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As Secretary General of ASSITEJ a lot of my work takes place behind a computer, reading and writing many texts. Emails, newsletters, reports, applications and other useful but often boring and not artistic or inspiring texts. So now, when it is my turn to write the opener of our newsletter, I wish to share this image with you.

Have a look at it.

Enjoy it.

For me this image expresses many of the reasons why I work for ASSITEJ: joy, concentration, imagination, the excitement of being together with fellow audiences and with performers.

It also expresses that our sector has the best audiences and co-creators you can ever get – children! Children are so open to the world, to stories, to movements, to new ways of approaching life; can there be anything more meaningful and important than making art for and with them?!

This image is from Cuba and this is not a coincidence.

The next ASSITEJ World Congress and International Performing Arts Festival takes place in Cuba; in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. Cuba has a large and diverse performing arts tradition with many artists, critics, art thinkers, art teachers, arts organizations and an audience that are used to the arts, value the arts, and are eager to engage.

You will also notice that the audience for the performance is outdoors, or perhaps in a corridor or a staircase. The outdoor spaces in Havana will be a focus of the World Congress. We will invite practitioners who work in public space, in non-traditional forms, in participation, in immersive and sensory installations to take part. These are forms we have not seen so often at our global events. Look out for the open call, it will soon reach your inbox!

The Congress in Cuba is not the only important moment that is waiting for us during the next 12 months. In November ASSITEJ Serbia is hosting the ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering 2023 with a special focus on young and emerging artists, in the two beautiful cities of Belgrade and Novi Sad.

When I work with the organizers from ASSITEJ Serbia and ASSITEJ Cuba I feel they share a common understanding and mission. The values and narratives children and young people experience as citizens, consumers, users of social media, future labour force and spectators to local and global conflicts are often challenging, as are the life conditions and prospects for a meaningful life for many.

ASSITEJ Serbia and ASSITEJ Cuba wish to give children and young people something else. They deeply believe that theatre, dance, poetry, art, and community is necessary in our lives to nurture curiosity, reflection and creativity and to be empathetic human beings and societies.

I share this mission. And so, we invite you to be part of both of these vital, unique cultural moments.

Join us in Serbia and in Cuba!

ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering 2023 “Turning Point”: 20-24 November, Belgrade & Novi Sad.

21st ASSITEJ World Congress & Performing Arts Festival ”Voices of a New World”: Havana 24 May – 1 June 2024. Post-congress activities: 1-8 June in all parts of Cuba. Open call for performances and workshops is coming soon!

Foto by Nelson Álvarez. Audiences attending a performance from “Titirivida”, from Pinar del río, Cuba.

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