World Day of Theatre for Children

SAASSITEJWorldTheatreDay_320 March 2012
World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People 

Theatre is for everyone, and yet theatre does not reach everyone. Often it does not reach the adult, because there has been no opportunity for the child to fall in love with it. And often it does not reach the child, because the adults who create the framework in which children live and learn and grow, were never reached, and so feel no compulsion towards it. It does not reach the child, because adults have other priorities, or because there are major obstacles of geography, of accessibility, of affordability and of awareness. 

Due to its very special and particular nature - the live moment of interaction, that precious window in which artists are able to touch the hearts and minds, ears and eyes, of those breathing the same air as them, in a unique and intensely personal way - theatre is naturally limited in its capacity to reach every child and young person. But once the audience is there, it is entirely unlimited in its capacity to communicate the essential, the mysterious, the actual and the possible. This is why we as artists must be so vigilant about the work we create, to ensure that every encounter with theatre will be an opportunity for the audience to become more curious, more intrigued, more captivated – and perhaps to fall in love with the encounter theatre offers them.

For the next three years, we ask all ASSITEJ members to speak with a united voice, and to join the call to “Take A Child to the Theatre Today.” This call goes to the heart of our mission at ASSITEJ: to ensure that every child and young person has access to theatre. But we cannot do it alone. We make this call, because we recognise that we need to reach out to those with the power to ensure that children and young people are able to experience a theatrical encounter. We ask governments, education, large corporates, small businesses, parents, extended family members and individuals everywhere to respond to the call. We ask ASSITEJ members and centres to work actively to engage them and to enlist their support in practical and innovative ways.

For while we say “Take a Child to the Theatre Today” most particularly on this special day of March 20th, we hope that this appeal will resonate powerfully through every day of the year with every one who hears it, so that every child and young person, everywhere, has the opportunity to fall in love with theatre.
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