Feeedback session from ASSITEJ festival recently held in Denmark & Sweden

Liz took a trip up to Halifax yesterday to attend a feedback session from some of the delegates who were lucky enough to go to Denmark and Sweden for the Assitej World Congress International Festival for 2011




The session  included feedback on some of the work shown at the festival, current trends and changes to the international scene of children and young people’s theatre, what is the ‘Next Generation – now ‘New Faces’ scheme all about, as well as provide an opportunity to meet other artists, organisations and venues that work in the this sector within the northern half of the country!  What inspiration can we take from the festival for our own work and how can we raise the profile of English children & young people’s theatre within the international scene?

The feedback session was co-ordinated by Natasha Holmes from Tell Tale Hearts  and Wendy Harris from Tutti-Frutti with the help of TYA-UK  (Theatre for Young Audiences, UK Centre of Assitej)  http://www.tya-uk.org

A brief introduction to the festival was given by Natasha, with Wendy filling in the gaps (not that there were any gaps), but it was useful to get an overall view of the events in Denmark and Sweden. Having the festival based in two countries did cause a few problems and even though there were excellent transport links, both delegates agreed that one base would have been a better option offering a central meeting place for all delegates.  Discussion about good and not so good practice ensued with several companies having special mention, including the UK (Scotland) company Catherine Wheels Theatre Company’s production of White.  Natasha and Wendy loved the piece – giving it very high praise. 
Wendy brought to our attention the Zambian Seka Theatre Company’s production “Bush.” She was thrilled with this particular piece of work and talked about its rawness and energy; its richness in cultural heritage and the relevance it has to both the villages it serves and its international audiences. Bush prompted a discussion about whether international theatre is serving its own community, whether a piece created for an international festival has “legs” in its own country and how to explore work that is pertinent for both community and festival audiences.  No conclusion was reached, but a great discussion was had.

With a promise to look at the TYA-UK  (Theatre for Young Audiencesa) website and the possibility of becomming more involved in the UK branch of Assitej, we left the meeting with a great feeling of wanting to find out further information and possibly do more international work.


I was particularly interested in the NEW FACES innitiative given the DNA Puppetry & Visual Theatre Company’s current locations in Australia and the UK, and that I am also Joint Artistic Director of No Nonsense Theatre Company (www.nononsensetheatrecompany.co.uk). There are many wonderful opportunities for emerging companies like No Nonsense to work with established ASSITEJ members like DNA Puppetry & Visual Theatre.  Who knows? I will leave that in the hands of the Directors!

Below, further information on NEW FACES.

All for now,

Liz Fitzgerald-Taylor 



ASSITEJ International announces an exciting initiative to engage individuals around the world in a range of experiences designed to build skills and foster international relationships.


Entitled ‘New Faces’ this initiative develops the concept of Next Generation, which was launched at the 16th ASSITEJ WOLRD CONGRESS in Adelaide.  ‘New Faces’ builds upon the key aims of the Next Generation project; the creation of professional development opportunities, opening up opportunities for cross cultural collaboration and importantly engaging young or new members to the sector with ASSITEJ International and the National ASSITEJ Centres in their region.


‘New Faces’ is a participatory opportunity for ‘emerging’ individuals.  The opportunities are broad and vary in length of engagement.  They could involve mentorships, residencies, or internships working alongside producers, directors, festival curators or arts managers.   ASSITEJ International hopes to encourage its member organisations to offer opportunities for new members to become involved across a range of performing arts contexts. Contexts could include festival participation, residencies in production houses, venues or indeed in any situation that organizations or individuals may be able to offer. The programs will be flexible in length and opportunity. Organisations offering these participation opportunities may be able to offer varying levels of financial or in-kind support to the successful applicant/s – this could cover accommodation, per diems, transport but equally the host organization may not be able to cover any costs of the participant.  Providing an opportunity is the key to the initiatives success.


ASSITEJ International is seeking ‘New Faces’ opportunity proposals from ASSITEJ organizations or individual members.  In the first instance we are asking these to be submitted via your ASSITEJ National Centre.  The proposals will then be forwarded on to ASSITEJ International to disseminate the information and placement offers.  ‘New Faces’ opportunities will be advertised on the ASSITEJ International website and through the newsletter.


Any ASSITEJ member organisation or individual who believes they are able to support a placement in their work setting. Care should be given to the time and attention the ‘New Faces’ individuals will need in the hosts working environment.  Offers of placements are encouraged across a range of settings and hosts should not be discouraged by their inability to offer financial support to the successful ‘New Faces’ applicants.


ASSITEJ International is now calling for ‘New Faces’ offers of placements beginning January 2011 and beyond.  ‘New Faces’ will only be as strong and successful as the input and good will of its member organisations and individuals.  We encourage National Centres and members alike to get behind this exciting new initiative that will significantly influence future international collaborations.  There are no deadlines for projects to be submitted, as the initiative is continually open to new placements from around the world.  Be among the first to be a part of ‘New Faces’ and offer a professional development opportunity now!




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1 Response to Feeedback session from ASSITEJ festival recently held in Denmark & Sweden

  1. Rachel Riggs says:

    Thanks Liz, very interesting possibilities there!

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