February 1 we are celebrating our 20th anniversary. ASSITEJ Lithuania, initiated by actress Violeta Podolskaitė, 2001 was founded by the State Youth Theater, Vilnius Theater “LĖLĖ” and VšĮ “Trečias skambutis”. In the same year, we became a full member of the International Organization of Theaters for Children and Youth ASSITEJ, which has been operating since 1965 and unites more than 100 countries around the world. One of the priority activities of ASSITEJ Lithuania is the goal that professional, high artistic quality performances of various genres reach children and youth from 0 to 18 years of age. Therefore, we systematically organize national and international theater for children and youth festivals, seminars and educational projects for young audiences, professionals and educators. According to Violeta Podolskaitė, the long-term president of the association, often only thanks to ASSITEJ Lithuania children and young people get acquainted with the world of theater for the first time and get the opportunity to participate in theatrical activities and develop cultural needs through contact with theater. To celebrate our anniversary, we have developed a diverse program for our twentieth year.
The program has been drawn up taking into account the important dates of the theater for children and youth. The first official event will take place on February 1st the date of registration of ASSITEJ Lithuania, in other words, the date of birth. On this day, the creators, amateurs and spectators of the theater for children and youth, as well as foreign colleagues are invited to join a online meeting, during which Yvette Hardie, President of ASSITEJ International will give a welcome speech. Niclas Malmcrona (Swedish ASSITEJ) and Peter Manscher (Danish ASSITEJ), who encouraged the establishment of the national ASSITEJ center in Lithuania, will also share their memories of the beginning of the establishment of the ASSITEJ Lithuania. The President of the Association Violeta Podolskaitė will review the 20 years of activity, and the Chairman of the Board Birutė Banevičiūtė will present the anniversary publication of ASSITEJ Lithuania and the Manifesto prepared by ASSITEJ International, declaring children’s right to art and participation in art, especially in times of crisis.
Throughout February, videos will be broadcast on the association’s Facebook, telling the story of each 30 members of the association. The next event is scheduled for March 20th the World Theater Day for Children and Youth. Theater critics analyzing theater for children and youth, as well as theater creators, teachers and spectators will be invited to the national conference “Lithuanian Theater for Children and Youth: Between Past and Future”. The conference will be held online, making it accessible to a wide audience.
June 1, the International Children’s Day, will be marked with theater events open to the public in all cities and towns where members of the ASSITEJ Lithuaniaare located: Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Panevėžys, Alytus, Šiauliai, Kelmė, Naisiai and nearby regions.
The most important event of the program is the 6th International Theater Festival for Children and Youth “Jėga / Cool” will take place in Klaipeda and Klaipeda region on October 4-8. We hope that the festival will be able to take place live, but we are also ready for a online version. The festival program includes not only performances for spectators of all ages from infants to teenagers, but also seminars for theater professionals, teachers, creative and educational laboratory ofr youth. A meeting of the Nordic-Baltic ASSITEJ network is also planned during the festival.
The anniversary program will end on November 20, commemorating the day of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with a seminar for theater and dance teachers and organizers of pre-school art activities “Bridges between performing arts and education”. It will analyze possible strategies for closer cooperation between theater institutions and professionals working with children and young people, as well as teachers and educational institutions.
Speaking about ASSITEJ Lithuania future plans, the Chairman of the Board Birutė Banevičiūtė states: “We plan to be very active in the third decade of our activity, expanding ASSITEJ Lithuania visibility both in Lithuania and abroad. By initiating and implementing educational projects, we intend to involve teachers in our activities, cooperate with municipalities, cultural and educational institutions and foreign partners. In our activities, we also expect state support at various levels – from municipalities to ministries and the Seimas. We are already actively involved in providing suggestions for the improvement of various cultural education documents and systems. We will continue to work to implement Articles 13 and 31 of the UNESCO Convention on the Rights of the Child, which declare the right of children and young people to the arts and to participate in artistic activities, especially in times of crisis. “