On March 20th, every year since 2001, the World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People has been celebrated all over the world by the international community of theatre practitioners for children and young people.
World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People was started by the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ) whose goal is to promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in theatre in order to increase co-operation and to deepen mutual understanding between all persons involved in the performing arts for young audiences. The USA Center for the organization is Theatre for Young Audiences/USA, often known as TYA/USA. Activities commemorating the day will be taking place all over the world and a special message will be released on the day from a prominent artist.
The international message for the day was presented and verbalised by children who simply articulated the importance and functions of theatre in the following slogans: “Theatre brings people together. Theatre is a family experience. Theatre is life and encourages activity. Theatre will boost the child’s literacy. Theatre is an excellent means of creating empathy. Theatre teaches children about human motivation and psychology. Theatre connect the head to the heart. Theatre for children fires their imagination. Theatre exposes children to tales of other people, cultures and historical events.”
ASSITEJ has published some thoughts about theatre by prominent African thespians. One such is that South Africa’s John Kani who said: “Theatre is a key to the door into your own imagination. From the day I promised myself that I will one day be on the stage telling all the stories that my grandmother used to tell us every night before we went to sleep. Taking a child to the theatre is a gift that empowers the child to be heard. It makes the child believe that he or she has a story to tell one day.”