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At the World Congress in Cape Town May 2017, three persons received the Applause for Lifetime Achievement Award. 

This award recognizes those who have played a distinctive and inspiring role in the world of TYA – whether as artist, designer, producer, technician, administrator, teacher, facilitator, mentor – for their outstanding body of work over time, and for their profound and lasting contribution to theatre for young audiences in their country or region.

The winners of the award were:


Dr. Christel Hoffmann, Germany

See award video of Christel Hoffmann

For her long-lasting impact on the lives of children and careers of artists and practitioners of theatre for children in Germany and beyond. 

Dr Hoffmann is an inspiration as one of the powerful women of German children’s theatre.

Her renown is as a theatre pedagogue and dramaturg, as a teacher and as a professor, educating children as well as actors and teachers. 

She was chief dramaturge at the Berlin “Theater der Freundschaft” and one of the inspiring people around the "International Directors’ Seminar" for more than 20 years.

She has written prolifically about children’s theater, adding significantly to the body of knowledge within the Theatre for Young Audiences sector.

Dr Hoffmann was also deeply involved in Assitej Germany.



Carlos Hernans, Spain                  

See Award Video of Carlos Herans 

For his immense impact on the Spanish theatre scene and his vital contribution to the creation and development of the Small Size network.

He was a pioneer for the theatre for early years and worked towards recognition of this form, working to DO theatre for children, and always of high quality.

He was one of the founders of accion educativa – one of the movements in education before the end of the Franco period.  For 25 years he had the direction of the festival which opened Spain to Europe and introduced Spanish companies to the rest of Europe.  The festival supported a lot of Spanish companies.

He worked as director, as dramaturge and organiser for the Theatre for Young Audiences sector in Spain and beyond through Small Size.

Tragically Carlos Herans died less than a month after receiving this honorable award. ASSITEJ mourned the loss of Carlos through an In memoriam.


Razi Amitai, Israel

See award video of Razi Amitai

For his significant impact on cultural policy and long-lasting influence on the growth of theatre for children in Israel.

He has spent his life developing the Israeli theater for young audiences including the "International Show-Case" festival.

Artists in Israel acknowledge him as central to the Theatre for Young Audiences sector.  “You cannot think of theatre for children in Israel and not think of Razi.”

He founded Mediateque theatre, the largest theatre for children in Israel.

Dr Amitai serves as advisor in cultural policy and he makes sure that the quality for theatre for children continues to grow.

He was the Chair of ASSITEJ Israel for many years and he has been active in ASSITEJ international for more than six years.



Criteria for the award

The Applause Lifetime Achievement Award means that the person has for their lifetime served theatre for young audiences in their country, but also contributed to the International family.

The award was created to recognize people who haven’t necessarily served within the Association, but rather within the field in general, through their body of work and their influence on the shape of TYA.



The nominees for this award were excellent, reflecting an experienced and distinguished field.  The jury would like to acknowledge all the nominees for their extraordinary work for Theatre for Young Audiences in their own countries, and beyond; as artists, directors, pedagogues, cultural advocates and passionate people who have made a real difference.

Stefan Fischer-Fels (Chair), Yvette Hardie, Roberto Frabetti, Vigdis Jakobsdottir, Asaya Fujita, Nina Hajiyianni, Daniel Fernandez, Sue Giles, Imran Khan, Francois Fogel.

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