ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People) 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 (20th 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 during 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 2016, the campaign will give special focus to children of different abilities and needs, as ASSITEJ has billed this the Year of Inclusivity.
ASSITEJ SA contributes to the campaign by running Family Seasons of Performances nationwide. These include in the Western Cape the Vrygrond Family Festival and the Obs Family Festival, with our long-term partner, Theatre Arts Admin Collective. Other initiatives include Family Fare platforms at National Arts Festival, Cape Town Fringe Festival, Muizenberg Festival, and Hilton Arts Festival, as well as Durban Children's Festival, Francofete, Bodibe Children's Festival, Naledi Showcases and pop-up festivals in communities across the country. ASSITEJ SA also runs the Theatre4Youth programme connecting schools to theatres and theatres to schools, and mentoring companies touring their work into creches, schools and communities. ASSITEJ SA representatives in all provinces help us to identify opportunities for engagement.
In 2017, ASSITEJ SA will be hosting the largest global gathering of excellent theatre for young audiences when Cradle of Creativity - the 19th ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival - comes to Cape Town, and Africa, for the first time. This event will be the focus of the 2016-17 campaign, and we hope to get at least 10 000 children to the theatre over the 11 days of the event.
We need your ongoing support to ensure that children and young people have access to the transformative power of theatre in South Africa. Please join us!
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