Today is World Day of Theatre for Children, celebrated and promoted by ASSITEJ International through the message ‘Take a Child to the Theatre Today’. The world is a sober, uncertain place at the moment, and visiting a theatre or cultural institution is just not possible for so many of us. Our Artistic Director Sue Giles AM, Vice President of ASSITEJ International, penned a note to mark the day:
“Every year we celebrate World Day of Theatre for Children with the ‘Take a Child to the Theatre Today’ campaign. Well that’s not going to happen… not on March 20, 2020. But right now, all over the world, people are creating different ways to engage and entertain children who might be stuck at home and not allowed to gather in theatres and festivals or at performance of any kind. Videos of theatre shows, people reading books or creating music, showing children how to make and create, doing play readings, providing puzzles, interesting news, audio stories, the list goes on. Theatre makers creating imaginative ways for children to be drawn into fantasy, fun and delight. In Australia we’re doing the same – collecting resources and videos to share, encouraging creativity at home and simple ways to transform a moment or a lounge room. In this strange and disturbing time, children’s resilience and sense of hope needs to be fostered in any way we can.
But the premise of the ‘Take a Child to the Theatre Today’ campaign remains the same – children do not have access to these resources unless the adults around them make it possible. We are the gatekeepers of the child’s involvement – the enablers! And when this all blows over, theatre for young audiences will be there, to draw our youngest and most vulnerable back into joyful shared experience, without fear.”
Yvette Hardie is the President of ASSITEJ – read her World Day of Theatre for Children message here.
Photograph: Alvin Ho, courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay