ASSITEJ runs an ongoing, global campaign called "Take a Child to the Theatre Today", which has found particular resonance in South Africa, given that the majority of children in our country do not have access to theatre. Centred around the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People (20 March), the campaign invites artists, companies, theatre houses, education and the general public to join together in giving children and young people access to the theatre on this day, or at any point through the year. The campaign aims to combat the poverty of imagination that is so evident in our society by recognizing the potentially transformative role of the arts in the lives of children and young people. In 2014, the campaign will give special focus to children of different abilities and needs.
In 2012, the South African campaign saw 7500 children accessing theatre for the first time, with 11 theatre houses participating. In 2013, this was increased to 8320 children, with 32 theatre houses and companies participating. In 2014, we hope to have more than 10 000 children access theatre as part of the campaign.
ASSITEJ SA contributes to the campaign by running Family Seasons of Performances. The Vryrgond Family Festival was the most recent of these seasons. A great success, 1335 children, young people and their families, saw a theatre production or participated in an arts-based workshop or storytelling experience.
The next Family Festival will be in Observatory in March 2014, with our long-term partner, Theatre Arts Admin Collective.
We are grateful to ACT, the Arts and Culture Trust and Nedbank Arts Affinity who have supported the campaign through a Development grant. Other sponsors have included the Department of Cultural Affair and Sports, Western Cape, and DISTELL. However we need onging support from a range of sources to ensure that children and young people have access to theatre through this campaign.
TO FIND OUT MORE, GO TO