to theatre.

I get increasingly frustrated that the importance of creating work for and with and by young people is still not fully recognised and funded. It breaks my heart knowing that many disabled children are not deemed worthy of an education in many many countries, BUT my travels around the world are a reminder that the passion of those of you who drive this work means that we will not have a world without theatre and that theatre is an education to a life.

As 2016 marks the 10th year since the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People was adopted at the United Nations, it is a great opportunity to hold hands across the globe to continually fuel that passion and to work as a community to ensure we are able to make, create and share theatre that matters, by and for those who matter.






Download Message Jenny Sealey PDF version

Message 2016 from Yvette Hardie

President of ASSITEJ


It is five years since we started the #Takeachildtothetheatretoday campaign, which is celebrated in many places around the globe on and around the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People, 20th March. This campaign has offered ASSITEJ members a strong space for advocacy, and with the campaign has come many compelling reasons, contained in messages, speeches and articles, arguing for why children and young people should be exposed to theatre.

These reasons include: the rights of children as cultural citizens; the fact that theatre educates holistically though fostering multiple intelligences; the importance of cultivating curiosity, imagination and joy in children; the need for children to have hope in an often confusing and desperate world; the importance of aesthetic awareness and a capacity to embrace the diverse languages of the arts; the need for community, connection and empathy; the present-now-ness of theatre and its capacity to allow us to confront and question the world as we experience it; the urgency of embracing a diversity of views…

But I wonder if there isn’t another, more fundamental, reason why artists make work for young audiences, that goes beyond these stated intentions.

This reason may be far more deeply personal. In making work for children and young people, we are able to nurture, to heal and to strengthen the inner child in ourselves.

When a group of South African township-based youth started to work on a play for very young children, they discovered that making the work required that they nurture, rediscover, or in some cases, discover for the very first time…the innocence, the tenderness, the vulnerability, and potential wholeness within themselves. This began a profound healing process for these young artists which deeply affected them and which has motivated them to continue exploring in the field.

From this deep personal need, we then in turn are able to influence others. By nurturing ourselves into greater wholeness, we are able to enter into a more whole relationship with our audience. We are also able to offer parents and children, families, teachers, care-givers and their charges, opportunities to see the world through the eyes of the youngest amongst us.

So often I have heard some variation as I leave the theatre of a parent saying, “I couldn’t believe that my child could sit still for so long”, or “that my child found so much humour in that play”… in these moments of discovering who that child really is, theatre artists may in turn be contributing to greater wholeness in these fundamentally important relationships.

Perhaps the greatest gift that theatre for children and young people can give us – whether we are an artist, audience member, parent, teacher or child – is the gift of finding wholeness in brokenness, and rediscovering who we were always meant to be.





Download Message Yvette Hardie PDF Version

View messages in Portuguese

View messages in Dutch

View messages in German


ASSITEJ’s video for WTD 2016