The Association of Theaters for children and youth ASSITEJ was established in Lithuania in February 2001. On July it became a full right member of the International Association of Theater for Children and Young People ASSITEJ (Association International du Theatre puor l’Enfance et la Jeunesse, established on1965). Currently the organization includes more than 80 countries from all around the world.
The ASSITEJ seeks to enrich children and youth with theater performances, and to raise theater for children and youth to a higher level by uniting professional theaters and artists. A spiritual education by using arts is sought to be recognized as a children right.
Lithuanian ASSITEJ currently unites 33 theater institutions, independent troupes, and individual artists from all over the country. The president of the Association is Violeta Podolskaitė, who runs ASSITEJ together with a board, which is elected for 5 years term.
The members of the Lithuanian ASSITEJ seek theater to be not only a form of entertainment but also to pursue educational mission.
We want to communicate with our young audiences and to establish a dialogue with them, and so to help them to find a way in today’s problematic reality. Thus the members of the Association try to create mobile performances, and to play them in non-traditional spaces.
However, it is not enough to have a good will to achieve these goals. In order to develop educational performances, a support and help from the state is needed. Thus ASSITEJ tries to spotlight the importance of the theater for children and youth, and to keep a contact with a government, politicians, and sponsors. We believe that theater can reach our new generation more quickly and effectively thus it has to become a prioritized area in cultural policies.
Well known people who contribute to development of theater for children and youth are granted with ASSITEJ honorary status. Currently, the following people have been granted: puppeteer Vitalijus Mazūras, founder of the Lithuanian professional puppet theater Stasys Ratkevičius, businessman Aleksandras Abišala, writer Violeta Palčinskaitė, businessman Remigijus Laugalys, ambassador of Ireland to Lithuania David Noonan and his wife Cliodhna Noonan, actress, founder of theater studio „Elementorius“ Valerija Marcinkevičiūtė-Karalienė.
To support its mission and vision, Lithuanian ASSITEJ organizes national and international professional theater festivals for children and youth, as well as celebrates International Children Theater Day (20th of March) and International Children Defense Day (1st of June). ASSITEJ also organizes seminars, workshops for professional artists and educators, participate in international professional festivals, and other events.
Every three years the Lithuanian ASSITEJ attend congresses organized by the international ASSITEJ.
Theater plays an influential role in shaping young people by demonstrating them spiritual values, artistic perception, by showing them ways of spending leisure time, and by teaching children how to solve social problems. Therefore, the most important aspect of Lithuanian ASSITEJ`s mission is to enrich and develop children’s and young people`s spiritual world with the help of theater art, and to introduce professional performances to the worldwide theater community.
To make theater for children and youth a priority of the State cultural policy;
To gather professional theater artists to work on high quality, up-to-date, mobile performances for youth.
To ensure that children in the most remote towns of the country would get a chance to see a professional theater performance at least once a year;
To help Children`s and Youth theater artists to present their work to public audiences by advertising them through various media channels, introducing them to the international community by organizing festivals, seminars, and laboratories;
To give an opportunity to theater artists to get introduced to the newest international performances, work methodology, and accomplishments;
To develop and train national dramaturgy, and young artists.
To support its mission and vision, Lithuanian ASSITEJ organizes seminars, workshops, theater laboratories, and other events.