Why do we keep reminding the TYA community to think about Placements program? Why do we urge ASSITEJ members to find ways to open up new opportunities for young artists and theatre makers, to look for fresh flow, to participate in this great and exciting global exchange?
NG Placements is in many ways a very specific programme: it is a platform that offers a variety of possibilities in individual residencies for young and emerging artists. Each and every NG Placements offer is created as a unique opportunity, different from the previous ones; as an artistic and experiential challenge for both the host and the participant, in which their biggest investment is their personal commitment. It is particularly this multiplicity of specific opportunities that makes the results of the programme almost unpredictable. Nevertheless, previous participants’ feedback reveals splendid experiences almost without exception, reassuring us that encountering colleagues and individuals willing to share and commit to one common purpose – a good theatre for all children, is something that is of special value regardless of generational, geographical or artistic background.
In NG Placement program, ASSITEJ has the role of a mediator who is inviting and encouraging its large membership to create and open these unique opportunities intended for young artists, administrators or producers. Moreover, ASSITEJ aims to make these opportunities more visible and accessible to as many interested seekers as possible, as well as to learn from the experiences of previous participants in order to enhance the program for future generations. The questions popping up after the realization of all the placements are of special interest to us: were both the host and the participant satisfied? Were there any new ideas created amid a flow of freshly shared energy? Was the match successful from the perspective of mutual, artistic understanding and recognition? Did the presence of a new, young face refresh the memories of experienced theatre makers on their beginnings, reminding them of the defining moment in their careers and strengthening their commitment to the theatre for children and young people? And did the newly established collaboration bring them to rediscover their long- fostered work and professional knowledge and pass it on to an emerging artist eager to learn? That is why we are asking all of the hosts as well as selected participants to write a report after their placement ends and share their impressions and experiences. Let us see what some of them have told us!
“I can say that PLACEMENTS is a project that can help to increase the exchange between cultures and forms of arts, and as well, to open the international perspective to create new ways of artistic work”, said Elena Manzo from Mexico. Elena has spent one week of February 2015 at Theatre an der Parkaue in Berlin. “The week I worked with the Winterakademie was very interesting, intense and full of creativity. I could develop my capacities as an artist and learn from the theatre team and from the work with the kids. The chance to get to know new people in theatre and to work with children and teenagers in Berlin, expanded the point of view in my work as an artist, and helped me to develop new ways of working.”
Charlotte Loriot from France, who has recently spent nearly two months in South Africa, added “It was another benefit for me of this experience in South Africa, where the history of the country makes many people become very engaged about political issues or rights, and sometimes developing other conceptions about the goals of artists than the one I am more used to”. Charlotte was invited by Eliot Moleba to work as a dramaturg on the theatre play “The Orphan of Gaza” that had its rehearsal process in Johannesburg and its premier in Joburg, followed with a tour to Cape Town and The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. In her report, she says that “ …the opportunity to meet very interesting, engaged and challenging artists has been very inspiring. One of my greatest experiences has been the people I’ve met, and also the ability to tour and create with very simple tools (different to the big opera houses I’m used to…), focusing on our audience and the message. To put it in a nutshell, I really enjoyed it!”
“I was surprised at the extent to which we, the young artists, were involved in the festival program and ASSITEJ gathering”, highlighted Bojana Babi? from Serbia after her first NG residency experience this springtime in Berlin. “We have received much attention, and at the end of the festival at a joint gathering with tea and cakes, we have been told that the festival is grateful to us for “refreshing” the whole festival. I visited several film festivals that have had a similar program for young artists, but I never felt as a serious and equal member of the team fighting for the same goal – for theatre for children to be the best theatre”.
Reading the reports from our participants, it becomes clear that mentorship and support to a young generation of new talents is and should be at the core of our program. It is a simple yet crucial task: creating a bond between the experienced, established theatre makers and young emerging talents, and thus enabling them to share their skills and techniques, as well as their vision of a world that could be possible if we believe in it, and commit to it in our work. Transferring our knowledge to the new generations and developing our common vision together with them is priceless for all of us in TYA, as well as for the future of ASSITEJ.
Starting with the spring 2015, the ASSITEJ Next Generation Placements Program has a continuous, open Call for Offers, welcoming interested theatre practitioners to create new offers all year long. Therefore, if you’re preparing a festival, planning new projects, or simply want to open the doors of your theatre/group/team, we invite you to submit your offer and become a milestone influencing the career of a young colleague.
Why Placements? Our participants gave you a hint. For more, I invite you to visit our webpage and create your Offer at https://www.assitej-international.org/networks-in-assitej/next-generation/submit-offer/. It will be our pleasure to make your effort and contribution visible worldwide!
Diana Kržani? Tepavac
ASSITEJ EC member – Projects Working Group
ASSITEJ Serbia president