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Theatre for children & young people

ASSITEJ South Africa is a national network organisation of artists, educators, organisations and institutions from all provinces.

Our Vision

South African children and young people will have access to quality, performing arts especially designed for them, contributing to a more empathic, engaged and creative society.

We build the sector of theatre for young audiences in South Africa through supporting and developing the artists, empowering education through the performing arts, creating strategies for access to the arts, and advocating for the role of the arts as an essential right of every child and young person.

ASSITEJ SA's response to the COVID-19

World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People: 20 March

You can find the full World Day Toolkit here.

President's updated World Day Message

Compassion and empathy are needed at this critical time

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ASSITEJ SA's Chairperson Message

Practising “Suspension of disbelief”

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Contribute to Taking Theatre to Children and Young people

Online sharing of resources for children and young people – an Upside Down Take a Child to the theatre today campaign

Go here:

Current Programmes

Cradle of Creativity 2019

ASSITEJ SA launched Cradle of Creativity as a new international TYA festival and conference which took place from 20-25 August 2019 in Cape Town. The festival was inspired by the successful hosting of the 19th ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival in 2017.

32 local and international productions were staged in 72 separate performances across 11 different spaces in 4 venues, alongside an impressive conference, workshop and seminar schedule. 60 official delegates (theatre professionals) attended, alongside 209 artists who were involved in a performance at the festival. 19 countries were represented in different ways through delegate or artist participation: Brazil, China, India, Russia, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Germany, Turkey, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, Belgium and South Africa. Around 8505 audience members attended Cradle of Creativity, with over 8505 audience members with the 72 events of the festival and that of these, over 3412 children/young people were sponsored to be there (1980 were bussed to the theatre and 1432 were given complementary tickets).



To read the final report for Cradle of Creativity 2017, go here.

Official website
In the Works 2020

In the Works festival will come to Gauteng for the first time in August 2020. This festival was previously known as the African Youth Theatre and Dance Festival, and is now in its third iteration. This is an incubation festival which allows the audience to engage in the creation process and will hopefully lead to many exciting new productions for children and young people to be performed at our showcase festival, Cradle of Creativity 2021, to be held also in Gauteng at the Market Theatre and other venues.

In the Works festival will focus on new writing in TYA and dance for young audiences.

 Key dates for the Writing programme are:

  • 2 February – Call for playwrights closes
  • 14 February 2020 – Announcement of selected playwrights 
  • February/March 2020 – Online mentoring of playwrights by international mentors 
  • End March 2020 – 1st Draft of plays
  • April/May 2020 – Online mentoring of playwrights by international mentors 
  • End May 2020 – 2nd draft of plays and selection for In the Works
  • 10- 23 August 2020 – In the Works at the Market Theatre and Windybrow Theatre, Johannesburg – playreadings, performances and workshops for writers and directors alongside the children and young people for whom they are working.
Playwrights apply here

This programme creates a national framework for connecting children and young people with the theatre best suited to them. It comprises an online catalogue for finding the best work most suited to the children and young people of our country, as well as an ongoing programme to make these connections.

Through Theatre4Youth, we take children to the theatre and take theatre to children in creches, community halls, schools, theatres and other spaces.

There are three Theatre4Youth full-time coordinators, each based in a different province: Western Cape, Gauteng and KZN. We also have part-time representatives in all other provinces.

This dynamic team ensures that ASSITEJ SA knows what is happening in all parts of the country and that we are able to strategize to connect artists with audiences and vice versa.

Go to the Theatre4youth catalogue here
Kickstarter Educational Empowerment

Kickstarter is our highly acclaimed and awarded arts-education programme supporting teachers to be able to deliver quality Creative Arts in schools. It targets teachers and community-based artist facilitators to build capacity in delivering the formal Creative Arts curriculum at Intermediate Phase. It uses an experiential, easily accessible, step-by-step methodology, which has been tried and tested since 2000. The programme is generously funded by Rand Merchant Bank. 

Kickstarter is now working in three provinces, inclusive of Free State, KZN and Northern Cape, training 60 teachers across 30 schools. The programme is also being upscaled for further roll-outs across the country.

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After School Game Changer

The After School Game Changer Creative Arts Practitioner Training Programme is a one-year part-time programme that supports the delivery of quality after-school arts engagements to children and young people, with a focus on theatre/drama and dance. The programme is supported by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports, Western Cape and the After School Game Changer programme, and is aimed at arts practitioners working in after-school programmes across the province, both through MOD centres and through NGOs. 

ASSITEJ SA works with a systemic approach to the intervention, strengthening practice on the ground and in schools and communities, building local networks and communities of practice in partnership with ASSITEJ members based in those areas, and ensuring an on-going programme of activity, which can live beyond the one-year intervention.

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We are the official national centre of ASSITEJ (Association Internationale du Theatre de l’Enfance et la Jeunesse/International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People). (Link to ASSITEJ website: