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Friday, August 29, 2014


ASSITEJ SA has proudly announced that for the first time, an ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival will be held on African soil. This will take place in May 2017. The bid to host this prestigious event, which is themed Cradle of Creativity - referring to the position of South Africa as the Cradle of Mankind and the Congress as a space for nurturing innovation and creativity in theatre for young audiences - was successfully delivered by Lali Dangezela (Shakexperience), Ismail Mahomed (National Arts Festival and Deputy Chair of ASSITEJ SA) and Rosie Katz (on behalf of the National Arts Council of South Africa).

There was an overwhelming vote of confidence from the countries attending the 18th Congress in Warsaw, Poland, with 151 votes or 96,2% in favour of the South African hosting. The bid was supported by Wesgro, The Conference Company and the National Arts Council. A short film made especially for the bid was shown, and was very well-received by the delegates:

To take advantage of this vital networking opportunity, a lively and highly energised African party was hosted in Warsaw with the support of the Arts & Culture Trust and Nedbank Arts Affinity. The South African Embassy in Warsaw was extremely pro-active and engaged, and Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission, Rasheeda Adam, attended the party and spoke warmly in support of the bid. African delegates from Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia and Angola also spoke in support of the bid coming to South Africa and pledged their involvement in the preparations towards the first African World Congress.

There will be opportunities for South African artists to be part of brainstorming sessions for the World Congress in the coming months, and ASSITEJ invites all members to become involved in ensuring that the legacy is not simply the hosting of a great event, but rather a fundamental transformation of the landscape of theatre for young audiences in South Africa, ensuring a more empathic, engaged and creative society through access to the arts.

Yvette Hardie, Director of Assitej SA, was (for the second term) elected President of the international association with a strong support of 96,8%.

“This will give me opportunities to ensure that South African and African artists are even more strongly represented in the association and that the opportunities that come with working towards the World Congress and Performing Arts Festival are utilised to the benefit of all,” says Yvette. “We have dedicated the next three years to increasing our focus on inclusivity, to ensuring skills development across the association through regional workshops and skills sharing, and to providing more opportunities for emerging artists to engage with the association and with one another through an accelerated Next Generation programme. We are also pro-actively engaging with other international arts’ associations to develop a stronger advocacy voice,” she concludes.

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