Take a Child to the Theatre in 2018

ASSITEJ - Take a child to the theatre 2018
ASSITEJ – Take a child to the theatre 2018

Theatre leaves an indelible impression on a child, awakening awareness of the world and of other people’s realities. All children have a right to arts.

ASSITEJ (French acronym – Association Internationale du Théatre pour L´Enfance et la Jeunesse) is the only association of its kind connecting thousands of theatre makers, artists, educators and producers dedicated to theatre for children across the world.

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ASSITEJ has members in over 100 countries across the globe, including 80 National Centers. On March 20, the global campaign #takeachildtothetheatre advocates for the cultural entitlement of children to have access to spaces for creative play, performance, theatre and expression. March 20 is ASSITEJ World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People.

Donate to this worthy cause and ensure that children and young people get access to powerful, imaginative and creative experiences!As part of the campaign, ASSITEJ SA also encourages all its members and partners to contribute in whatever ways they are able.

So far the following artists and organisations have stepped up to the challenge. We celebrate their efforts!

Think Theatre – Durban
They will support:
* Spec Nova Special School
* Inanda Seminary
* Bonella Secondary

Joburg Theatre sponsored a whole performance of ‘The Colour Purple’ for a variety of organizations and schools, including Nkosi’s Haven, as part of the campaign.

Beautiful Gates Children’s Home
Sisipho Mthembu will be taking her children to see theatre courtesy of the campaign.

Ponga Projects & Sacred Heart College
Sacred Heart will be celebrating World Theatre Day and inviting some of the surrounding schools in Observatory area in Joburg to see their latest production “Dancing with the Stars” on 20 March.

They will be staging “Tortoise and the Hare” on 4-5 April and are fundraising for tickets to sponsor kids from Hillbrow and Jeppe in Joburg.

The People’s Theatre
As part of their continued support to the campaign, they will be supporting some kids to come and watch “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland” which is currently running to 29 March.

Baxter Theatre provided tickets to Zabalaza performances for 45 After School Game Changer coaches from our 2017 programme, and 56 coaches from our 2018 programme. In addition around 300 children and youth were able to view performances at Zabalaza festival for free as part of the campaign. Zabalaza went further and had a special donation project to ensure that all those who could not afford to see theatre were able to do so over the festival. This offer continues this week.

The NSA Festival of The Arts
The festival donated close to 40 tickets to learners from the Hillbrow Theatre and Wits University to watch their productions of Macbeth and The Wiz.

Backpack Puppets
Annie Maheux of Marionettes en Valise offered free puppetry workshops for children during the last week of February. The workshops focused on traditional stories from Canada and South Africa. Annie worked with iThemba Primary School in Vrygrond, and with Lakeside Montesorri in Westlake.

The Fugard Theatre
The Fugard generously offered 20 free tickets for a school to attend West Side Story on World Theatre Day for Children and Young People, 20 March. These tickets were gifted to Strand High School. When asked why they wanted to go Mary van Wyk, an educator at the school, said the following: “There is very little opportunity for our learners to view any professional productions, let alone at the Artscape. We have in the last few years started to do musical theatre as a subject option in Grade 8 and 9 and the interest has been amazing (despite the lack of resources and exposure).”

The Fugard Theatre also have added a special matinee show for schools tomorrow at 15:00 with tickets going for R50. Amongst schools attending this special performance are Plumstead High School and Bellville High School.

Reddam Constantia is staging their version of the hit musical Fame! and generously invited our very own primary school drama group the VIPs to a special performance on 12 March.

Yvette Hardie, both the global President of the association, serving her third term in this position, and also the national director of ASSITEJ South Africa, has written a World Day message to conscientise people to the importance of this campaign. She says, “The rough magic that can transform a dusty playground, or a township hall, a school classroom, or a refugee compound, is often what is most needed – not just because it is more practical and economical to meet children in their everyday circumstances, but also, more profoundly, because it IS magic.” She is joined by two extraordinary practitioners this year – one from Syria and one from the USA – who have added their voices to the campaign.

Mohamad al Jounde is 17, from Syria, and won the 2017 International Children’s Right Prize for having created a school for refugee children in Lebanon. He says: “Theater still one of the best ways to express yourself and a mirror to show people what’s good and wrong in our world. The stage is a space where you can create your own world; where you can feel your dreams coming to life.”

Beloved children’s author from the USA, and the creator of Pigeon Drives the Bus, among other classics, Mo Willems says: “When you’re snuggled in your seats and the curtain rises, know that you’ll see more than just a show; you will experience a new, special connection with a child who is special to you. Oh, and that kid will probably have fun, too.”

You can read the complete World Day messages here: http://www.assitej-international.org/en/the-world-day-of-theatre/the-world-day-of-theater-2018

In South Africa, there are many children and young people who do not have access to theatre especially made for them. This is a gap into which ASSITEJ SA has stepped with great energy and passion over the last years.

Their project Theatre4Youth (found at www.theatre4youth.co.za) aims to make theatre more accessible to schools, for artists to have a sense of what other artists are making, and to be able to research the schools who are interested in receiving work. However, many of these theatre companies do not have funding to take their work to schools, despite having performance-ready pieces, as many schools cannot afford to pay them. We are aiming to select several productions from the website and to support these to perform for needy audiences, through a Thundafund campaign, which is found here: www.thundafund.com/project/takeachildtothetheatre2018

There is still time to donate a performance or to sponsor children to see theatre this month. We encourage all those interested to join the campaign by contacting info@assitej.org.za to find out about or offer special events in your province, or to donate directly to the Thundafund campaign.

ASSITEJ - Take a child to the theatre 2018
ASSITEJ – Take a child to the theatre 2018

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