Thursday, March 9 2017

20 March – World Take a Child to the Theatre Day


ASSITEJ stands for Association Internationale du Théatre pour L´Enfance et la Jeunesse and is the only association of its kind connecting thousands of theatre makers, artists, educators and producers dedicated to theatre for children across the world. ASSITEJ has members in over 80 countries across the globe, including 75 National Centres.

Monday 20 March is World Take a Child to the Theatre Day, their global campaign #takeachildtothetheatre advocates for the cultural entitlement of children to have access to spaces for creative play, performance, theatre and expression.

‘A story well-told on stage doubtless captivates the children in the audience and somehow transforms them. Leaving the theatre after a show, the world seems different: it has been touched by a performance that allows members of the audience to see beyond the surface’.- Francisco Hinojosa.

We’d like you to celebrate this world day of theatre for children with us on 20 March. If you can’t physically attend the theatre with a child on the day then we encourage you to pause and plan a trip to the theatre with a little person to share in the unique wonder that theatre offers #TakeAChildToTheTheatre.

Later this year the ASSITEJ Conference and Festival will take place in Cape Town and our CEO/Executive Producer Helen Hristofski will be there to represent Barking Gecko Theatre Company and the many Western Australian families and teachers for whom we make theatre.

She writes, “the last time I had the opportunity to attend ASSITEJ was in 2008 (Copenhagen) and had my mind expanded in so many ways. I remember the breadth of artistic forms and stories on offer and their strong European influences. There were the Danes, well known for their extraordinary commitment to highly sophisticated and crafted children’s theatre, alongside memorable productions from Belgium, France and Russia. I observed that Australian companies make some of the finest children’s theatre in the world and we are extremely good at collaborations between companies.

I clearly remember the contrasting perspectives between countries on the role of theatre in education, alongside informed and passionate debates on children’s cultural rights, their agency in artistic processes and the necessity of ‘arts for arts sake’ in the lives of children. Having attended three ASSITEJ congress and festivals since 2004 it seems clear to me there is an obvious link between the artistic vibrancy of a country’s children and young people’s theatre sector with how that society values children more broadly.

In 2017, the 19th ASSITEJ Congress and Festival will take place on the African continent for the first time in the organisation’s 65 years. Always evolving, ASSITEJ is embracing Africa and Asia in new ways and seeding different global creative conversations. I’m looking forward to what the theatre program will explore in terms of cultural diversity (a very live conversation in Australia), listening to current perspectives on children’s access and agency in the performing arts and ponder Barking Gecko’s place in the world. Its going to be quite a trip.”