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Global events that are shaking the world, universal topics of social inequality and inequality in general, the infinite row of images revealing the crude faces of capitalism, these are today’s topical issues. The young of course feel these mounting problems that are threatening their future. The questions that the artists are facing are how to overcome these issues and whether it is utopian to believe that working with youth art can affect tomorrow and contribute to a better world.

Throughout the history of theatre, the times of crises have always presented a challenge for artists, thereby causing the vibrancy in theatre art as a reflection of historical context. This kind of liveliness marked this summer as well. We read and heard about gatherings of our colleagues and those outside our association who are working for and with children within theatre and performance arts on various places throughout the world. These events prove the awakening of the consciousness and need for (re)action.

Within its various side programmes, including the Bitef Poliphony devoted to the theatre for young audiences, this year’s 50th BITEF festival in Belgrade  is also putting the focus on the issues of migration crisis and other challenges that are affecting Europe recently; the effects of these crises on the society as well as the global consequences.

We in ASSITEJ Serbia are happy to see that the programmes that we were preparing for quite some time with our partners from around the world are matching with the concept of this festival, known for discovering and bringing innovations in performing arts. It is thrilling to be a part of this internationally renowned festival, whose 2016 title “On the back of a raging bull” referring to the myth of Europe is countered with the title of Bitef Polyphony’s 2016 programme “Resisting Rage”  .

The title “Resisting Rage” calls for the pursuit of the answer to the question whether the guiding principle of numerous artists in TYA of “making our audience more ready and active for a better world” is a utopia. Whatever the final answer is, artist should respond to the needs of society and, at the same time, be aware and responsible to (re)act. Already these regional, joint initiatives are making a substantial progress. But, the picture needs to be seen it its entirety, as only when you perceive it globally, and not solely in fragments, you can see it crystal clear. The last large ASSITEJ gathering On the Edge in Birmingham was followed by many reactions and reports illustrating the great motivation generated from this event. Among many ongoing calls for participation in various programmes, discussions, competitions and other events to be held in the upcoming CRADLE OF CREATIVITY 19th ASSITEJ World Congress & Performing Arts Festival in May 2017 I would like to stress again the importance of each and every voice bringing new ideas, experiences and points of view to these events.

I urge you to engage in the current activities, to apply, to recommend other excellent authors from your regions. It is of outmost importance that we all meet each other, to build our common picture of the world together, to continue to explore the possibilities and to share our knowledge and accomplishments in order to reach our joint goal of great performing art for children and young, capable to motivate, bring hope and evoke a better world.

Diana Kržani? Tepavac

ASSITEJ EC member – Projects Working Group

ASSITEJ Serbia President