ASSITEJ believes that every child and young person in our country deserves access to the arts, and especially to live theatre, from the earliest possible age. Every child and young person has the right to access the arts, regardless of economic, geographical, social or linguistic factors. In ASSITEJ SA, we work to create systems and partnerships which can make this vision possible.
Projects include: Take a child to the theatre, Theatre4Youth, Family Fare Festivals, Platforms and Showcases.
If we are to ensure access to theatre for every child and young person, then artists need to be creating work of a quantity, quality and variety to engage with their diverse audience. They also need to know how to make their work sustainable. Some artists have skills, but no knowledge of young audiences, while others have good ideas, but no skills. Sometimes artists need to be inspired by what theatre for young audiences can be, and sometimes they need help dealing with practical considerations.
ASSITEJ SA endeavours to support all its members – emerging and established artists – to achieve excellence and sustainability in the field, through mentorship programmes such as Inspiring a Generation and Theatre4youth. We offer access to local and international learning and placement opportunities.
Theatre, and the arts more generally, empowers education by teaching children and young people how to learn, and it engages them holistically through multiple forms of communication. Theatre can spark curiosity and a desire to learn, and theatrical methods can be used to enhance the learning process. Theatrical literacy is an important and universal window into reading and making sense of the world.
ASSITEJ SA engages directly with education through teacher-training and support programmes like Kickstarter and through Artist-facilitation training programmes like After School Game Changer, and others. Theatrical mediation programmes are also developed to make theatrical experiences more accessible and meaningful for young audiences.
ASSITEJ SA is a network of players working in a range of environments all sharing a common belief in the power of the arts to transform the lives of children and young people. By connecting people, and using this collective power to communicate our beliefs to those who can make a difference, we are building the field of theatre for young audiences in South Africa, and across the continent.
ASSITEJ SA supports the ASSITEJ campaign Take a Child to the Theatre Today, as well as advocating for the rights of children “to rest, leisure, play, recreational activities, cultural life and the arts” (Article 31, Convention on the Rights of the Child).