“Forward to the live theater!” for the third year in a row ASSITEJ Lithuania invites children and young people. The idea of this national campaign to mark International Children’s Day was born during the pandemic period, when quarantine requirements were temporarily reduced and events were allowed to be held in open spaces. Then in 2021, during the campaign, more than ten free events of various content and form were presented to spectators from 0 to 18 years old. This year, ASSITEJ Lithuania continues the tradition and free of charge drama, puppet, musical, dance performances, creative and educational activities, theater excursions and laboratories will be held in five regions of Lithuania. This campaign is part of the long-term project “Dissemination of ASSITEJ Lithuania activities in Lithuania and abroad”, which is financed by the Vilnius City Municipality.
Consistently pursuing the main goal of its activities, that professional and high-quality performances of various genres reach children and youth throughout Lithuania, this year ASSITEJ Lithuania has already implemented several events that ensure the dissemination of professional performing arts to young audiences. On 20th March online national conference “Lithuanian performing arts for children and youth: between past and future” was organized, where the creators of theater for children and youth ASSITEJ Lithuania members Violeta Podolskaitė, Saulė Degutytė, Justas Tertelis, theater manager Rūta Malaškevičienė and theater sholar dr. Goda Dapsytė gave presentations of various urgent issues. On 24-29th April the 7th International Theater for Children and Youth ASSITEJ Lithuania Festival “Jėga/COOL!” was held in Alytus, the program of which included 16 performances from Lithuanian theaters, as well as performances from Ukraine, Sakartvel, Austria, Croatia and Cyprus. On 1st June the ASSITEJ Lithuania campaign “Forward to the live theater!” meaningfully continues ASSITEJ Lithuania activity program in Lithuania.
This year, eleven members of ASSITEJ Lithuania are participating in the campaign, who will present their events in five Lithuanian cities and towns. Alytus City Theater will show the play “Peace of Mushrooms” for children aged 4-10 (directed by Andra Kavaliauskaitė) at its home. The Kaunas State Puppet Theater will invite you to the educational program “What’s hiding behind the curtain of the puppet theater” for children from 4 years old, and the Baltic Circus in Kaunas invites families to a circus excursion, performance and education for children from 3 years old. The Kaunas City Chamber Theater organizes education – a drama laboratory “If I were a character or an author” for teenagers aged 12-16. The Panevėžys Puppet Carriage Theater will invite to the performance for children from 3 years old “Stable, goat and rattle” (dir. Antanas Markuckis), and Panevėžys Theater “Menas” – to its latest musical movement performance “Home” for children 0-3 years old (dir. Ieva Jackevičiūtė). The Naisiai Summer Theater joined the campaign this year with the musical play “The Tale of Apples and Other Apple Tree Residents” for children aged 8-12 (directed by Vaida Kavaliauskaitė), which will be shown at the Naisiai Summer Theater and Community Culture Palace.
In Vilnius, events will be held in several places, as this is where the majority of ASSITEJ Lithuania members gather. Vilnius theater “LĖLĖ” will show the performance “Rabbit Uprising” (dir. Rimas Driežis) for children from 4 years old and will conduct the education “Veltas teatras” for children from 7 years old, the musical ethnological act “Stork’s gift” for the whole family in the Vilnius crew of the Lithuanian army’s Karininkai Ramovė “Stalo teatras” (dir. Saulė Degutytė), Dansema Dance Theater will show “Colourful Games” a dance performance for 0-3 years children (chor. Birutė Banevičiūtė) for children at the Caritas Mother and Child House of the Vilnius Archdiocese for free. An extensive program of a completely new genre will be presented by Menų spaustuvė and will invite children and youth aged 7-18 to the contemporary circus educational workshops led by contemporary circus artists Džiugas Kunsmanas, Izabelė Kuzelytė and Kasparas Bujanauskas.
“This campaign initiated by ASSITEJ Lithuania, which invites children and young people to meet live with professional performing arts and artists, is important not only because it draws the public’s attention to the importance of art in a young person’s life, but also because it is often only thanks to ASSITEJ Lithuania that children and young people for the first time get acquainted with the world of theater and other performing arts and get the opportunity to participate in artistic activities, develop cultural needs and gain cultural competences”, says the long-term president of ASSITEJ Lithuania, Violeta Podolskaitė. Birutė Banevičiūtė, the chair of the board of the association, points out that the consistent and continuous activity of ASSITEJ Lithuania in cooperation with social, educational and cultural institutions, and the community of art pedagogues, is changing towards positive direction the still prevailing public negative attitude towards arts and the necessity of artistic expression for every young person.
“We do not set the goal that every child who visits the theater will become an artist. It is important for us to create a high-quality and responsible cultural environment and to give every spectator the opportunity to experience artistic experiences that by themselves act and transform human spiritual structures, in other words, develop and shape personal values and cultural needs” – the message is conveyed by the ASSITEJ Lithuania Board, the organizer of the campaign, which consists of Birutė Banevičiūtė (Dansema Dance Theater), Saulė Degutytė (Table Theater), Jurga Knyvienė (Kaunas City Chamber Theater), Inesa Pilvelytė (Alytus City Theater), Raimondas Klezys (No Shoes Theater) and the association secretary Agnė Sunklodaitė (“Labaiteatras”).