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By Yvette Hardie, President of ASSITEJ
Hearing your voices, seeing your faces

This month was going to be the much-anticipated period in which the ASSITEJ family came together from across the globe to celebrate, to reflect and to reimagine the Unknown Future – together in Tokyo at the ASSITEJ World Congress and the MIRAI Festival. Instead we find ourselves at home, with (for almost all of us), our projects postponed or cancelled, our theatre spaces empty, our rehearsal rooms and offices now our homes and no plans for travel in the immediate future.

It is an extraordinary time which is calling for the deepest resolve, the greatest solidarity, especially with the poorest and most vulnerable, and the most powerful imaginations to envisage what possibilities exist for the arts for our children and young people within this “new normal”.

We have seen incredible energy and engagement from artists and administrators across the world as they tackle the challenges presented, and there have been many inspiring examples of artists finding new ways to explore, to reach their audiences and to advocate for the importance of the arts in the lives of children – some of which are shared in this newsletter.

While we are excited that the possibility to meet in real time and space is still there for March 2021, and in the years ahead, as the recent call to members has made clear, we are also aware that we need to make a plan for the now as well.

Our need for connection, for conversations about what is possible, for sharing of dilemmas and solutions, is powerful, and ASSITEJ wants to find ways to keep connecting with our members ongoingly through this difficult time. We will hold a Special meeting of the General Assembly for the period when we would have come together in Tokyo, and we are planning a series of engagements hosted by different EC members and ASSITEJ members for the months ahead. While we know that online access is not easy for everyone, we want to see what we can do to make connection possible in these times, and we look forward to connecting with you in real time in the near future. If you have innovative ideas for how this can happen, please let us know.

I look forward to hearing your voices, seeing your faces and sharing the energy and passion which is at the heart of what we do and why we do it. Till then, enjoy what this newsletter has to offer… and see you soon!

Special meeting of the General Assembly


DATES: 18 – 26 MAY 2020


  1. A video conference between members, the Executive Committee and the bidders for ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering 2022 and 2023.
    The meeting will take place on 18th and 19th May in two time zones.
    - Meeting A :
    Mainly for members from Africa, Europe and the Americas.
    Date: Monday 18 May 2020
    Time: 3 pm – 5 pm South African Standard Time

    - Meeting B :
    Mainly for members from Asia and Oceania.
    For this meeting ASSITEJ provides translations into Mandarin and Japanese.
    Date: Tuesday 19 May 2020

    Members should attend only one of the two meetings.

  2. Circulation of the recorded online meetings and questions by email.
    The online meeting will be recorded and circulated to all members. Members can send questions by email to the Executive Committee and the candidate of the ASSITEJ Artistic Gatherings. All questions and answers will be shared on the website of ASSITEJ. Dates: Wednesday 20 May 2020 – Sunday 24 May 2020.
  3. Online voting.
    All National Centres and ASSITEJ Networks will receive an email from ASSITEJ. This email will contain an online voting ballot with instructions on how to cast the vote.
Access here to the complete information and technical details for your participation
We can't meet? Let's join!

This May many members would have met at the 20th ASSITEJ World Congress in Tokyo. Due to COVID-19, this will not happen. As a response to this, ASSITEJ will facilitate a number of online meetings for the sector. In a time where many colleagues around the world are isolated, it has a great value to meet online. These meetings are open to all members of ASSITEJ national centres, networks and individual members, as well as to interested TYA artists.

We want to start by hosting regional meetings where we can connect in smaller groupings in the period between 20 May – 2 June. Each region will meet twice. The first meeting will be to connect and find out how everyone is doing, what they are experiencing, and what challenges and concerns they have at this time. A week later, our second regional meeting will be curated around a question, direction, or potential project that is suggested coming out of the first meeting. Some translation will be provided for both of these meetings.

The EC will then collate these responses and start to see how we might connect regions or themes together. We intend to curate further meetings, open to anyone who is interested, which will take forward the themes and needs that have been brought up in the regional meetings.

Given that ASSITEJ cannot meet physically in 2020, we intend to meet virtually on a regular basis, and to pursue our artistic practice and conversations together. We look forward to meeting you.

Find the date of your Coffee session
COVID-19 & TYA: A global snapshot
Australian TYA community prepares for the future

ASSITEJ Australia

“We will make works that not only bring our audiences and participants back to hope and fun and meaning, but works that acknowledge and illuminate the differences that will inevitably be part of a new world”

Artists are starting robust conversations about their readiness to create works to shape our future community and society’s relationship to culture and the arts. 

Read more

Dusk or dawn?

Scènes d'enfance - ASSITEJ France

"It is noticeable that we are moving forward with the growing feeling that things will never be the same"

As everywhere, French performing arts and the whole cultural sector are deeply impacted by the lockdown. For all those who were still hoping to save the season, the cancelation of the Festival d’Avignon and all the summer festivals sounded like the coup de grâce, but it is only one link in a whole chain reaction at work.

Read more

A letter from Small Size network

Small Size network

"Our international networks, SMALL SIZE and ASSITEJ, share the great advantage of having already brought together artists from around the world, in order to reflect on the issue of childhood and artistic creation."

Such networks can help to invent the world of tomorrow for children. It seems essential to us today to foster access to art and artistic creation at an early age.
The current crisis forces us to invent, innovate and, sometimes, improvise… This is what artistic creation is all about: invent the world, 

Read more

American National Endowment for the Arts publishes a landmark report advocating for the value of TYA

USA : a major step for recognition


Prepared in collaboration with Theatre for Young Audiences/USA, the US national center of ASSITEJ, “Envisioning the Future of Theater for Young Audiences” addresses “some of the structural and societal challenges facing the field and consider ways to overcome those challenges.”

Significantly, its official presentation highlights the value of TYA to the research for more sustainable solutions for the future, in the challenging context of the Covid-pandemia

Read more

Dialogues on the festivals' role in the post covid-19 scenarios

Chain Reaction network

Every tuesday at 10.30 on zoom

To better define this shared process of “co-imagining Covid-19 Crisis Response Strategies” together, we invite you to participate in the discussions that will be held every Tuesday at 10.30 am on the Zoom platform, every week there will be an international guest.

Read more

News from New Zealand


New Zealand has just moved from our very restrictive Level 4 Lockdown to Level 3, as our government is confident that community transmission has stopped here, despite a trickle of new infections related to confirmed cases. Under Level 3, social gatherings are still not allowed – so, while other areas of the economy open up, there is no reprieve yet for live performing arts.

Read more

Be strong, be brave, be steadfast

ASSITEJ New Zealand 

“...I too felt pressure to produce and perform. I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing enough, that I wasn’t using my platform to be of great service right away. But then I realized — I don’t know how to do that yet. There was a real possibility I might burn myself out producing something mediocre instead of figuring out what might be most useful. So I gave myself permission to slow down.”  

Read more

Share your online activities


A joint project for children’s creativity lead by ThinkArts, Kolkata and Barking Gecko Theatre, Perth

ThinkArts, Kolkata has been working on creating engagements for children that bring out their creativity during these uncertain times. We’ve recently wrapped up a project and are set to launch another soon, in collaboration with Barking Gecko Theatre, Australia!

Get Creative started on March 19, 2020, as an initiative to encourage children to keep up their artistic spirits amidst the coronavirus lockdown and encourage children to spend some time away from the screen. Every morning, three prompts were uploaded on the website, one for each age group (6 to 9, 9 to 12, and 12+). These prompts were lines from children’s books or notable artworks, all taken from the collection in The ThinkArts Corner. Children then created their own artwork or wrote a piece in response. Get Creative received nearly 300 responses over the course of the month, all of which were uploaded on the ThinkArts Instagram and Facebook pages.

Read more

ASSITEJ South Africa
TAH DAM! [together at home, dance and music]

Research Laboratory in South Africa for Fratz International 2020 In association with MusicDance Cape Town and ASSITEJ South Africa

Our project began by asking how we can collaborate with children to compose a music and dance performance together in real-time. Just as we were about to begin our project our president announced a state of national emergency due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Our country has been in lockdown for 4 weeks now, it has taken some time to adjust to this new way of being, but we are also discovering ways that we can still be creative and connect with young audiences during this time.

Read more

Tangled Feet launch their Mindfulness Project at Home

“As a response to the current situation we all find ourselves in, this week Tangled Feet launched our Mindfulness Project At Home. The company’s ethos and core values become ever more important during these times and we feel that, as a company, we should encourage a culture of nurture, support and creative flexibility to work around the challenges that we face together as a society.“

The project will deliver 10 online classes for primary school aged children (4-11) to engage with as part of their home learning. We have also released mini activities that you can find on our social platforms. 

Read more

A British company through the lockdown

Can you ‘tour’ online ?

By Claire Templeton, Executive Producer at Theatre Rites

Like many other artists and companies, Theatre-Rites should have been touring during April and May. On 23rd March we were due to start re-rehearsals in London for Big Up! our co-production 20 Stories High. Big Up! is a puppetry and beatboxing collaboration for ages 4 plus and was to open at the Southbank Centre in London on 15th April and then tour throughout England. Our new Beatboxer Grace Savage had already spent some rehearsal time with the show’s original Beatboxer and Composer Hobbit in preparation. All systems were Go.

We made the decision to cancel before the Government enforced lockdown but were able to pay a large chunk of salaries. So, after giving everyone time to attempt to adjust to this strange new world we started the ubiquitous Zoom discussions about how the Big Up! family could still create, even in isolation. We had incredible talent in the ‘room’ Grace Savage and Hobbit, singer/performer Dorcas Sebuyange, puppeteers Clarke Joseph Edwards and Teele Uustani, designers Verity Quinn and Joe Hornsby and Co-Director Sue Buckmaster.

Read more


International online festival "Better than us"

By Olga Zaets, Rostov-on-Don

Due to the spread of coronavirus infection, many international theater festivals were canceled. Olga Zaets, artistic director of new online festival “Better than us” would like to give young people who love and miss theater an opportunity to participate in an international online event, watch theater performances from other countries, think, discuss, hear the voices of peers from different parts of the world and theater professionals involved in the creation of performances, and feel that the world is still there. 

The festival will be held from May 1 to May 5, 2020 and introduce the performances from China, Germany, Romania, Italy and Russia.

Read more

Keeping to engage together, by Theatr na nÓg

In an article on her blog, Geinor Styles, artistic director of Theatr na nÓg, brings to the fore the importance of keeping to engage “not only with our audience but with each other in these very isolating times”

At Theatr na nÓg, we are compelled to tell stories, but we cannot do it on our own. We need creative creatures. Companions. Allies. Associates.
When I was in school, the moments I enjoyed best were the ones when a group of us were left to our own devices. When things didn’t go to plan, for example – when a teacher didn’t turn up for a lesson or the school bus was late. So we sat and shared stories and secrets, larked around and laughed. Magical times, with a group, who had a connection.
Read more

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. Now Favole al telefono, performed not only in Italian but also in French, arrive in Greece, thanks to the collaboration with the ACT Theater of Patras and Drin Team – a group of six Greek actors and actresses... 

Read more


Discover various open calls concerning TYA!


The Cuban Center of ASSITEJ invites the playwrights members and friends of our association to share their texts so that we can all enjoy them in these days of social isolation. Our center is committed to sharing them via email with its associates, as it is the most feasible way for their socialization. With the permission of the authors, these may be included in the digital files of the ASSITEJ Cuban Center Library and published on our blog: assitej.cubava.cu

The authors may include their contacts in order to establish links with the creators who are motivated to mount their works. Those interested can attach a short biography to the texts. We are open to receive your proposals, for this you can write to the address: assitejcuba@gmail.com

Read more

Directors in TYA: Call for Applications

In 2021 DIRECTORS IN TYA – An International Exchange will take place from June 20-27th 2021 at Junges! Staatstheater Braunschweig

You can find the call for applications and the application form here. Every ASSITEJ-Center is invited to nominate one director from their respective country to take part. Please send in their application including the signed application form, a current concise curriculum vitae and a letter of motivation by e-mail to ASSITEJ Germany (m.fechner@kjtz.de) no later than October 1st 2020

Read more

Just printed
Directing in Theatre for Young Audiences

A New publication from ASSITEJ Germany – free download

ASSITEJ Germany publishes a magazine on TYA called IXYPSILONZETT (short: XYZ) in cooperation with the Berlin based publisher Theater der Zeit.

For each ASSITEJ World Congress we launch an English language edition. This year we will not have the chance to give it to you in Tokyo, but you can download the magazine here (for free and without revealing any personal data) and the editorial team as well as the contributors would be more than happy to enter into a discussion with you.

Read more

ASSITEJ International

Farvergade 10, Copenhagen

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