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By Kenjiro Otani, member of the Executive Committee of ASSITEJ

Longing for Space and Time to Put Ideas into Practice

Usually when I put a pen in my hand, it runs and dances on the piece of paper as if to catch up with a dream envisioned in the head. But these days, as soon as I sit at my desk and put the pen in my hand, it starts moving awkwardly and instead of writing sentences with thoughts, it sketches words so randomly as if one word calls for another, and then I realize, I’m looking out the window searching for spaces for thoughts and ideas.

If “that” didn’t occur, we would have met, enjoyed conversations, and exchanged our future plans for performing arts for children and young people here in Tokyo, under our strategic theme, “Towards the Unknown.”

Luckily, the technology was ready in time so that we were able to meet online in the ASSITEJ Coffee Sessions and carry on such fruitful conversations both regionally and thematically.

I’d say the conversations were fruitful because we were able to share our experiences and to speak about each other’s current situations, which for most of us, brought such relief.

At the same time, they were also confrontational, hearing the situations for theatres for young audiences that cannot reach their audiences....

Most probably (here in Tokyo for sure!), there have been so many online conversations among practitioners that are fruitful and confrontational, severe and depressing, learning and exhausting.

Or should I say, “a bit overloaded”?

I do believe we have faced the situation in every way we can, not knowing what may come in future, but making full use of the technology, and yes, my brain is full of words so scattered and scratched as if they were the ruins of thoughts, searching for certainty for the future! But the future is so uncertain and it is now even more unknown, so that now when I realize I’m looking out the window I am searching for opportunities to hear the voiceless voices of children and young people because they are the future.

So, let’s admit that the future is uncertain and it will always be. But we do know that we are here, available to listen to the voices of those who live in the future and together with them, we are here to create the imaginative world of so-called theatre, in order to construct the future to come, taking steps towards the unknown.

We are all looking forward to meeting you here in Tokyo in March 2021 for the postponed ASSITEJ World Congress. Until then, hang in there!

ASSITEJ International news

Successful online General Assembly

Due to Covid-19 ASSITEJ was not able to hold its General Assembly as planned in Tokyo, Japan and instead the 20th ASSITEJ World Congress has been postponed.

The Executive Committee decided to hold a Special Meeting, a reduced General Assembly where the members were asked to approve the decision of postponing the Election of the Executive Committee to March 2021, and decide on the hosts for ASSITEJ Artistic Gatherings 2022 and 2023.

The assembly was held over a week and included live sessions in two different time zones with around 200 participants and more than 10.000 views on Facebook of the live streamings. The Assembly proved a valuable experience to include members who are not able to travel, in the organizational decisions. We now have a way to engage in the future which will be very useful.
See the voting results
Read more about the process and agenda

Something to look forward to:
Places and dates for ASSITEJ Artistic Gatherings 2022 & 2023 are now decided!

ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering 2022 in Helsingborg, Sweden

The General Assembly of ASSITEJ approved the proposal from ASSITEJ Sweden to host ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering 2022 at Bibu Festival in Sweden.

Save the dates: 17 - 22 May 2022

For more information read the bid document or see the bid movie. 

ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering 2023 in Belgrade, Serbia

ASSITEJ Serbia won the bid for the ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering 2023.

Before Covid-19 Serbia planed to host the Gathering in 2021. Due to the postponement of the 20th ASSITEJ World Congress Serbia decided to move the bid to 2023.

Save the dates: 21 - 26 May 2023

For more information read the bid document.

ASSITEJ continues the online Coffee Sessions

The 16 regional Coffee Sessions have been important platforms for connection and exchange in times of crisis and isolation. More than 800 persons have been part of the conversations in the meetings and many have followed the live streamings on Facebook (23.000 views). 

ASSITEJ will continue the online meetings over the coming months. The two first sessions we can announce are:

Manifesto - points of action

Some of the regional coffee sessions elaborated a manifesto for TYA in the present times of crisis. These two meetings will engage with the global membership and identify possible actions on national, regional and global levels.

Meeting A
(time zones: Africa, Europe, the Americas)

Date: 2 July 2020 Time: See the time in your time zone

Language: English. Translations into Spanish & French by volunteers.
Register here

Meeting B (time zones: Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe)

Date: 3 July 2020 Time: See the time in your time zone

Language: English
Register here

National Centre Workshop

ASSITEJ has around 75 national centres. This is a workshop for board members, staff and other active members who wish to exchange and get inspirations for how the national centres can serve their membership and national TYA scene during this time in particular.

Date: 7 July 2020 Time: See the time in your time zone

Language: English
Register here

Both meetings are open to all. 

News from around the World
Black Lives Matter

Hear the statement


A statement from TYA/USA

Theatre for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA) will not remain silent as we continue to experience the emergency of systemic racism. We grieve the senseless and unjust killing of George Floyd, and the countless others who have lost their lives to injustice and police brutality. Black lives matter, and children need to be included in the conversation in order to make change.

The TYA community must recognize that we play a vital role in shaping the narrative through the stories we tell and those we don’t tell to young people across the nation. Young people of color have been consistently underrepresented in all content created for kids and families. They need to be reflected and celebrated on our stages. In addition to denouncing racism and violence against people of color in our communities, our field needs to look inward. We need to invest in and champion more artists of color, reflect the diversity of our communities in our organizational staff and boards, and use the stage to demonstrate our values. How do we ensure that the stories we tell develop empathy, build bridges, and communicate that the lives of our children of color matter?

TYA/USA recommits to galvanizing our national network to create the systemic changes needed to fight for justice and demand change. Our young people deserve better than the world we are offering them, and it is our job to help rewrite the story.

Lire en français

Study on Racial and Gender Diversity in TYA in the US

Theatre for Young Audiences USA / ASSITEJ USA released a timely study on racial and gender diversity in TYA in USA. 

Read the research report

The release was featured in The New York Times under the title "Theatre for Young Audiences Say They Need to Be More Diverse".

See other TYA-USA initiatives for change for an antiracist tomorrow

Photo: A staged reading of All American Boys, originally developed by Off the Page based on the book of the same name, presented at the Alliance Theatre in May 2019 as part of the TYA/USA National Festival & Conference. Photo: Sara Keith Studios

ASSITEJ South Africa collaborates

ASSITEJ South Africa

During the emergency created by COVID-19, ASSITEJ SA has used the time to build bridges with other organisations and to address the most vulnerable communities, which of course include our artists and our children.

A number of new civil society initiatives have emerged during this period in South Africa, and amongst others, ASSITEJ SA has engaged with Im4theArts (a new initiative to bring together artists and all those in the cultural sector, across the spectrum to lobby government for better policies and stronger implementation of these). 

Read the article

12th Drama for Life Conference and Festival

ASSITEJ South Africa

ASSITEJ SA in partnership with Drama for Life presents: The 12th Drama for Life Conference and Festival, ‘Masidlale: Exploring Connection’. 20-24 August 2020, which will happen mostly online.

ASSITEJ South Africa is collaborating with Drama for Life in hosting an exciting, innovative and relevant ‘conference and festival’ to explore the current Arts landscape right now in the time of COVID 19, with support from the National Lotteries Commission of South Africa for the In the Works festival elements.

Read the article

Global meeting of Inclusivity Champions

IIAN held the first meetings for Inclusivity Champions from over 30 countries.

Many of these Champions are individuals selected by their National ASSITEJ Centres to be a point of contact and information, supporting inclusivity in their countries. They are working with a team of Post Graduate students from Rose Bruford College (UK) to create a global snapshot of inclusive work and practice.

Read more
Hear the article


ASSITEJ Hungary, Germany, France, UK, Netherlands

What kind of world do you want to live in? And what are you going to do about it?

What does the European identity mean when this community is made up of several communities with different traditions?

    Read the article "INTERNATIONAL THEATRE CAMP IN MY LIVING ROOM" by Hungarian Attila Eck

    Read more

    The Children Who Won’t be Going to The Theatre - Even After Covid-19

    Small Size / Inclusivity

    “For Children with special needs, cultural institutions are closed not only for two-three months as a result of a pandemic, but year-round. The dark hall, the loud sounds, and the preachy and hurtful audience – all of these keep them at home. Or Alterman-Barnea, a mother to a child with autism and a social entrepreneur, on the frustration of “getting back to normal”.

    Or Alterman-Barnea

    “Culture is not a privilege, it’s a necessity”, “Culture is the horizon, it’s air, oxygen” – These type of sayings were heard during the past month as part of the protest of the artists, who rightfully call to reopen cultural establishments. It’s very easy to sympathize with those statements, both in the personal and financial aspects of each and every one of us, cultural consumers.

    However, these sayings by mayors, managers of cultural institutions, and independent artists are not the reality for 30 thousand children, for whom closed halls, are just another part of their everyday life, regardless of any pandemic, every year, and year-round.

    Read the article

    Tales on the phone… On the phone!

    The international initiative close to the children and their families during the COVID emergency

    By Claire Templeton, Executive Producer at Theatre Rites

    Due to the serious situation that Europe is experiencing in recent weeks, Campsirago Residenza has launched a special initiative for all children: an original reading-game of Favole al telefono by Gianni Rodari, actually performed on the phone. Tales on the phone is an interactive reading performed by an actor or actress. Following the numerous requests that came from Italian families living in England, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Germany, France, Holland, Canada, Campsirago Residenza decided to exceed national boundaries to make its initiative truly international.

    Read the article

    Petiz em Casa - A collaborative Art experience for Children in times of pandemic

    ASSITEJ Brazil

    In times of social distancing, with the presence of the children at home, arts play an important role not only in the aesthetic dimension, as an object of enjoyment, but also as an emotional and affective element.

    Petiz em Casa (May 15 to 25, 2020) emerged in this context, as a virtual space for the public to meet with artistic works focused on childhood.

    Read more news from Brazil 

    Creativity in the Classroom

    ASSITEJ Jordan

    The National Centre for Culture and Arts (NCCA) of King Hussein Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE) commenced in February training courses on Drama in Education and Theatre Arts Techniques for 400 teachers of grades 1-12 in three areas: Amman, Irbid and Al-karak and continue the training after the lockdown due to COVID-19 in May and June.

    A teachers’ manual was produced by specialists from NCCA and MOE consisting of two sections: section one on drama strategies in role playing, improvisation, stage

    pictures and depictions, voice and speech, creative writing, creative movement. And section two on theatre arts techniques.

    More news from ASSITEJ Jordan

    New online platform for exhange between artists and children.

    ASSITEJ Switzerland

    Members of ASSITEJ Switzerland / Suisse / Svizzera / Svizra have used the break in production due to the corona to develop a new website, through which dance and theatre professionals can exchange ideas with children (6 to 12 years) and families in a new way. 

    The contributions follow the dialogical principle of the theatre and encourage the children to become creative. 

    Children get to know dance and theatre makers in a different way, get involved in research for new productions and can directly accompany their creation: www.theaterfuerzuhause.ch

    Two videos from ASSITEJ members

    ASSITEJ Denmark
    A greeting from the members of ASSITEJ in times of quarantine

    A (point of) view: Show me your kitchen!

    When Covid-19 reached Denmark and quarantine became our daily reality artists in the membership of ASSITEJ Denmark started an initiative of sharing small scenes of our lives in our limited worlds.

    Soon members from other countries also sent their contributions: Brazil, Germany, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nepal.

    If you wish to add a video write to lv@assitej.dk

    ASSITEJ Italy
    What is TYA?

    ASSITEJ Italy asked this question to its members. the Italian professionals who daily work for in the field.

    TYA is a fundamental part in the cultural field. It is a world made of artists, workers, professionals, technicians, managers. TYA is a world to discover, recognize, support. Now more than ever.
    Together with ASSITEJ Italy are the famous comedians Aldo Giovanni & Giacomo.
    Teatro Ragazzi!

    View all open calls

    Discover various opportunities in TYA!

    Video Library of performing arts

    ASSITEJ Spain

    ASSITEJ Spain continues with the work of archiving, documenting and recovering specialised material in the performing arts sector for children and young people.

    In this line, we start a VIDEO-LIBRARY OF PERFORMING ARTS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH, a specialized resource where you can find videos of complete shows for young audiences and other materials.

    The ASSITEJ Spain VIDEO-LIBRARY is born with the intention of serving as a tool for the study and documentation of a creative field characterized by the work of permanent research and investigation.


    Rampenlichter - The Dance and Theatre Festival for Children and Youth 2021


    The Rampenlicher Festival calls for productions by and with children and young people that have been created in independent projects, youth cultural, inclusive or cultural educational contexts, in independent ensembles and contexts, in cooperation with schools or at dance and theatre institutions.

    Read more

    Upcoming Festivals

    Check out the upcoming festivals in the ASSITEJ network and beyond!

    A chance to see Danish theatre in 2020

    ASSITEJ Denmark

    Aprilfestival 2020 and Danish+ had to cancel due to Covid-19.

    Now Horsens Teaterfestival (18-20 September 2020) opens the programme to international visitors.

    The programme presents 152 performances

    Contact ASSITEJ Denmark as soon as possible and no later than 15 July if you consider attending the festival: lv@assitej.dk

    Festivals in Germany in 2021

    ASSITEJ Germany

    As theatres are slowly re-opening in Germany and we are all experimenting with new possibilities, several festivals are programmed for next year already.

    See the festivals and dates here 

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