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Saturday, May 17, 2014


ASSITEJ SA and the National Arts Council announce a flagship three-year partnership towards the hosting of an ASSITEJ World Congress in Cape Town in 2017.

The bid to host this prestigious international event will take place at the 18th ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival in Warsaw, Poland from May 23 to 31, 2014. The results of the voting will be announced shortly thereafter. If successful, it will be the first ASSITEJ World Congress to be held in Africa since this international organisation was launched in 1965.

Yvette Hardie, Director of ASSITEJ SA and currently President of the international association, says “this is about more than just bringing an important event to our shores. This is an opportunity for us to put in place strategic initiatives which will fundamentally shift the landscape for theatre for young audiences and practitioners in our country, and also on the continent. We want to ensure that the value and transformative power of theatre in the lives and education of children and young people is recognised, and we believe that hosting this Congress and Performing Arts Festival can bring about increased awareness and systemic changes.

“Every aspect of the World Congress and Performing Arts Festival is being designed with long-term sustainability in mind,” she continues, “and with a commitment to building partnerships between all stakeholders interested in investing in the future of children and young people. For this reason, we are delighted by the vision and commitment of the National Arts Council, which has recognised the important need of building the country and the arts landscape through investment in its youngest citizens.”

ASSITEJ SA’s bid for the World Congress will be themed “Cradle of Creativity”, referring to South Africa and Africa’s position as the Cradle of Humankind, from which all humanity and all artistic endeavour originates. Rosemary Mangope, CEO of the National Arts Council, says: “Investing in our youth through stimulating innovation and creativity, is investing in our future. The arts, more than any other form of education, have the ability to evoke forms of thinking valuable for grappling with the ambiguities that life throws at us”.

The World Congress Bid has also been supported by a host of other partners, including the National Arts Festival, with Wesgro and The Conference Company both providing direct support towards the bidding process. Theatres across the country have been approached to be part of the initiative, which will see around 2,000 international visitors coming to South Africa, and more than 50 professional productions for young audiences (aged 0 to 18) from South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world being showcased.

The bid committee which has been working towards securing the 19th World Congress for South Africa includes Marlene le Roux (Artscape), Lara Foot (Baxter), Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema (Joburg theatres), Elinor Sisulu (Puku), Nobulali Dangazele (Shakexperience), Mandie van der Spuy (former Sponsorship Manager at Standard Bank), Dorelle Sapere (Mandela Bay Development Agency), Janet Watts (Tshikululu Arts, Culture and Heritage Fund), Ismail Mahomed (National Arts Festival), Trish Downing (National School of the Arts /independent), Monica Newton (DAC), Rosemary Mangope (NAC) and Yvette Hardie (ASSITEJ SA).

With approximately 54% of the population on the African continent under the age of 15, the bid committee believes that South Africa is a truly appropriate venue for the next World Congress of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People. The future of theatre in Africa is surely theatre for young audiences.

The proposed dates for the 19th World Congress to take place in Cape Town, South Africa, will be from May 17 to 27 2017. The central venue will be the City Hall, with a variety of theatres, heritage sites and township community sites all utilised for performances, workshops, seminars and forums.

The team to present the bid in Warsaw will comprise Ismail Mahomed (National Arts Festival), Nobulali Dangazele (Shakexperience) who will head up the bid presentation and a representative from the National Arts Council.

Nobulali ‘Lali’ Dangazele is a social ARTrepreneur. She is an experienced thespian and producer, a sought-after facilitator and motivation catalyst. She is currently involved in The DAC’s flagship programme of artists in schools at various levels. She is a former lecturer at Drama For Life, a Naledi Judge, a Shanduka Black Umbrella alumni, and a recipient of the 2010/11 SAB Kickstart competition national award.

She produced Mathematics, Science and English Productions that include Shakexperience’s devised radio astronomy play called Astro detectives, John Kani’s Nothing But The Truth, as well an African adaptation of Animal Farm by Neil Coppen. To date, these productions have reached more than 25,000 young audiences and are still running. Her work is published in academic and non-academic writings.

For more information about the ASSITEJ 19th World Congress Bid or about ASSITEJ itself, contact Yvette Hardie, Director of ASSITEJ South Africa, and President of ASSITEJ, on or 021 822 0070/1/2.