ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People) was founded on the premise that theatrical art is a universal expression of mankind possessing the influence and power to link large groups of the people together in the service of peace. The association also puts a lot of emphasis on the role theatre can play in the education of younger generations.
ASSITEJ is an autonomous international theatrical network established in 1965. It consists of thousands of institutions, theatrical groups and artists concerned with children’s and young people’s theatre, spread across more than 80 countries around the world.
Members of the Association include national centers representing theatre for children and young people in their respective countries. There are now more than 80 national ASSITEJ centers around the world, among which the Lebanese center.
ASSITEJ - Lebanon (Lebanese center of ASSITEJ)
In 2005, ASSITEJ International decided to collaborate with KHAYAL in order to establish a national center for the association in Lebanon.
Today, ASSITEJ - Lebanon works to develop the cultural value of children’s theatre in the country through holding international exchange activities, training young artists and supporting qualified creations by young artists.
The association aims to facilitate the development of theatre for children and young people at the highest artistic levels.
Recognizing that children and young people make up a large part of the world’s population and that children and young people are the future of the world, the goals of the association are:
-To work for the rights of children and young people to artistic experiences specially designed and created for them
-To secure recognition and acknowledgement of theatre for children and young people
-To improve the conditions for theatre for children and young people all over the world
-To improve the common knowledge of theatre for children and young people worldwide, thus drawing the attention of international and national authorities to the importance of taking children and young people and the work created for them seriously
-To give people working with theatre for children and young people the possibility of getting acquainted with the work of colleagues from other countries and cultures, thus enabling them to enrich that art form in their own country
-To help establish ASSITEJ centers in all countries, functioning in accordance with the mission, constitution and policies of the association and gathering all theatres, organizations and people interested in theatre for children and young people
ASSITEJ seeks to achieve its objectives through:
-Organizing, promoting and participating in national, regional and international congresses, conferences, festivals, study tours, exhibitions and other activities
-Promoting contact and interchange of experience between all countries
-Encouraging the translation and exchange of plays, texts and other literature pertaining to theatre for children and young people
-Collecting material and documentation on theatre for children and young people
-Promoting theatre for children and young people through the press, film, radio, television, recording, the internet, etc.
-Cooperating with other international organizations sharing similar interests
-Introducing and supporting proposals made by national centers in order to advance the work of theatre for children and young people to appropriate national and international authorities and agencies
Until now Khayal through Assitej – Lebanon has held the following activities:
Support Program for Young Artists
In Lebanon, as in many other Arab countries, children’s theatre is often characterized by superficiality, moral preaching or a commercial structure that lacks meaningful content. For this reason, KHAYAL launched the Support Program for Young Artists through ASSITEJ - Lebanon, aiming to support the production of committed and creative children’s theatre works in Lebanon so as to encourage young artists to invest themselves in this field.
The first project within this program took place in 2010, with the production of the play “The Red Balloon” by young director Fouad Yammine.
Puppets in Caravan 2009
In 2009, ASSITEJ - Lebanon organized a touring festival of puppet and children’s theatre throughout Lebanese regions in collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, the French Cultural Mission and the Goethe Institute.
International Festival of Theatre for Children and Young Pople (Amman - 2006)
In 2006, ASSITEJ - Lebanon participated in the organization of an encounter, workshop and festival of Arab and Scandinavian national ASSITEJ centers in Amman (Jordan). Children’s theatre plays from Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Sweden, Denmark and Finland participated in the festival with 4 artists from each country who participated in the workshop and exchange session. Lebanon had a marked participation in the festival and workshop (Lebanese participants included: Nehme Nehme, Roy Deeb, Waed Chebel, Soline Daccash and Karim Dakroub), contributing to an in-depth approach to the topics treated and the experimentation. The Lebanese Puppet Theatre also participated with its play, “1001 Roses”.
The event was hosted by the Performing Arts Center of the “King Hussein Foundation” (ASSITEJ - Jordan) in collaboration with ASSITEJ International and was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Cultural and Development Center of Denmark (DCCD), the Swedish institute and ASSITEJ - Denmark.