Towards the Unknown… the overarching theme for ASSITEJ for the current three-year term is ringing very true at this moment in the world. In May we have our 20th World Congress in Tokyo in Japan. Our ASSITEJ Community is very aware of this important event and has been planning and looking forward to this for a long time, since first it was announced at Congress 19th in Cape Town.
The ASSITEJ Japan team is working day and night to make this an occasion to remember; the first ever Congress in Japan and the Mirai Festival the biggest gathering of TYA work ever to be presented to the Japanese people. This is a chance to shine the spotlight on the Asian region and celebrate the work in Theatre for Young Audiences around the world, all together, gathered together, sharing space and minds and hearts and passion and practice, being in proximity with other people. People face to face, clasping hands, embracing friends, meeting strangers, eating together, sitting shoulder to shoulder in theatres, arguing with hands waving, talking in many languages, welcoming young people to sit with their peers and their elders to be transported into worlds that are impossible and magical and deeply individual and transformational.
This plan has become a hope rather than a certainty. The current situation, with Coronavirus widespread and escalating in many countries, with governments warning of high risk, or the need to quarantine yourself, has already made the opportunity to come together difficult and fraught with personal risk.
Like any responsible organisation, ASSITEJ is planning for contingency, sharing important information and keeping up to date on the situation around the world. We are a global organisation and we are following advice and precautions recommended by our various governments and authorities.
This very particular situation is an extraordinary spotlight on our ability to cope with the unseen and unknown, as people and as communities, and a distinct and visible threat to how people gather and celebrate. In the face of all this, we are providing links to information via the World Health Organisation (WHO).
At the moment we intend to carry through with the 20th ASSITEJ World Congress & Performing Arts Festival / MIRAI 2020 in May, and are depending on the Japanese Government for information about their support of this hope. If we need to cancel the event we will be putting our energies into the Congress taking place in a way that includes all our members whether they can be in the same room or not.
We’re thinking of all of our members who have had to cancel festivals and events, shows, tours. We are thinking of all the children who are not at theatres or festivals or seeing theatre at their schools and so many who have been inside for such a long time. We hold fast to the celebration of theatre and its power to illuminate the world for young audiences, to bring hope and pleasure and human shared experience in a time when it is most needed.
Information about Coronavirus and the 20th ASSITEJ World Congress: https://www.assitej-international.org/en/coronavirus/
Information about visa to enter Japan: https://www.assitej-international.org/en/visa-to-japan/