Membership news from ASSITEJ Canada and Monica's Dufault's Report on The Directors in TYA Exchange!
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ASSITEJ Canada Summer News

Call for Members

(French version follows)

July 16, 2019

Dear Colleague,

I am writing to you as the Chair of the Membership Committee of ASSITEJ 
Canada. As many of you know over the last couple of years, we have seen 
a new ASSITEJ Canada emerge - a revitalized organization that has worked 
to ensure representation in both the Francophone and Anglophone TYA 
communities. Our organization is united and has a Board of Directors, 
set of by-laws, and a joint leadership positions that represents both 
French and English Canada.

At present all companies that work towards creating or presenting work 
for young audiences and are members of TUEJ, PACT (TYA Caucus), ATFC and 
the Canadian Association of Children’s Festivals are considered members. 
This was the starting point to get the organization up and running, but 
we are now at the beginning of a new phase.

In the near future, all companies that were members of ASSITEJ Canada 
through their affiliation with an association will need to join as 
independent companies if they wish to maintain their membership. You 
will see that we have created a variety of membership categories in an 
effort to ensure a broad range of members. ASSITEJ Canada welcomes 
member companies from all disciplines, academics who study the 
performing arts for young people, independent members who have an 
interest in this sector, and students with an interest in the performing 
arts for young people. In short, a broad base of membership.

In the attached documents you will see that the Board has developed 
membership fees through research and consultation that we believe to be 
fair and manageable for each category.  Click here to review Membership Fees.

As with any organization there is the inevitable question: Why should 
I/we join? That is a fair question. We believe that together we can grow 
ASSITEJ Canada into a vibrant and productive service organization for 
companies and individuals interested in the performing arts for young 
audiences. As a founding Board we see ASSITEJ Canada as being driven 
over the next decade by its members. Yes, we have some exciting ideas 
already but we know there are many more that you, as members, will bring 

In addition to being a vital network for performing arts for young 
audiences in Canada, we also firmly believe that it is extremely 
important for Canada to be a member of the ASSITEJ International. Having 
a strong, healthy ASSITEJ Canada will give members a greater opportunity 
to explore the work that our colleagues are creating around the world 
and to share our own with them as well. ASSITEJ Canada will grow into a 
voice that represents all of the people in the country creating and 
presenting magnificent work for young audiences as we work to increase 
recognition and funding for our sector.

On behalf of the Board of Directors I ask that you or your organization 
become members of the new ASSITEJ Canada. Here is the link to complete 
your membership form:
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me 




Le 16 août 2019

Chers collègues,

Je vous écris en tant que responsable du comité d’adhésion d’ASSITEJ 
Canada. Comme bon nombre d’entre vous le savent, depuis quelques années, 
nous avons vu émerger une nouvelle ASSITEJ Canada, revitalisée, qui se 
consacre à assurer la représentation du théâtre jeune public canadien 
tant francophone qu’anglophone. Notre organisation est unie; elle compte 
sur un conseil d’administration, des règlements généraux et un mode de 
direction aux responsabilités partagées qui représentent bien le Canada 
français et anglais.

À ce jour, tous les organismes qui créent ou présentent des œuvres pour 
les jeunes publics et qui sont membres de TUEJ, de PACT (caucus TYA), de 
l’ATFC ou de l’Association canadienne des festivals pour enfants, 
étaient considérés membre de facto d’ASSITEJ Canada. Ce fut le point de 
départ de la relance de l’organisation. Nous voilà maintenant au début 
d’une nouvelle phase de transformation.

À partir de maintenant, tous les organismes membres d’ASSITEJ Canada 
affiliés aux associations mentionnées précédemment devront adhérer 
individuellement s’ils souhaitent conserver leur statut de membre. Vous 
constaterez que nous avons créé différentes catégories d’adhésion afin 
d’assurer un plus large membrariat.

ASSITEJ Canada accueillera dorénavant des organismes de toutes les 
disciplines des arts de la scène pour les jeunes publics, des 
universitaires qui étudient ce secteur, des membres individuels qui y 
travaillent et des étudiants qui s’y intéressent. Bref, nous visons une 
grande diversité de membres.

Dans les documents ci-joints, vous constaterez que le conseil 
d’administration a établi, à partir de recherches et de consultations, 
pour chaque catégorie de membres, des frais d’adhésion qu’il juge 
équitables et gérables. Cliquez ici pour consulter les frais d'adhésion.

Comme dans toute organisation, la question suivante est inévitable : 
pourquoi devrais-je devenir membre? C’est une question pertinente. Nous 
croyons qu’ensemble, nous pouvons faire d’ASSITEJ Canada un organisme de 
services dynamique et efficace destiné aux organisations et aux 
personnes intéressés par les arts de la scène destinés au jeune public. 
En tant que conseil d’administration fondateur de cette nouvelle ASSITEJ 
Canada, nous avons la vision d’une ASSITEJ Canada qui sera dorénavant 
dirigée par ses membres. Bien sûr, nous avons déjà des idées 
emballantes, mais nous savons que les membres en auront aussi 
d’excellentes à proposer.

En plus de compter sur un réseau vital pour les arts de la scène 
destinés aux jeunes publics au Canada, nous sommes également convaincus 
qu’il est extrêmement important que le Canada soit un membre actif de 
l’ASSITEJ International. Une ASSITEJ Canada forte et en santé donnera 
aux membres plus d’opportunités de découvrir et d’explorer le travail de 
nos collègues du monde entier et de partager avec eux ce que nous 
réalisons chez nous. ASSITEJ Canada deviendra une voix pour représenter 
toutes les personnes du pays qui créent et présentent de magnifiques 
oeuvres pour les jeunes publics et elle travaillera activement à 
accroître la reconnaissance et le financement de notre secteur.

Au nom du conseil d’administration, je vous demande, à vous ou à votre 
organisation, de devenir membre de la nouvelle ASSITEJ Canada. Voici le 
lien pour compléter votre formulaire d’adhésion:

Si vous avez d’autres questions, n’hésitez pas à communiquer avec moi à 
l’adresse suivante :



DIRECTORS IN TYA – An International Exchange – June 2-9, 2019 at Theater STRAHL Berlin, Germany

Report by Canadian Participant Monica Dufault | Artistic Director, Carousel Players, St. Catharines, ON

I arrived in Berlin on Sunday, June 2 wondering what to expect from this Exchange. I knew only that there would be 30 participating directors from all over the world, and that we would be meeting for dinner that evening to begin our time together.

We gathered in the courtyard of our host company Theater STRAHL on this warm June evening and began to get to know each other. Even on this first night, conversations immediately led to questions about the kind of work that each of us engages in, the ideas that interest us, and the challenges we face in making theatre in our home countries. At once I was struck by a double realization – that there is a wide variety of forms that theatre for young audiences can take all over the world; and that all of these international directors of TYA seem to begin from very similar considerations as they make their work.

The next day we assembled in the lobby of Theater STRAHL to introduce ourselves more formally. The theme of the 2019 Exchange was “Walls”, and we were each asked to bring an item from the wall of our home or office as a way of introduction. As we went around the circle this simple exercise allowed us to learn about each person, what is important to them, and what impressions of walls we all carry with us.

The structure of the Exchange was very open. Each day began with a warmup led by one of the participants. There was no planning; someone would spontaneously offer to lead. Often these were held in the open air and provided further insight into the working methods of theatre makers around the world. A highlight for me was the warmup led by Ingvild Lien from Norway. She has worked extensively with the UK company Frantic Assembly and her high energy exercises drew from their methodology. Focusing on rhythm and group movement, this is certainly a kind of ensemble building exercise that I would use with large groups of actors in the future.

For the focused workshop time of the Exchange, we were placed into three groups of ten, and each of these groups had seven workshop sessions over the course of the week. Other than the theme of “Walls”, the content of these workshops was entirely up to the interests of the group members. The group that I worked with was a diverse collection of directors whose focuses ranged widely: object theatre, movement based theatre for young adults, puppetry and mask work, text based theatre and even opera. Our discussions about theatre making, political and social concerns in our home countries, and the concepts of walls and borders were fascinating and impassioned. We each proposed exercises and activities that responded to the theme of “Walls” and allowed us to experience different approaches to theatre making. At times there was some frustration as we negotiated how ten directors, accustomed to making decisions on our own, would find our way collectively, without any actors to direct. There was lots of humour in the work, and generosity of spirit between the participants. 

One memorable part of the workshop time was a session on object theatre, led collaboratively by Choiti Ghosh from India, and Nwabisa Plaatjie from South Africa. They led us through an exploration of paper as an object of theatrical expression, leading to moments of intriguing stage images created by the participants. This approach to the use of objects in theatre was new to me and a fascinating way of working; definitely something I plan to explore further in my own work.

The workshops culminated at the end of the week in a sharing session with the entire cohort. Each group found its own way of sharing their explorations. One involved climbing an actual wall in the courtyard outside of our workspace, something that only became possible with the collaboration of many people. Another took the shape of a choreographed interaction with live digital participation by performers and audience on cell phones. Another was an extension of a workshop discussion that continued to explore the underlying search for form that every theatre project undergoes. There was a great deal to take away from this large group sharing, but I think my time working in the smaller group over the 20 hours we had together will stay with me for the rest of my life. I am inspired to know that each of us is going back to work in our home communities, carrying the experience of our time together into our future artistic works.

This was a jam-packed week of activity, wonderfully organized by Theater STRAHL and ASSITEJ Germany. In addition to our workshop time, we explored the city as a group, including a tour of the Berlin Wall Memorial and a river cruise of the city (ironically, the only time it rained).

We saw also five performances by Berlin companies:

  • Future Beats by Theater o.N. – a performance for babies with live music and dance
  • Three Billion Sisters at Volksbuhne Theater – an adaptation of Chekov with youth actors and orchestra
  • The Gap in the Construction Fence by Grips Theater – a revival of a play from the company’s early works
  • #BerlinBerlin by Theater STRAHL – a new production exploring one family’s experience of the Berlin wall
  • The Party – rehearsal of a puppet play, performed by upper year students of the state puppetry school

These performances were fantastic examples of TYA work currently being produced in Germany. The productions also gave the participants of the Exchange specific points of reference for more detailed interrogations of theatrical approaches. We engaged in two large group discussions about the shows we saw as a way of digesting and better understanding the pieces. It was extremely valuable to hear the perspectives of all of the theatre makers present, and to situate the works we saw into a global context. 

One other unique opportunity that was provided for the participants was a visit to the municipal seat of government. There we had a guided tour of the buildings, and were welcomed by the President of the Berlin House of Representatives. Each director had the opportunity to make a short presentation about their work to a group of ASSITEJ Germany officials, members of the House of Representatives and other participants. This was an illuminating way to learn more about everyone’s work and for me personally to have a platform in front of an international audience to talk about the TYA work happening in Canada.

With our very full schedule of activities, and all meals and accommodations taken care of, the subtle beauty of this Exchange was that each participant had the time, and space, to truly focus on directing. As the group traveled from one event to another, or took our meals together, conversations naturally sprang up, so that we were constantly learning more and more about each other’s work.

All too soon, the week came to an end, and it was time to say good bye to the new colleagues I had met. Although I may not get to meet with this unique group again, I am encouraged to know about the many artists creating theatre for young audiences around the world. I now have contacts in TYA on every continent. I will be curious to follow all of their work in the coming years, and I hope to find ways to leverage the contacts I made into opportunities for international collaboration.


Click HERE to read the latest ASSITEJ International Newsletter



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