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This autumn I have had the great privilege to attend and speak at two important ASSITEJ events in very different parts of the world. The first one was the International Drama Salon held in Beijing in conjunction with the China Children’s Theatre Festival in late August. The second one was the In-Forma event held by ASSITEJ Italy in Bologna at the beginning of September. Both events were very well organized and also, I’m happy to say, well attended by local TYA artists.

It is something very special to be able to travel from between countries and continents and each time be welcomed by people who are truly passionate about their art, committed to creating important work for young audiences and are generous and open towards their fellow artists from around the world. ASSITEJ is not only a strong and vibrant network of TYA professionals but a closely knit community – a global family.

At both events – In China and Italy – vibrant and important discussions took place: Discussions about advocacy of TYA, about the rights of all children to enjoy art, about international mobility of artists, about language, about content, about context and… how we can make it possible to meet and share our experiences more often. Because once we are together, we can all feel how much we need and want to meet, talk and share.

The Drama Salon and In-Forma both captured the true spirit of ASSITEJ. They managed to be forums for honest and open discussions between artists, strengthening the underlying sense of community.

In Italy I heard the word ‘noi’ used several times during the final day’s summaries, often with a strong emphasis from the speakers. When I asked my translator what it meant, she told me it was the word for ‘we’. -And it all made sense to me. Because the true gain of this first event of its kind held by ASSITEJ Italy, was this bold and strong sense of ‘NOI’ which I think everybody who was present could feel.

NOI – ?? – VIÐ – WE are stronger together than apart. Wherever we are in the world.

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