National conference “Lithuanian theater for children and youth: between past and future”


March 20 the world performing arts community, which creates performances for young audiences, commemorates International Theater Day for Children and Youth. Welcoming the occasion, Sue Giles, President of ASSITEJ International, invites children to take them to the theater and reminds adults of their responsibility to make theater and performing arts accessible to children and young people, especially in times of crisis. This means that the right of children and young people to arts, culture and freedom of expression is guaranteed. The Association of Theaters for Children and Youth ASITEŽAS, which is celebrating its 21st year of operation this year, contributes to an international initiative to raise and analyze issues relevant to the performing arts for young audiences. Therefore on 18 March at 17.00 ASITEŽAS is organizing the second national conference “Lithuanian Theater for Children and Youth: Between Past and Future”, which will take place online.

The conference program will present the presentations and discussions of the members of the association during the open call of ASITEŽO. The conference will be opened by Violeta Podolskaitė, President of the Association. This will follow with the presentation of  Doctor of Social Sciences, Artistic Director and Choreographer of the Dansema Dance Theater Dr. Birutė Banevičiūtė about the inclusive performing arts for children. “No Shoes” theater director Ieva Jackevičiūtė will examine the specifics of sound creation in performances for children under five, puppeteer and “Piglet Icarus Theater” director Nijolė Mazūrienė will raise the question about the need for fairy tales in the theater for children. Theater teacher-expert Rasa Ercmonienė-Varnė will analyze the problems of children’s theater in the virtual reality of education. In the discussions, we will raise questions about the impact of war and crises on children and the arts, their need and meaning, and their forms and content. We will also talk about the functioning and attitudes of the arts community from a political perspective when there is a need to accept one side or the other of a political or military conflict. The conference will be moderated by Saulė Degutytė, Artistic Director and Director of the Table Theater, Member of the Board.

The program of the conference was created before the beginning of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, so until then ASITEŽAS focused on increasing the accessibility of performing arts to Lithuanian children and youth. The military invasion, the destruction of the activities of the Ukrainian cultural community and the present, are killing Ukrainian children and leaving the living without a safe routine, let alone participation in arts and culture. The Association of Theaters for Children and Youth ASITEŽAS took the initiative and invited its members, who are currently 31, to take part in the campaign and invite the families of Ukrainian refugees to watch their performances free of charge. When showing that they carry out such activities, theaters add an ASITEŽO badge to their information material, which draws attention to this possibility. Individual members of ASITEŽO receive representatives of the Ukrainian theater, take care of their accommodation and employment, as well as other necessary support.

We believe in the strength of the Ukrainian nation and in the solidarity of the world in defeating the evil of the Russian war, and we contribute to supporting Ukraine through our work. Therefore, we invite you to join the ASITEŽO conference, express your insights, share experiences, raise questions and support the National Center of the Theater and Children’s Association of Ukraine

Conference program

15.00-15.15 Opening of the conference and welcome speech Violeta Podolskaitė (President of ASITEŽAS)

15.15-15.30 “Inclusive Performing Arts for Children and Youth” dr. Birutė Banevičiūtė (choreographer, educator, LMTA, Dance Theater Dance)

15.30-15.45 “Specifics of sound fabric creation in performances for children under five” Ieva Jackevičiūtė (director, No shoes theater)

15.45-16.00 “Is there a need for a fairy tale in the theater?” Nijolė Bižanaitė-Mazūrienė (actress, Piglet Icarus Puppet Theater)

16.00-16.15 “Theater for Children and Youth: Education in Virtual Reality” Rasa Ercmonienė-Varnė (theater teacher-expert, Vilnius Tuskulėnai Gymnasium)

16.15-17.00 Discussions

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The conference is moderated by Saulė Degutytė (director “Table Theater”)

The conference is funded by Vilnius City Municipality

Partners: Alytus City Theater, Kaunas City Chamber Theater, Labaiteatras, No Shoes Theater, Table Theater, Dansema Dance Theater