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Tuesday, December 25, 2012


ASSITEJ South Africa and its local and international partners are gearing up for the much anticipated Take a Child to the Theatre Today 2013 campaign in encouraging audience development amongst South Africa’s youngest citizens.

The significant day for theatre for children and young people is celebrated annually by ASSITEJ centres the world over on March 20. This international association of theatre for children and young people (active in almost 90 countries) and its partners are working together to unite theatres across the world in conveying one message: “Take a child to the theatre today”.

In South Africa, the campaign aims to engage with the theatre community, government departments, the private sector, and the general public to advocate for the value of theatre in the lives of children and young people.

“ASSITEJ SA is bringing corporates on board to sponsor children to attend theatre, and we ask companies and receiving houses to find ways to open their doors to children, young people, and their families”, says Yvette Hardie, Director of ASSITEJ SA and President of ASSITEJ International. “The Take a Child to the Theatre Today campaign goes to the heart of what ASSITEJ is all about, working to ensure that all children and young people have access to the arts wherever they happen to live. The festive season is traditionally a time when families take their children to the theatre, but we would like to encourage people to consider this as not just an annual event, but as an ongoing engagement with the arts.”

“We ask emerging and established theatres and theatre companies across the country to join hands and reach out to new audiences in community halls, schools, professional theatres and site specific venues. This year our work in deprived communities such as Bodibe village (North West province), Sterkspruit (Eastern Cape), the Hillbrow inner city (Gauteng) and Vrygrond (Western Cape), to give just a few examples, has shown us just how desperately children need the arts as a transformative impulse. We want young people everywhere to experience the liberating power of the imagination,” Hardie says.

The year 2012 witnessed the participation of 11 major theatre houses and companies in the campaign: Artscape, Joburg Theatre, Market Theatre, People’s Theatre, Sibikwa Arts Centre, Catalina Theatre, Hilton College Theatre, Kalk Bay Theatre, Baxter Theatre Centre, National Children’s Theatre, The Entertainers and Hillbrow Theatre Project made sure that young audiences in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Pietermaritzburg had access to the arts. Special offers for families, exciting interactive events, free theatre for children and young people, as well as a marketing and advocacy campaign all played a role.

Over 7,500 children attended theatrical events in honour of the day, an inspiring start for the three-year-long global campaign initiated by ASSITEJ to advocate for the value of theatre in the lives of children and young people. Numerous high profile volunteers gave of their time to bring attention to the message.

ASSITEJ SA encourages all South Africans to make a small but important contribution of R10 by texting “Theatre4Youth” to 38490 from their mobile phones, thereby sponsoring children and youth to visit the theatre over the festive season and into the new year.

For more information on the campaign, contact Themba Mzondi, ASSITEJ SA Marketing and Fundraising Manager on 021 822 0070/1/2 or e-mail