Svenska ASSITEJ - ASSITEJ Sweden

From idea to action

March 2014 - May 2015
Mozambique, South Africa, Sweden, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

1. The project

We believe that we, through international collaboration, can move performing art for children and young people forward in the world around us as well as in our own country. Through sharing international views we can better see our own possibilities and difficulties. By international exchange we can contribute to the understanding of cultural and social differences.
The project will work with the following elements to strengthen and support artists in/with:
- Networking as a source of capacity-building, strengthening of regional networks
- Providing a support base for future artistic endeavours
- Sustaining the work, fundraising and support gathering
- Empowering female directors
- Enhancing production structures
- Understanding the audience
- Developing approaches to making work for these audiences

The project emphasizes the work by professional theatre artists since we believe they have to be empowered and their skills have to be developed. By doing that we are able to pass knowledge and experience of performing arts to children and young people.

In this project we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and the plays/productions that will be created in the project will based on the convention.

The Convention says that every child has:
The right to a childhood (including protection from harm)
The right to be educated (including all girls and boys completing primary school)
The right to be healthy (including having clean water, nutritious food and medical care)
The right to be treated fairly (including changing laws and practices that are unfair on children)
The right to be heard (including considering children's views)

These rights will be taken as themes for the project, and for the five productions created.

2. Main activities

1. A workshop on writing/devising a play for children and youth. The workshop initiated the creation of writing plays and was the starting point for the project. The participants took part in the Bibu-biennial, which allowed them to meet Swedish and international artists to get a glimpse of the Swedish performing arts for children thus expanding the international network. May 2014, Sweden.

2. The production of 5 new plays, one in each participating country, all directed by female directors. August 2014 – April 2015, one play produced in each country.

3. A planning meeting was held in Harare in October 2014 with three of the project coordinators. Meetings were held with the National Arts Council, L D K Dokor, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, the Swedish and Zambian embassies. Venues, hotels and theatres were checked for future use during the last activity. A meeting was also held with the Executive Director of Harare International Festival of the Arts, Maria Wilson, to discuss the matter of incorporating the five project productions within the festival program of the festival in April 2015.

4. A workshop for evaluation, discussion and presentation of all produced plays. The intention was to present five new plays to all participants, to festival audience and to a general audience and to discuss and evaluate the presented plays in the purpose of developing the individual work of the participants. The productions were part of the official HIFA (Harare Inernational Festival of the Arts) program, allowing the participants to meet African and international artists, to interact with other artists and thus expanding the international network for the participants.

3. Expected Results

The project emphasized the work by professional theatre practitioners, the project have empowered these professionals and their skills have been developed. The project allowed networking between artists from Sweden and four African countries for the purposes of cultural exchange.
We wanted to deal with the lack of capacity building and networking opportunities for African artists on one hand, and on the other hand address the need of Swedish artists to open up to non European cultures and include a multicultural dimension in their plays for children and young audience.
Through the different project activities we adressed the goals set up for the project. Altogehter 46 professional artists from four African countries and Sweden worked together and ”at home” to raise their capactities and skills, the project gave them possibility to network, exchange ideas and share experiences at two festivals, one in Sweden,, and one in Zimbabwe, Harare International Festival of the Arts.