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News from ASSITEJ Australia

What an extraordinary time for us all. In Australia, we find ourselves divided in many ways: some obvious and new with the pandemic – others like racism too familiar and very deeply ingrained across the whole of our society.

In the midst of this pandemic we find lines drawn harshly between states and territories as different jurisdictions respond. Many new cases have presented across Melbourne in Victoria and we are now re-entering six weeks of restricted movements when we’re only permitted to leave the house for essential reasons. However, across the rest of Australia, many have begun to go back out into suburbs, towns and cities. Some of us are occupied with how to stay safe at home, and simultaneously there are many who are considering safety of re-opening theatres and re-starting activities. 

There is upheaval and change everywhere we look. We hold hope, along with many that we can learn and act in a difficult time to ensure a fairer future for all generations of people across Australia.

We are working through this moment in time to make a case to increase investment and commitment to the vital sector of performance for young audiences and youth arts – necessary for the recovery, resilience and imaginative future for young people in Australia. 

International panels and interconnectedness across the seas

Over the past few months Sue Giles, Australian member of the Executive Committee of ASSITEJ International, has sat on multiple virtual panels, discussing the impacts of the pandemic, virtual presentation and online engagement. I-Entertainment (India) and The Little Art (Pakistan) ran a three-day forum, including speakers from around the world. Catch up here.

TYA USA ran a webinar on virtual presentation and engagement with Australian artists Gemma Pepper, Luke Kerridge, Sue Giles and Andy Packer, which you can watch here.

Sue attended a forum created by Kirtana Kumar titled Because the World is YOU with speakers as follows:

  • Lakshmi K (Hasiru Dala, Bangalore) – Creating online theatre pedagogies to serve the under-served
  • Shaili Sathyu (Gillo repertory, Mumbai) – 4 silos of children’s theatre in India
  • Julia Dina Hesse (Uni of Weisbaden) – Sustainability and children’s theatre
  • Kenjiro Otani (ASSITEJ, International) – Space, Time and Ideas
  • Ramanjit Kaur (Creative Arts, Kolkata) – Rethinking Theatre Exercises for the digital space
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And finally, Sue spoke to Ellie Griffiths during the on-line version of Edinburgh International Children’s Festival. Watch it here.
First ASSITEJ Advisory Pool Announced

We are delighted that we have assembled a fabulous group of people from across Australia for the first ASSITEJ Advisory Group. This group will assist our National Centre (Theatre Network Australia), and Sue Giles, to understand better what’s happening across the vast country in Theatre for Young Audiences and Youth Arts.

There are representatives from seven states and territories, companies, festivals and independents from both Theatre for Young Audiences and Youth Arts. We look forward to the intelligence, advocacy and connectivity that will come from establishing this Advisory Group. We have no doubt their input will strengthen the sector for us all within Australia and represent us better internationally.

ASSITEJ International “Regional Coffee Sessions”  

Our regional coffee sessions were an incredible chance to listen to our members, to meet people for the first time and to engage with artists’ real needs and concerns. We look to this regional conversation as a way to build the possibility for stronger collaborative projects within Australia and across our region.

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