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Support and Develop Artists

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing” – Charles E Schaefer

Theatre4Youth

All ASSITEJ SA members can benefit from being part of the Theatre4Youth catalogue. This is both an online catalogue – www.theatreyouth.co.za – and a print catalogue which is given to participating schools. 

The Theatre4Youth catalogue:

  1. Allows schools to find and select an appropriate piece of theatre for their learners, according to a range of features (for example, language, age, topic, learning area, etc).
  2. Enables theatre companies to plan tours of schools more easily and cost-effectively, as they can benefit from a central database that cuts down on the amount of administration required for touring. 
  3. Provides theatre companies with a powerful marketing tool for their work.


ASSITEJ SA offers workshops to artists in making performances relevant to different ages and to different aspects of the curriculum, as well as in developing accompanying educational materials for schools. In so doing, ASSITEJ SA aims to improve the quality and quantity of work travelling to schools.

ASSITEJ SA also offers a service to members to organise their schools tours for them, taking a 10% commission on all school audiences found for tours or performances.


Go to www.theatre4youth.co.za
Inspiring a Generation

Inspiring a Generation is an ongoing programme, which gives individualised mentorships to artists making theatre for young audiences, usually over a one year period. 

The mentorship aims to inspire theatre practitioners to make high-quality theatre for young audiences in South Africa. The programme hopes to build a new generation of theatre makers working in the area of theatre for children and young people, and through their work build a generation of children and young people who love and are inspired by theatre performance.

Mentorships include opportunities for networking, workshops, mentoring, international travel and exchange, and the production of a playscript or play through mechanisms appropriate to the particular piece being developed. 

Inspiring a Generation connects into the Next Generation programme of the international ASSITEJ.

2017

Next Generation participants at Cradle of Creativity, Cape Town

  • Busisiwe Radebe
  • Chiminae Ball
  • Penelope Youngelson
  • Lungile Mncube
  • Philisiwe Twijnstra
  • Thembela Madliki
  • Musa Hlatshwayo
  • Richard Antrobus
  • Sbonelo Mgilane
  • Mthokozisi Zulu

Sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank “From Cradle to Stage’

2016 (International Playwrights Intensive with University of Maryland and Kennedy Center’s New Visions / New Voices Festival, USA)

  • Lereko Mfono
  • Jon Keevy
  • Tamara Guhrs
  • Samson Mojalefa Mlambo
  • Koleka Putuma

Sponsored through Thundafund, University of Maryland and John F. Kennedy Center.

2015/6

  • Richard Antrobus
  • Maggi Fernando
  • Xolisa Kapakati 
  • Amanda Valela (exchange with Shaxpir Festival, Linz, Sponsored by Assitej Austria)

In partnership with Theatre Arts Admin Collective.

2015 (Next Generation residency in Berlin, Germany)

  • Joanna Evans
  • Mthokizisi Zulu

2014 (Next Generation residency at Warsaw, Poland)

  • Eliot Moleba (also took up NG placement at Arad Gogh)

2014/5 (Danish Exchange, with ASSITEJ Denmark)

  • Thando Baliso
  • Jenine Collocott
  • Jayne Batzofin
  • Briony Horwitz

The 2014/2015 programme was generously sponsored by the DISTELL Foundation and the Danish Arts Council. In partnership with Theatre Arts Admin Collective.

2013/4 (French Exchange, with the festival Ere de Jeu)

  • Tristan Jacobs
  • Elliot Moleba
  • Lereko Mfono
  • Clara Vaughn

Sponsored by National Arts Council and French Institute as part of SA-French Seasons of Performance, as well as by DISTELL. 

In partnership with Theatre Arts Admin Collective.

2012/3 (Exchange with Sweden at the Bibu Festival in Lund and ASSITEJ Sweden are:

  • Jon Keevy 
  • Beren Belknap
  • Lindelwa Kisana
  • Francesco Nassimbeni

Sponsored by SIDA. 

In partnership with Theatre Arts Admin Collective.

2011 (Attendance at 17th World Congress, in association with ASSITEJ Sweden/Denmark)

  • Pieter Venter
  • Kyla Davis
  • Chantal Snyman
  • Vincent Meyburgh

2010/2011

  • Cathy Dodders (Next Generation programme in Okinawa, Japan)
  • Thami Mbongo (Pittsburgh Children’s festival, USA)
  • Vincent Meyburgh (2011 ASSITEJ World Congress in Copenhagen/Malmoe)
  • Omphile Molusi (New Visions New Voices Festival – Kennedy Centre; Pittsburgh Children’s Festival, USA) 
  • Zoleka Helesi 
  • Lefa Letsika 

In partnership with Theatre Arts Admin Collective.

To learn more about the Next Generation programme of ASSITEJ international, go here
Artist Workshops

Workshop 1: Appealing to the Ages

This 3 hr practical workshop raises questions about how we make theatre that is appropriate and appealing to particular ages. Making theatre for 0-3 contains challenges which are different to the challenges of making theatre for 15-18 year olds. In SA we tend to be very general in the way we approach making TYA. By being more specific we can unlock creativity, find new theatrical languages and create work that is exciting and provoking for the children that we are aiming to engage.

Suitable for: emerging or established theatre makers who want to know more about Theatre for Young Audiences

Workshop 2: Connecting to the curriculum

This workshop takes you through the practical steps needed to develop learning materials of all kinds connected to your production to make your work more attractive within the educational environment. It introduces you to the CAPS curriculum, and to the many simple, but effective, tools that can be created both as written and practical add-on elements. 

Suitable for: emerging or established theatre makers who want to develop learning materials (written, online, visual or audiovisual materials and workshops/talk-backs and other practical interactive activities) that will enhance their productions and make them more commercially viable.

Workshop 3: Theatre AS Education

This 3 hour workshop addresses the role that theatre plays in learning and teaching.  It explores ways that you can take a theatre piece and make it more powerfully educational, not as a piece of didactic theatre, but as a theatrically innovative and a highly engaging artistic experience. The workshop can be done as a general exercise, or it can be done by focusing on a particular production (already created), which the theatre company wants to further develop as an educational tool. The workshop addresses learning theories and provides useful information which can be used for purposes of advocacy to potential audiences or funders.

Suitable for: emerging or established theatre makers who already have a theatre piece which they are wanting to present to youth audiences, but are wanting to learn how to make it more educationally powerful.

Workshop 4: How to run a Family Season / local festival

Do you want to start a community-based arts/theatre festival in your area? Do you want to learn more about project management, strategic planning, fundraising, implementation, monitoring and evaluation?

This workshop gives you an overview of how to get started in all of these areas. It will give you basic tools to develop your ideas and to deliver them successfully. It will also provide you with insights into how ASSITEJ SA can support you to develop exciting festivals in your area, which will serve the local community, provide access to the arts, and create opportunities for local artists.

Suitable for: emerging or established theatre makers who have a venue or access to a venue, where they would like to be able to hold a small (2-6 performances and accompanying workshops) for local audiences. It teaches strategies around building local partnerships, developing relationships for sustainable growth, and creating new audiences.

Workshop 5: Monitoring and Evaluation for the Arts

This 3 hour workshop provides insights into how to use monitoring and evaluation tools for artistic projects. It looks at how to develop and use simple tools to measure how effective you are being, and prove to your sponsors that you have delivered on your promises. It includes some basic monitoring and evaluation tools that ASSITEJ uses, with instructions as to how best to apply them.

Come with a project that you are interested in monitoring and evaluating, and learn how best to implement tools to make your work more effective.

Suitable for: emerging or established theatre makers who wish to evaluate their own performance in order to constantly improve the work that they do to ensure long term sustainability of their company or organisation.

Also, for theatre makers who are seeking funding or are already funded and want to ensure that they are able to report to their funders on what they have achieved.

Workshop 6: Facilitating Arts practice within in-school or after-school environments

This workshop introduces you to a range of useful facilitation skills for the South African educational context, and allows you to see how to make use of your theatre training to work within an educational environment, taking into consideration all the existing challenges. It also introduces you to ways to market yourself as an arts-facilitator and can be an introduction to longer term programmes such as Kickstarter Educational Empowerment.

Suitable for: emerging or established theatre makers who wish to facilitate once-off workshops or ongoing programmes within schools either in relation to the Creative Arts or Dramatic Arts curricula, or in the after-school space.

COSTS:

  • R250 for 3 hour workshops (Free for ASSITEJ SA members)
  • R450 for full day workshops  (Free for ASSITEJ SA members, plus R30 for lunch)

Testimonials from Artists

Ntshieng Mokgoro after participating in Serbia as a Jury member

“I am grateful to have been given an opportunity to be one of the adjudicators alongside high profiled, international THEATRE DIRECTORS, for the 10th TBA Festival in Belgrade, Serbia. The festival has proven to me that itis not just an artistic benefit for the young audiences, but a huge contribution as far as Arts & Culture is concerned in our educational system world wise. I was delighted by the thought-provoking themes young performers brought on the stages, the standard of presentation was outstanding, but I was even more pleased by the engagement of our young audience with adult performers. As the judges, we were keenly aware that the work of the winners only represented the tip of the iceberg…Seeing smiles and excitement in these young ones’ eyes, moved me close to tears. And I can only hope that I will beable to host a festival like this in my township in the near future. I would like to thank the Tiba Festival Organisers for making the festival colorful with the diverse cultures that make a world one community. I would also like to thank Yvette Hardie and ASSITEJ South Africa who made it possible for me to attend the Festival. The young audience’s engagement with the themes provided by the festival has produced a wonderful blossoming of artistic expression and I was privileged to witness the process.” 

Omphile Molusi after ASSITEJ SA supported the Bodibe Festival 2012

“Mowa Art Fields is very grateful for all the support that the ASSITEJ team gave us throughout these challenging but promising times of putting together the first Bodibe Children’s Theatre Festival. All the hard work has paid off, finally. I still can’t believe we did it, but it doesn’t matter what I believe right now, the truth is that WE DID IT … yep … WE DID IT. I say this with a big smile; the festival was a real success.

We have started something the Bodibe Community has never seen before, something that makes them proud of being residents of Bodibe. We are so grateful to you for helping us put smiles on the community of Bodibe, particularly the learners and teachers of Bodibe and Shudintlhe Intermediate Schools.  The Bodibe Tribal Authority is also grateful for your support.

A special and big thanks to Yvette, Alison, Kyla, Angela, Themba, Sonwabile, Yusrah and the whole team of Assitej SA and Theatre for Youth. Without you, this festival wouldn’t have happened. It was as if we had a million rand budget J” – Omphile Molusi, about Bodibe festival, supported by ASSITEJ SA

Cathy Dodders: Next Generation (Japan)

“Twenty-three participants from ten different countries speaking a minimum of thirty languages at different ages and stages of their career and with different skills and abilities but at their core all deeply committed to making theatre with and for Children and Young People. I would, before this experience, have doubted it but now I feel part of something that is infinitely bigger than me but at the same time deeply personal….Since coming back I am turning my attention back to writing and exploring the craft with a renewed sense of interest and vigor. I have been asked to read a draft script about rage in adolescent girls and invited to collaborate with an artist in an online project with girls in Australia. As a theatre maker concerned specifically with issues surrounding adolescent girls I see the trip to Japan as offering me the opportunity to connect with theatre makers whose interests are similar to mine and from this there is the potential to explore subjects in twin projects between our different countries, as a director/facilitator. The ITYARN Symposium was also a valuable experience for me not only for the research shared but also for affording me the opportunity to meet prominent academics whose articles I had spent many hours poring over for my Masters degree.

 Thank you to ASSITEJ for supporting my adventure in Japan. I am looking forward to introducing more voices from Africa into the Network and am very pleased to inform you that there are plans to continue to expand the membership base, continue the creative dialogue initiated in Okinawa and to attempt to meet on a regular basis at festivals around the world.”

Omphile Molusi after NVNV 2010

“This was the best experience I’ve ever had in my writing career. This is something I’ve always wished for.  Usually when I write, I have to think about many other things, like, I need to get good actors but where, because they all need to get paid, I need to print 8 drafts of the script day after day for three days, but how because I’m broke, where will I get the venue for rehearsals, and also organize an audience for the reading? All these thoughts tamper with the quality of my work. I have always wanted to just focus on creating the work and the Kennedy centre has made that dream come true for me.”

Lindelwa Kisana: Inspiring a Generation

I loved the maturity of plays I saw in Sweden; normally in children’s theatre we find a lot of unnecessary puppetry and clowns. I watched stories that fascinated me as an adult and very accommodative to children too. I’ve learnt that we should respect our work regardless of the audience we cater for. You can tell a story in a very simple and creative way. Research is very important; it helps you in understanding your work deeper. The journey has not ended but it has started; now I need to let my child – I found his voice in Europe -to tell a story to the nation. I know and believe that the inspiration I got through this process will help me tell a good story to South African audiences. Lindelwa Kisana

Jon Keevy: Inspiring a Generation

I would like very much to thank you for the Inspiring a Generation programme. It was wonderful to see Get Kraken performed on Friday, one of the final steps on a journey begun six months ago.I think Kim and the actors did a great job, surpassing my expectations. They found the humour and the adventure and the joy of the story. Thank you all for making it possible.

Lereko Mfono: Inspiring a Generation

Lereko Mfono: “The greatest thing I learnt is that ‘spoken’ storytelling MUST be coupled with visual storytelling to make an engaging piece of theatre for the young. Not a single piece I saw in France lacked a powerful visual communication, In fact most of them were told just visually.”

Eliot Moleba: FATEJ

FATEJwas a great platform where young artists got to meet professionals who areequally and deeply passionate about theatre-making for young audiences. As ayoung artist, it is always really cool to be in the company of such a broadnetwork of local and international theatre-makers. And this chance couldn’t havecome at a better time for me because I’m in the process of initiating aninternational theatre project which is both a production and a fundraisingcampaign to find support for the children of the late massacred Marikanaworkers, especially towards their education. The extensive network thisfestival boosted made contribution which was invaluable towards helping theproject realise a wide participation by African countries” 

Constance Didi: FATEJ

“The second play I saw was a Swedish play called Hallo, Babies, directed by Minna Krook and  targeted at babies, it was very interesting. As an audience seeing that performance made me realize that when it comes to theatre, nothing is impossible. During the show and after watching it I felt a difference in my energy; I felt calm, soothed, and relaxed. After the show we had a workshop with the cast, they explained their creation process.

Throughout the experience I had in Cameroon, I learned a lot about my work as a performer through the shows that I’ve watched and the workshops that I’ve participated in. I’ve also spent time chatting to a friend that I’ve found there, Tinsay, who has shared political background of his country so I could better understand the country itself, its people and their culture then and today. It’s been a fulfilling experience in every form.”

Alison Green: Performing the World

‘Performing the World,’ was amazing! I met so many awesome people and attended some incredible workshops and seminars. Most of the conference focused on how performance/drama, in both play and therapy, is making an impact on poverty stricken and under-developed communities around the world and how this work is essential to those communities for development, empowerment and education. The biggest ‘AHA’ moment and realization for me was that there is poverty ALL over the world, even in ‘first world’ countries. It seems naïve, but coming from Africa it often feels as if we are perceived as the nexus of all poverty and desperation in the World and it was almost refreshing for me to encounter groups from Australia, the UK and the USA speaking about poverty and the need for community development…It has been stimulating and amazing, especially meeting people from SA who are doing similar work and the fact that I had to go to NYC to connect with and meet them!

Tristan Jacobs: Inspiring a Generation

Tristan Jacobs: “I have been reminded not to underestimate the capacity of young people to understand and interrogate deeper issues. I have learnt again that theatre can communicate clearly across linguistic boundaries. I hope to use the awareness of everlasting change (as the constant in the lives of young people) in the new theatre I create. I have also learnt not to be afraid of ‘art’. In the past, I have steered away from making ‘art’ so that I can be accessible to more people – the French theatre-makers showed me that I need not limit myself like that. Seeing how French children are exposed to art and theatre I am invigorated. Perhaps it is not about understanding/meaning but more about experience.

Eliot Moleba: Inspiring a Generation

“I was impressed with the level of attention to detail and professionalism invested in the craft, especially the integration of dramaturges or theatres into the creative process; it was inspiring to see some artistically and technically well-crafted shows which came out of this process. I liked the idea of theatre-makers not just always sending work to theatres, but also actively involving the theatres in the creative process. This is a value I hope to imbue in my own creative process.”

Briony Horwitz: Inspiring a Generation (Denmark)

I’m launching a children’s theatre company on 10 May and I need to apply all my learning from Denmark to that project as soon as possible. I’m performing in three shows at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, two of which I’m producing, and I haven’t booked accommodation yet! I have no paying jobs lined up and little time to remedy that in the next three months. Eek!

Only once I sat down in Dubai International, during our nine-hour layover, did it suddenly hit me. I went to Denmark! I saw babies left on pavements (another story…) and ate Danish pastry. I saw more than 40 shows and was hosted by three fabulous companies, all of whom are keen to hear about and contribute to my development in the next year. I have a project ready to receive input and a whole year to create new work. My mind is alive with ideas and I’m seeing my whole network in a new light; every person I know is a potential contributor to my next show. I am so hugely grateful. I am also hugely aware of the responsibility that comes with a gift like this.

I am grateful to Yvette Hardie, Caroline Calburn and ASSITEJ South Africa and Denmark for selecting me, finding funding (thanks Distell and the Danish Arts Council) and for the input along the way so far. Jori Snell has been an important bridge between the South African and Danish contingents and an insightful guide to our group. Soren, Tina, Karen, Maria, Tobias and the rest of Batida; Dirk, Maria, Thomas and Julia of Patrasket and Mark and Joren from Zebu – these are some of the warmest and most hospitable people I have ever met, besides being endlessly inventive in their work.

I need to thank Thando Baliso, Jayne Batzofin and Jenine Collocott for being an amazing tour group. No-one was annoying! (ok, except maybe me). I have never spent three weeks with a group without some drama, a truckload of tension and a smattering of snappiness. These guys were so considerate. With all that we were seeing and learning, I appreciated having their thoughts and insights, being able to share fears and new ideas and knowing that despite our different experiences before now, we have embarked on a journey together in the last month, that ties us together in the quest to Inspire a Generation.

Stuart Palmer: From Idea to Action

My geographical circle of focus, with regards to the work we do at Lunchbox, has slowly shrunk over the past few years. With this shrank my goals, standards, enthusiasm and commitment to our art form. This opportunity could not have come at a better time. My trip to Sweden with Amanda, as representatives of South Africa’s Theatre for Youth practitioners has inspired me, motivated me and re-ignited a burning passion that has, of late, been only a faintly glowing ember dulled by cynicism. Even though I was creating what I thought was challenging, entertaining and high quality theatre I had no idea of the enormously high standard that I would encounter at BIBU. I am now driven to reach these standards with our work.

This is, however, not easily achieved. I realise that we in South Africa have a long and obstacle ridden way to go before we are able to regularly achieve the high standards of European children’s theatre. These hurdles can only be overcome when the systems that facilitate the manufacture, distribution and support of our genre match those of Europe. These systems include; the general attitude of audiences and theatre makers toward ‘children’s’ theatre, the local, provincial and national government support mechanisms and the buy-in from large theatre venues for the allocation of space, festivals and marketing for the performance and focus on theatre for young people.

Festivals such as BIBU set a high bench mark. But with the networking, learning and sharing opportunities provided by ASSITEJ and the like, we as practitioners in ‘less developed’ countries have the potential to reach the heights at which we set our goals.”

Jon Keevy: Next Generation (India)

Nothing really prepares you for India. Helpful folk who’ve been before warn you about what to expect; things like the sheer volume of people, the noise, the in-your-face poverty clashing with the ostentation trappings of free-market capitalism, usually in gridlocked traffic. They warn you to take pills, take precautions and take an open mind. They’re not wrong.

It’s a good bit of advice for the Next Generation program too – well, maybe the pills and precautions are less relevant, but the open mind is crucial. Twenty or so theatre makers coming together from across the world – most of them meeting for the first time – it’s a daunting situation. The goals of the Next Generation are pretty simple, make connections and make theatre. To do this you have to be open to other people’s ideas about things you’re probably already very opinionated about. In doing so, you don’t just get a window on their contexts, but a fresh perspective on your own.

The Next Generation group this year excelled at listening to each other, a difficult task when you’re negotiating different languages and different philosophies. But when done successfully everyone walks away wanting to make work. Sharing ideas is the seed and Next Generation has made a fertile ground for that exchange to take root in – now we’ll have to see what will grow.

Eliot Moleba: Next Generation (Poland and Wales)

“Having had the privilege to experience the Next Generation programme (Warsaw) and Placement (Arad Goch, Wales), I found that the programmes work very well together to support emerging artists because it gives us a chance to explore and connect with ASSITEJ’s global community and the TYA world; broaden our network and experience something new. This is one of those moments when the droplets connect and pave way for magical things to happen. And it was this experience (especially the theme of Arad Goch’s festival, AGOR DRYSAU-OPENING DOORS) that has inspired me to ‘open’ my own door to give other emerging artists an opportunity to collaborate with South Africa and its local talents. As a result, I will be hosting a cross-cultural collaboration with Christopher Harris, a Welsh actor/writer/director. Together we are going to create a new piece of theatre for the young, possibly aimed at a teenage audience.

Mandisi Sindo: War Horse Workshops

“For me, the workshop/training itself was extraordinary; it was informative in such a way that one feels like practicing the skill he has just been taught. I did facilitation at UCT, but that week of WAR HORSE training I have learnt different parts of the facilitation. And what I loved is that we were different kinds of artists, coming from different working backgrounds and fields, but we were all willing to learn from the workshops and from each other. It was a great learning experience. Thanks to you Mama J”

Eva Adams-Hart (Independent, Cape Town): War Horse workshops

“My thoughts on the course…..What an absolutely amazing course. I thoroughly enjoy all the content. I can’t even begin to explain how it benefited me personally, as well as I learnt a great deal about The WAR HORSE Production. I will take the skills I learnt on this course forward with me in life, it nourished my skills level. I learnt a lot about how to make contents of a workshop flow naturally into each other to enable an overall strong outcome, that leaves the participants enriched. I learnt some great games and puppetry skills. I normally work more on the visual art/craft side of facilitating workshops, it was great learning how to incorporate more physical/expressive activities into a workshop. I hope to become the best facilitator I can be, by gaining and sharing knowledge. I thank all involved in this training for the great opportunity you provided for us and for all your shared knowledge.”

Nkosinathi Gaar, World Congress Internship in Denmark, 2011

“Attending the ASSITEJ World Congress was a joyous experience not only because of the generosity of my hosts but because it afforded me an opportunity to broaden my perspective of the career I have chosen and what it means to be pursuing it as a South African…The tangible excitement at the end of what I would consider to be the festival highlights also offered me hope beyond the sobering thoughts of economic realities. At the end of a show that dared to do more and made this daring feel good and necessary –not just something artists do to assert their own profundity –I began to know why they should not just watch TV. Why the efforts that can often feel thrown into a void must be continued. I think this feeling is palpable in South African teachers who take their students to see difficult work. These are the kinds of teachers I was lucky to have even before I entered into any kind of specialised training. These are the kinds of people who, as I have been reminded, make it worthwhile to be striving to do better work….I felt joyous and proud to be represented by the South Africans and the South African work present at this year’s Congress. You held our head high.”