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On March 20th 2019, we celebrated the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People. All around the global ASSITEJ network, there were events and happenings in honour of the World Day.

Through the commitment of our national centres, individual members, companies, arts organisations, academics, teachers, artists, practitioners and others interested in theatre for young audiences, we were able to celebrate the World Day and ‘make the case’ for children’s entitlement to theatre and the arts. Thank you for marking March 20th as an extraordinary day in our calendars each year!

Below you will find a snapshot of some of the activities that took place.


ASSITEJ España celebrated World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People with the award ceremony of ASSITEJ Spain Awards 2018

On March 16, the ASSITEJ Spain 2018 Awards ceremony took place. The winners of the ASSITEJ Spain 2018 Awards were Luis Fernando de Julián and Lola Lara. During the awards ceremony, there was also a moment specially dedicated to the celebration of the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People.

Fernando de Julián García wins the XX ASSITEJ Spain Prize of Theatre for Children and Young People for his play El estómago de la ballena, a dramaturgy with a great poetic capacity about covers current problems.

We used the message Take a boy to the theatre today. Take a girl to the theatre today. The words of 8-year-old Joyee, 11-year-old Jojo and Yvette Hardie, president of ASSITEJ International were heard by the audience.

National Prize 2018

Lola Lara received the National Prize 2018 wich acknowledge his work along her whole life dedicated to the defense and visibility of quality performing arts aimed at children and Young people. From ASSITEJ Spain we feel a great illusion with this award, because our partners have recognized the work of Lola Lara, who has been president of ASSITEJ for the last 17 years.



Shailee theatre, Nepal marked the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People by organising a production based theatre workshop for children.



The Agor Drysau – Opening Doors is Wales International Festival of Performing Arts for Young Audiences, which is organised every two years by Arad Goch Theatre Company. 

Running from 16 – 23 March, the World Day is right in the middle of the festival.


ASSITEJ Serbia has invited its member Dalija Acin Thelander to write a message for this year’s WDT.

Read Dalija’s message in English

Read Dalija’s message in Serbian




Edinburgh International Children’s Festival used the occasion of the World Day to launch their 2019 programme! The festival, taking place from May 25th until June 2nd, will be their 30th edition. In this very special year, they present 15 shows from 8 countries, curated by Festival Director Noel Jordan. Check out the new Festival trailer and programme here.


ASSITEJ Germany celebrated the World Day on March 20th in several places. They have also translated Yvette’s message into German. Read it here!

The city of Frankfurt (Main) is planning to build a new theatre for young audiences. Plans and policies, artistic visions and budgets will be discussed by Brigitte Dethier, Chair of ASSITEJ Germany, and Wolfgang Schneider, Honorary President of ASSITEJ. The panel is part of “Starke Stuecke” international TYA festival in the Rhein-Main-Region which hosts many international guest performances as well as a groundbreaking Next Generation Workspace programme and several occasions to discuss TYA in Norway, France and elsewhere.

The Schauburg in Munich opens its international theatre festival for beginners: “Kuckuck” on March 20th and will be sure to use the coincidence to draw attention to the importance of theatre for the very young.

(c) Silke Schmidt

Illustration by Silke Schmidt

South Africa

ASSITEJ South Africa has announced the winner of the 2nd African Playwriting competition.

The ASSITEJ African Playwriting Competition seeks to nurture and identify new plays written by South African and African writers which will resonate with South African and African audiences from 0 – 19. The winning play will be produced and presented at the Cradle of Creativity 2019, a Biennial International Festival of Theatre for Young Audiences in South Africa to be held at the Baxter Theatre Centre in Cape Town from 20 to 25 August 2019. The focus for Cradle of Creativity is intercultural collaboration in theatre for young audiences, and this year’s winner certainly represents the fruits of a successful intercultural exploration.

The winning play is: Dipalo by Selloane Mokuku (South Africa) and Ginni Manning (UK), mentored by Kelsey Mesa of the Kennedy Centre, USA. More information here.

Additionally, ASSITEJ South Africa gathered a nice overview of events happening on or around March 2oth, in the different regions in South Africa.

The World Day also received some press attention in the Sunday Times. Read the article here.


Constance Cauers, the chair of ASSITEJ Austria, has written a message for the World Day (in German).

ASSITEJ Austria will celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2019. For this occasion, they have launched a call for videos on the World Day. They will gather short clips to make a celebratory video to be released on May 24th.




For 2019, PACT (Professional Association of Canadian Theatres) in partnership with Assitej, TUEJ, ATFC, and Canada Children’s Festival Association commissioned a message to promote and celebrate World Day of Theatre for Children and Young Audiences from a Canadian perspective. This year’s message has been written by Jessica Carmichael. You can read the message in French and in English. It has also been performed by two actors. Watch the videos here!




The year 2019 has been announced in Russia as the Year of Theatre, so campaign “Take a Child to the Theatre” has gained a special significance there. The ASSITEJ Russia turned to its members with proposal to join the campaign and attract local audiences to it. The idea was that spectators and parents buy additional tickets for performances on March 20 leaving them at the box office for theatre’s disposal. Later theatre donates tickets to children from large or needy families, orphans, and children with disabilities. Eventually 15 theatre companies from the very different parts of Russia announced their participation in campaign. See the list of companies here!


Together with C-mine in Genk, the AGORA Theatre in Sankt Vith and ékla in Strépy-Bracquegnies, ASSITEJ Belgium took part in the action ‘Take a Child to the Theatre’. Children and their families who have difficulty accessing the theatre are invited to a performance or activity. More information here.


ASSITEJ Estonia organised a day to celebrate World Day of TYA on the 20th.

It took place in Estonian Children’s Literature Centre in Tallinn ~from 13.00 to 17.00. The programme included panel discussions (1. “Who needs a playwright?” and 2. “How to evaluate and recognize TYA?”), an introduction to world festivals of TYA and the newest Estonian literature for TYA. There were also young actors reading a new play for youngsters and in the evening all guests went to see a show from Kuressaare City Theatre. The day and panels are moderated by Estonian clowns Piip and Tuut.


The children audience in Lagos, Nigeria is far far more than the adult audience… Hence, the Theatre culture needs to be ignited from the early age. Theatre can help reform and reshape kids and their perspective to life, while we ignite their creativity.

In honour of the World Day of Theatre for Children & Young People, a Children’s Theatre Advocacy Platform was organised by Footprints of David and Kíninso Koncept.

Picture credits: Kingfestival, ASSITEJ Russia, Svenska ASSITEJ, ASSITEJ Estonia, ASSITEJ Germany, Silke Schmidt (illustration), Buro Bannink, Adelaide Festival Centre, Merry-Go-Round Youth Theatre, Theater Luftschloss,  Oily Cart, ASSITEJ Spain


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