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Saturday, November 10, 2012


About 120 artists, educators, government officials, funders as well as other supporting bodies are expected to participate in the ASSITEJ South Africa Theatre4Youth Forum in Johannesburg on December 6, 2012.

The Theatre4Youth National Forum aims to create an active dialogue between artists, educators, government, funders and other supporting bodies in order to engage in how theatre and the arts can serve and support the education system. The event is supported by The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, The Goethe Institute, The Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) in association with Nedbank Arts Affinity

The forum is the first of its kind and intends to bring together all stakeholders to discuss the following topics:
- The actual and possible roles of theatre and the arts in the new national curriculum;
- Educational challenges, needs & possibilities for external support;
- The role of ASSITEJ SA in bridging the gaps between theatre and education;
- Theatre4Youth concept, outcomes and impact;
- Resources needed to implement Theatre4Youth programmes and
- The potential impact of this programme for the theatre industry/landscape at large

“The forum will pay attention to the needs of educators, learners, theatre companies and artists, as well as to the current obstacles to this engagement”, says Yvette Hardie, Director of ASSITEJ SA and current President of ASSITEJ International. “This event goes to the heart of what ASSITEJ SA is all about, working to ensure that all children have access to the arts.”

The Theatre4Youth Forum has generated interest and excitement across many sectors. There is clearly a need to support theatre for young audiences in South Africa because, unless children are given the opportunity to fall in love with the theatre experience, South Africa will have no theatre industry in the future.

“Theatre and dramatic arts offer young people a creative, energetic and imaginative forum for success”, says Professor Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector for the University of the Free State. “We know from research that not all children do well in the same subject fields. We also know that children who experience success in fields like drama and the arts carry over the confidence gained to other subject areas and we certainly know that children who do well in what excites them become self-assured human beings motivated to participate fully in the lives of communities. One of the serious mistakes we make in our country is to narrow the achievement landscape of children and youth to regulate school subjects like science and mathematics, not recognising that there are many other ways in which young people can experience the joy and satisfaction of personal and motivation. We measure test scores in traditional subjects; this is a mistake”, believes Professor Jansen.

The forum will be presented in five sessions: a Keynote Address; two panel discussions; a workshop session divided into four separate topics; a report on the Theatre4Youth programme so far, and the launch of the hardcopy catalogue.

Workshop sessions will focus on the following questions: a) How can theatre be used as an educational tool, both in and across the curriculum? b) How can the arts community support early childhood development and the pre-primary sector? c) How can we lobby and advocate better for theatre (and the arts) in schools? d) What are the best funding models for theatre for young audiences and arts in schools?

Presentations, workshops and recommendations will be used for on-going research purposes and as a tool for strengthening the concept of theatre as a vehicle of education and training. The report emerging from the Theatre4Youth Forum will be sent to the relevant stakeholders (those who participated, and to government and corporates) to advocate for policy priorities and implementation strategies.

In a partnership between ASSITEJ SA and the Market Theatre, the Market theatre will host an evening event for teachers attending the Theatre4Youth Forum. Dinner will be served, followed by an evening of delight with Sylvaine Strike’s acclaimed production of The Miser. This event will celebrate the teachers who have so loyally supported the Market Theatre in the past, while also inviting participation from new stakeholders in the exciting plans for 2013.

All those interested to present at or attend the forum can express their interests by completing the online application form at the following link:

The deadline for proposals to present is November 15, 2012. Participation will be confirmed by November 21, 2012.

More information on the forum from Themba Mzondi, ASSITEJ SA Marketing and Fundraising Manager, on 021 822 0070/1/2 or e-mail