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ASSITEJ Uzbekistan held a meeting with its member in November 2020 and outlined development plans. They have found a partner – Goethe Institute in Tashkent and intend to implement a large project to develop TYA.

Start of the project “Support for the development of theaters for children and youth in Uzbekistan”

by Sardor Gaziev

In order to develop theaters for children and youth in Uzbekistan, a meeting-seminar was organized, where specialists discussed topical issues and shared their visions of theater development. During the meeting, Uzbek specialists got acquainted with the activities of German theaters, with each other and held a workshop. The project was initiated by the national center ASSITEJ Uzbekistan, supported by the Representative Office of the Goethe Institute in Uzbekistan and the Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan.

From the German side, Mrs. Kirstin Hess, dramaturge of the D’haus theater, Rebecca Hohmann, director of the Theater Bremen, Mrs. Andrei Gronemeyer (Art director) and Xenia Bühler (Theater pedagogy) Schauburg theater in Munich. The online speakers told about the activities of theaters, touched upon management issues, the creation of performances, the work of managers with spectators and theater pedagogies.

This meeting-seminar was organized as the start of a big project aimed at the development of theaters for children and, within the framework of the workshop, participants from different regions identified a number of actual problems and, through discussion, proposed their solutions. The participants of the meeting-seminar got acquainted with the activities of theaters in Germany and Uzbekistan, had the opportunity to ask their questions and get accurate answers; examples of works of some theaters have become an inspiration and challenge for other theaters; had the opportunity to communicate and establish contacts and identify areas of cooperation with each other; through discussion, identified topical issues and possible ways to solve them; shared their experience of overcoming the complexities of the Covid 19 pandemic and much more. Among the actual problems, the following were identified and solutions were proposed.

1. Questions of drama, playwrights, screenwriters and translators.

Proposal: To focus the curriculum in universities to the specifics of children’s theater.

To acquaint students, young playwrights with the specifics of puppet theaters and theaters for children at theaters.

Organize competitions among young playwrights with cash prizes.

Guarantee copyright protection and payment of royalties.

To create favorable conditions for the creativity and education of playwrights for children’s theaters, to organize creative holidays, forums and symposia.

Cooperation of the production workshop with the playwright and authors, to establish collective creative work.

Create a playwrights’ club at the theater, involve schoolchildren, students and other interested parties.

Cooperation with universities, more active involvement of the teaching staff of creative universities in the theaters.

To acquaint with foreign drama in translation, to create periodical publications of translated contemporary drama.

2. Questions of provision, renewal and maintenance of the material and technical base.

Proposal: Develop initiative and perseverance in specialists.

Improve and increase the methods of self-financing.

Look for sponsors and grants, projects capable of improving the material and technical base of theaters.

To teach and develop skills to draw up applications for technical updates, make proposals to change the existing rules for the acquisition, tender purchases and registration.

3. Lack of specialists in creating the design and construction of movable puppets.

Proposal: Organize courses at theaters with existing masters.

Organize internships at the national puppet theater.

Organize short-term courses with foreign specialists.

4. Lack of qualifications, knowledge and skills of theater pedagogies.

Proposal: Return the theater teachers to their positions and staff units

To organize trainings, courses and professional development of theater pedagogies with the involvement of foreign specialists.

To develop, translate and adapt teaching aids, training materials of foreign authors and distribute throughout the country.

To involve teachers and educators in the activities of theaters, to establish cooperation with them on an ongoing basis.

5. Insufficient activity of creative exchange of specialists between theaters, artistic mobility.

Proposal: Be proactive and contact parent, partner and sponsor organizations.

Organize a creative laboratory in different specialties in different theaters.

Create an opportunity for specialists from one theater to participate in productions of other theaters.

Create conditions for the mobility of creative specialists by organizing inter-theatrical projects.

6. Unattractiveness of working in the periphery for young specialists.

Proposal: Submit a proposal to the Ministry of Culture for organizing targeted courses in universities and colleges under a contract.

Offer attractive conditions by attracting additional funds, creating comfortable living and working conditions.

Collaboration of university graduates in different directions, organization of graduation performances and send the production to the region.

7. Poorly organized touring activities of theaters both domestically and abroad.

Proposal: To improve the quality of performances, taking into account the interests of different characteristics of the audience: geography, language, culture, religion.

To be proactive and come up with proposals for exchange tours, and support these initiatives financially.

Training and professional development of professional theater managers.

Create a database with information about the possibility of touring abroad and international festivals.

To intensify integration into the world theater community through international organizations, institutions, events and projects.

8. The public relations and marketing of theaters is not professional.

Proposal: Train, guide and improve the qualifications of staff involved in this activity in theaters.

Add the staffing unit of the PR manager to the staffing table of theaters.

Organize cooperation with local media.

Submit a proposal to the ministry on lobbying the interests of theaters and other cultural organizations in the media and offer to make sure to allocate free time for advertising.

Produce trailers of the performances and distribute.

Collaborate with city authorities for partner programs.

Train, conduct master classes on advertising in social networks, promotion using SMM mechanisms.

Create a blogger club at theaters to support budding journalists.

Activate cooperation with journalists, organize press tours.

Involve bloggers in theater activities.

9. Issues of inclusive theater: work with children requiring additional attention is not carried out in theaters.

Proposal: Material and moral support of enthusiasts.

Develop specific programs for inclusion.

Work in conjunction with schools for the disabled.

To involve specialists working with special children in the theater.

Train and improve the qualifications of theater staff to work with special children.

Create conditions for the participation of children with special needs in the creative process.

To organize creative circles with elements of art therapy at theaters.

Invite parents of children requiring special attention to cooperation.

To create performances for children under five and organize the direction of baby theater in theaters.

To hold festivals, creative meetings and exchange of experience among specialists working in conditions of inclusion.

10. Issues of diversification of theater revenues and development of commercial activities.

Proposal: Allocate budget line item and funds for advertising and marketing services.

To attract specialists to develop a flexible system of discounts, products and merchandise trade and to train theater specialists in this.

Explain and create the legal environment for doing business and selling branded theater products.

Engage representatives of creative entrepreneurship in cooperation.

It is noteworthy that the participants were from different theaters, regions and different specialties, including directors and art-directors, playwrights, actors, stage decorators, artists and technical workers. We hope that this start will mark a big positive change in the activities of theaters for children and youth in Uzbekistan and we thank all our partners.

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