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“Aesthetic learning” and “art and cultural education” – this is what Theatre for children and young people can be. And it does not matter if you are in Germany, in South Africa or somewhere else in the world.

We are sitting in the Rostrum Theatre on the Arts Campus at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria attending the research laboratory “Theatre in Transformation”. The conversations are about the role of the arts in society and about artists as “Change Agents”. Yvette Hardie refers to the cultural diversity in theatre for young audience: It is about story diversity, different characters, international experienced theatre makers and an intercultural audience. But especially it is about interdisciplinary aesthetics, a laboratory of drama, dance and music, puppets and objects – and always linked to the daily experiences of each and every individual.

We complain about the functionalisation of theatre as education, the use of theatre for moral purposes and as a political instrument.

c, based at the Cape of Good Hope, wants to enable all young people to participate in the arts, believing that they can change the world. This strong belief is linked to the freedom that lies within the arts, in their radical potential and in their possibility to think outside the box.

On the one hand the partnerships with schools are necessary to reach a wide ranch of young people. But on the other hand the pedagogical implications are often counterproductive to the artistic freedom.

The current President and the honorary President of ASSITEJ International agree on the point that there must be more theatre for more people –at the starting point of the conference in the South African State Theatre in Pretoria as well as in the township-theatre Soweto where the cultural workers of Hildesheim could experience the special relevance of the performing arts.

At the “World Day of children´s theatre 2016” it has to be clarified that theatre for young audience has something to say and to show. On this day it is also important to claim in the name of cultural policy that the right of the children to theatre is realised.

Wolfgang Schneider (currently in South Africa)

President of the German ASSITEJ

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