Honorary ASSITEJ Member Vicky Ireland shares some memories of the Minifest in Rostov-on-Don, Southern Russia.
It was so exciting to find this year’s Minifest all took place within the magnificent Theatre for Young Spectator’s, built in 1899, and to find myself wandering backstage and under the theatre, around the same dressing rooms, where, dressed in cloaks with hoods, we had been led as audience spies in that wonderful, “Hamlet”, twenty two years before.
The festival programme included productions from around twelve countries and ranged over age-appropriate content, style and presentation, plus there were literary discussions, panel discussions, (I was part of a panel which discussed “Theatre Building Bridges”) and laboratory theatre workshops. The guests in attendance were drawn from Russia and beyond.
The Russian people truly like and invest in their young and I was interested to see so many young children with their families in the theatre, all well-dressed and polite, or in the company of their Babushkas. It seems you don’t mess with your Granny! These formidable ladies have a very important and respected place in raising and looking after young children, and handing on traditions and cultural knowledge. I was privileged to meet two brilliant ones.
All in all, it was a successful festival with packed audiences of all ages.