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ASSITEJ International Archives


Welcome to the ASSITEJ International Archives

Since its foundation in 1965, the International ASSITEJ (in French: Association Internationale du Théâtre pour l’Enfance et la Jeunesse, in English: International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People) has been supporting und funding theatre for young audiences worldwide. The ASSITEJ pursues artistic, humanitarian andeducational aspects (link to the Mission Statement).

The multifaceted activities of the association are made comprehensible and accessible in the archives of the International ASSITEJ. Numerous documents provide insights of the history and development of the International ASSITEJ and, with it, of the performing arts for young audiences worldwide. The archives consist of files of the General Secretariat, submissions of the National Centers and their respective theatres, and include various media: correspondence, reports, printed materials, theatre programs, photographs and audiovisual material from the early days of the association to the present day can be discovered here. In its entirety, the archives provide an insight into the cross-border politics of the association, socio-political developments and the work of the performing arts for young audiences around the world. The various materials document the important funding activities and educational work of the ASSITEJ and form its cultural memory.

Since 1990, the ASSITEJ International Archives have been located in the Children and Young People’s Theatre Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany in Frankfurt am Main and are maintained by the department “Information and Documentation”.


Holdings & Collections

 Archive of the ASSITEJ of the Federal Republic of Germany (BRD), Section West

Theatres and ensembles in divided Germany

The archive of the ASSITEJ of the BRD, Section West illustrates the lines of development of the children’s and youth theatre scene in divided Germany from the 1950s onwards on the basis of various documents. It includes correspondence, printed materials, literature, photographs, and an archive of significant people from the children’s and youth theatre scene of that time. Therefore this archive forms an important basis for tracing the development of the performing arts for young audiences in divided Germany. With the consolidation of various holdings in the Children and Young People’s Theatre Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany, the history of the West German ASSITEJ got a clear and comprehensible structure as an archive of the association. The documents form a basic stock of the Center’s reference library and describe the development of theatre for children and young people since the post-war period in West Germany and the reunification of BRD and GRD. The two ASSITEJ Centers of East and West Germany merged in 1991.

 

 Archive of the ASSITEJ of the German Democratic Republic (GDR)

Theatres and ensembles in divided Germany

The ASSITEJ archive of the GDR maps the unique development of performing arts for young audiences in the GDR and provides insight into the diverse children’s and youth theatre scenes in divided Germany. After the merger with the West German ASSITEJ in 1991, the historical archive of the GDR initially remained in Berlin. Since 2021 it has also been located in Frankfurt am Main and is currently still professionally housed in an external depot. In the future, there will be a joint location in Frankfurt am Main, where the collection will be accessible to all interested visitors.

  

Archive of the International ASSITEJ

The archives of the International ASSITEJ include submissions of the General Secretary, correspondence, printed materials of the committees, documents of the National Centers as well as the poster collection of the International ASSITEJ. It provides an overview of the organizational structure of the ASSITEJ and the institutional history of the International ASSITEJ as a whole.

 

International Theatre Archive of the ASSITEJ

The International Theatre Archive of ASSITEJ includes printed programs, promotional materials, flyers and photos of the National Centres of ASSITEJ and their respective member theatres. The theatre archive provides an impression of the work of the performing arts for young audiences around the world and also illustrates the association’s important funding and professional networking activities.

 

Project and Persons Archives of the International ASSITEJ

The project and persons archives contains annual reports, documents on project documentation, committee and board work, event management, award ceremonies and funding activities, as well as documents on congresses, meetings, workshops and festivals. It thus reflects the numerous innovative activities and achievements of the ASSITEJ and its round about 100 members around the globe and depicts the progress of the association since its foundation in 1965. In addition, there are also correspondence and photographs of important personalities of the ASSITEJ, who have significantly shaped the world organisation.


History of the International ASSITEJ

1965

Report of the constitutional conference of the ASSITEJ, Paris, 1965.
Paris, France (June 7 – 9, 1965)
Constitutional conference of the ASSITEJ

 

The 1960s were marked by the impact of World War II as well as the political division caused by the Cold War. The desire to educate young people politically, historically and culturally through theatre was accordingly great. Already in 1957, representatives of different countries met at international festivals to promote the idea of founding an international organisation. In May 1964, the provisional “Union Internationale du Théâtre pour l’Enfance et la Jeunesse” was proclaimed in London. The following year, the International ASSITEJ was born.

The constitutional conference in Paris in 1965 was attended by a total of 187 representatives from 26 countries. Together they agreed on principles and goals of the ASSITEJ and established the 3 official languages of association: French, English and Russian. Important personalities during the early days of ASSITEJ included Konstantin Vladimir Adamek (Czechoslovakia), Leon Chancerel (France), Rose Marie Moudouès (France), Ilse Rodenberg (GDR), Konstantin Shakh-Azizov (USSR), and Gerald Tyler (Great Britain). All of them have committed themselves to theatre for young audiences and have actively participated in the development of ASSITEJ. In the following years they were honoured as honorary members of the ASSITEJ.

1966

Program for the 1. World Congress of ASSITEJ in Prague, 1966.
Prague, Czechoslovakia (May 26 - 30, 1966)
1. ASSITEJ World Congress

Program for the 1. World Congress of ASSITEJ in Prague, 1966.
Prague, Czechoslovakia (May 26 – 30, 1966)
1. ASSITEJ World Congress

The first international World Congress of ASSITEJ was held in Prague in 1966 under the motto “Theatre, Children and Youth”. In total, over 99 delegates from 29 states participated in the event. The congress was opened by Valdimir Adamek (founder of the National Centre of ASSITEJ Czechoslovakia) and the provisional president of the ASSITEJ Gerald Tyler (Great Britain). Here also the first “Executive Committee”, the most important decision-making body of the ASSITEJ, was elected for the next two years. (The term “World Congress” did not originate until 1990 at the Stockholm meeting and is subsequently used for the International Congresses.)

1972
  • Broschüre „UNESCO and ASSITEJ“, Nationale Kommission der UNESCO USA, 1972.
    Albany, New York, USA (18. – 25. Juni 1972)
    4. Weltkongresses der ASSITEJ

Brochure “UNESCO and ASSITEJ”, National Commission of UNESCO USA, 1972.
Albany, New York, USA (June 18 – 25, 1972)
4. ASSITEJ World Congress

 

The 4th World Congress of ASSITEJ was divided into two parts and took place in 1972 under the motto “What is Creative Dramatics” in Canada and the USA. On this occasion, the brochure “UNESCO and ASSITEJ” was published, depicting the relationship between the two associations. It was the first congress organized outside Europe. The Congress was opened by the then President of ASSITEJ Konstantin Shakh-Azizov (USSR). At the Congress, Nat Eek (USA) was appointed as Shakh-Azizov’s successor. In total, over 500 representatives from 25 nations attended the congress. The official invitation made it possible for many representatives from Eastern European countries to enter the USA for the first time.

1975

Photograph of the opening of the 5th World Congress in East Berlin, 1975.
Berlin, GDR (April 19 - 26, 1975)
5. ASSITEJ World Congress

Photograph of the opening of the 5th World Congress in East Berlin, 1975.
Berlin, GDR (April 19 – 26, 1975)
5. ASSITEJ World Congress

The 5th World Congress of ASSITEJ was held in East Berlin in 1975. Overall, 36 countries and various delegates of international theatre associations participated. This year’s focus was on “Professional actors and school. ” The ASSITEJ also celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.

At this point the world organisation is able to claim a broad variety of achievements such as international festivals, workshops, publications, seminars, etc. At the same time, the separation between East and West Europe due to the Cold Wari ncreased the tensions in the international cooperation. The ASSITEJ was also influenced by these circumstances. The World Congress in Berlin therefore set the goal of further improving and strengthening the communication and cooperation between the member countries.

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

  • Programmheft zum 5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ (dt./frz./rus.), 1975.
    Berlin, DDR (19. - 26. April 1975)
    5. Weltkongress der ASSITEJ

Program for the 5. ASSITEJ World Congress (German/French/Russian), 1975.
Berlin, GDR (April 19 – 26, 1975)

5. ASSITEJ World Congress

1981

Report on the International Directors’ Seminar, conducted by the National Centre of the GDR, 1981.
Berlin, GDR (November 11, 1981)
6. International Directors’ Seminar on “Problems of Directing at Children’s and Youth Theatre”

 

From 1976 to 1989, the ASSITEJ centre of the GDR organized an annual international directors’ seminar for the performing arts for young audiences. Despite the “Iron Curtain”, this event enabled encounters between directors shaped by different political influences and it supported an international exchange for theatre practitioners. Since 1990, the directors’ seminar has been organized by ASSITEJ Germany and is still held every two years by varying members of the organisation and their locations. In 2012 the title of the event changed to DIRECTORS IN TYA – An International Exchange.

1989

Order of the Children and Young People’s Theatre Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany published on February 16,  1989.

Frankfurt am Main, Germany (February 16, 1989)

Foundation of the Children and Young People’s Theatre Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany (in German: Kinder- und Jugendtheaterzentrum in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

 

In 1989 the Children’s and Youth Theatre Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany was established by the Federal Ministry for Youth on the initiative of ASSITEJ Germany. At the inaugural meeting of the board of trustees, Jürgen Flügge (Chairman of ASSITEJ Germany) was elected the first chairman of the KJTZ and Wolfgang Schneider was appointed as founding director of the KJTZ.

The former “International Office” of the ASSITEJ Centre of the GDR was established as a project office (Berliner Projektbüro) of the Children and Young People’s Theatre Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany, initially as a departement for training and further education, now for the promotion of young theatre practioniers. Today the project office also supports the selection process of the plays shown by the biennal theatre festival AUGENBLICK MAL! in Berlin and is responsible for the on-location organisation of this major event.

1991

Poster of the 1. Kinder- und Jugendtheatertreffen (1. Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting) in Berlin, Germany, 1991.

Berlin, Germany (April 21-27, 1991)

1. Kinder- und Jugendtheatertreffen (1. German Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting) (since 1995 under the title “AUGENBLICK MAL! Festival”)

Photograph of the 1. Kinder- und Jugendtheatertreffen (1. Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting) in Berlin, Germany, 1991 © Sigrun Janiel.

Berlin, Germany (April 21-27, 1991)

1. Kinder- und Jugendtheatertreffen (1. German Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting) (since 1995 under the title “AUGENBLICK MAL! Festival”)

Program of the 1. Kinder- und Jugendtheatertreffen (1. Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting) in Berlin, Germany, 1991.

Berlin, Germany ( April 21 – 27, 1991)

1. Kinder- und Jugendtheatertreffen (1. German Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting) (since 1995 under the title “AUGENBLICK MAL! Festival”)

The 1. Deutsche Kinder- und Jugendtheatertreffen (1. German Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting) took place in Berlin in 1991 under the patronage of then Federal President Richard von Weizäcker.

Ensembles from East and West Germany met for the first time. In view of the German-German reunification process, the newly founded Children and Young People’s Theatre Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany tried to support the drawing-closer of the two theatre scenes. Performance venues included the “GRIPS Theater” in the area of former West Berlin and the “Theater der Freundschaft” in the eastern part of the city.

Since then, the festival has brought together national and international discourses. It is regularly the venue for the ASSITEJ Awards, ASSITEJ’s “Next Generation” programme, the international “Artistic Gathering” and various training seminars for the Goethe-Institut staff from all over the world.

1995

„The Formation of ASSITEJ“ by Ann M. Shaw, ASSITEJ Annual 1996/97. Yearbook of Theatre for Children and Young People, 1996.

One Theatre World Symposium (ASSITEJ USA), Seattle Children´s Theatre, Seattle, Washington, USA (Mai 10, 1995)

30th Anniversary of ASSITEJ International

 

The ASSITEJ Executive Committee met in 1995 during the One Theatre World Symposium in Seattle, USA. At the same time, the 30th anniversary of the World Association was celebrated there. To mark the occassion Ann M. Shaw (ASSITEJ USA) wrote the first chronicle about the ASSITEJ. It gives an insight into the development of the ASSITEJ International between 1965 and 1995. The chronicle describes the difficult period during the Cold War up to the modernization of the association throughout new initiatives and international exchanges. The chronicle was published in the yearbook of ASSITEJ 1996/97.

2002

Poster of the 14. ASSITEJ World Congress in Seoul, 2002.

Seoul, South Korea (July 20-26, 2002)

14. ASSITEJ World Congress

 

In July 2002, the 14. ASSITEJ World Congress was held in Seoul under the theme “Why and How to Mix Tradition and Technology”. This is the first World Congress to be held in Asia. With over 700 representatives from abroad and 300 from Korea, it was the largest world congress to date. More than 30 performances from Argentina, China, Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Spain and Sweden were shown at the ASSITEJ World Congress.

2008

Discovering a New Audience for Theatre. The History of ASSITEJ Vol. I (1964-1975), Nat Eek, Sunstone Press, New Mexico, 2008.

In 2002, Nat Eek (ASSITEJ USA) began writing a 3-volumed chronicle of the history of ASSITEJ. The first part was published in 2008, covering the first 11 years since the ASSITEJ was founded. In 2011 and 2014 the last two volumes were published, which cover the time period til the year 2005. Nat Eek has been an active member since the foundation of ASSITEJ. From 1972 to 1975 he held the position of president of the International ASSITEJ. The chronicle begins with the first preparatory meeting in 1957 and traces the development of the ASSITEJ up to the World Congress in Canada in 2005. Nat Eek documents in the 3 volumes all the major events and activities of ASSITEJ up to that time: the individual meetings of the “Executive Committee”, the international congresses, the achievements and setbacks of the ASSITEJ International as well as personal observations by the author. A peculiarity of the chronicle is that Eek always places the development of ASSITEJ in correlation to international political events. He also discusses, for example, the history of international bloc politics, the wars in Yugoslavia, the war in Iraq and the influence of particular political events on the work of the ASSITEJ International.

Expanding the New Audience for Theatre. The History of ASSITEJ Vol. II (1976-1990), Nat Eek, Sunstone Press, New Mexico, 2011.

Maintaining the New Audience for Theatre, The History of ASSITEJ Vol. III (1991-2005), Nat Eek, Sunstone Press, New Mexico, 2014.

 

2015

Video with messages from various ASSITEJ representatives on the 50th anniversary of ASSITEJ, 2015. (7:39 min. )

Berlin, Germany (April 21 – 26, 2015)

13. AUGENBLICK MAL! Festival/ ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering

 

The 50th anniversary of ASSITEJ was celebrated in 2015 during the 13th “AUGENBLICK MAL! Festival” in Berlin. On this occasion, the exhibition“MOVEMENTS” was on view at different locations in Berlin. The exhibition provided impulses to discuss the history and future of theatre for young audiences. The exhibition on the history of ASSITEJ was accompanied by discurse formats of the ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering.

2017

Report on the 19th ASSITEJ World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, 2017.

Cape Town, South Africa (17 – 27 May 2017)

19. ASSITEJ World Congress /Cradle ofCreativity Performing Arts Festival

The 19th ASSITEJ World Congress was held in Cape Town, South Africa in 2017. It was the first international congress to be held in an African country. The theme was “One Step Beyond: Intercultural Exchange”. Among other things, the focus was on providing insights into theatre for young audiences from Africa and on strengthening cooperation and infrastructures. The report uses statistics to provide an overview of the organisation, implementation and feedback on the ASSITEJ World Congress in South Africa.

2020

The ASSITEJ Magazine Online – In Search of New Ways to the International Young Audience (assitejonline.org)

 

Bibu ASSITEJ. Leave no one behind. The Online ASSITEJ Magazine.

Tokyo/Nagano, Japan (March 22 – April 1, 2021)

20. ASSITEJ World Congress / MIRAI 2020

 

Due to the global Corona pandemic, the 20th ASSITEJ World Congress was postponed for one year and could not be held in attendance. Therefore, the congress and the festival took place virtually. In total, over 1100 visitors from 75 different countries took part in the event. In times of crisis, we searched together for digital alternatives to keep the ongoing work of and for theatre for young audiences alive and visible. For example, the ASSITEJ Online Magazine was launched during the congress. On the website, articles, interviews, photos and videos are regularly uploaded to give an insight into the international cooperation of ASSITEJ.

2024

The 21. ASSITEJ World Congress is held in Cuba.


Further reading

Eek, Nat: Discovering a New Audience for Theatre. The History of ASSITEJ Vol. I (1964-1975), Sunstone Press: New Mexico 2008.

Eek, Nat: Expanding the New Audience for Theatre. The History of ASSITEJ Vol. II (1976-1990), Sunstone Press: New Mexico 2011.

Eek, Nat: Maintaining the New Audience for Theatre, The History of ASSITEJ Vol. III (1991-2005), Sunstone Press, New Mexico 2014.

Schneider, Wolfgang: ASSITEJ Annual 1996/97. Yearbook of Theatre for Children and Young People, Frankfurt (Main): ASSITEJ 1997.

Schneider, Wolfgang: ASSITEJ Annual 1998/99. Yearbook of Theatre for Children and Young People, Frankfurt (Main): ASSITEJ 1999.

Schneider, Wolfgang: ASSITEJ Annual 2000/2001. Yearbook of Theatre for Children and Young People, Frankfurt (Main): ASSITEJ 2000.

Schneider, Wolfgang (publ. for ASSITEJ BRD): Theatre for the World´s Children and Young People. Yearbook of Theatre for Children and Young People. ASSITEJ Annual 2002/2003, Frankfurt (Main): ASSITEJ 2003.

Schneider, Wolfgang/ Mack, Tony (publ. for ASSITEJ): ): Theatre for the World´s Children and Young People. The ASSITEJ Book 2004/2005, ASSITEJ: 2005.

Schneider, Wolfgang Mack, Tony (publ.): ASSITEJ Book 2006/2007. Next Generation in Theatre for Children and Young People, Zagreb: ASSITEJ International / ASSITEJ Croatia 2007.

Wolfgang Schneider/Ivica Šimic (publ.): The ASSITEJ Book 2008/2009. Theater Festivals. Celebration of Cultural Diversity, Zagreb: ASSITEJ International/ ASSITEJ Croatia 2009.


Research & Consulting

Perhaps you are looking for a certain play or information about this one theatre performance that’s  just stuck in your mind? Maybe you’re doing a tricky homework and need some help with your research? Or are you simply looking for some new ideas and inspiration for the next season? Then we’ll be happy to help.

The department Information and Documentation is available by phone or e-mail for your consultation and research requests. Upon prior registration, the collection in Frankfurt am Main can be visited and numerous media and documents can be viewed. Unfortunately, the Archive of the Children’s and Youth Theatre of the GDR is currently not accessible to visitors. Please note our terms of use for visiting the collection.

We are happy to provide the required media and documents digitally via virtual reading room. This is our protected cloud storage, the KJTZBOX. For further information, please refer to our terms of use for the virtual reading room. For digital research or preparation of your visit, were commend the use of our online catalogue.

Link to the Online Catalogue

Terms of Use - Virtual Reading Room

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Terms of Use - Visiting the Collection

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Visitor Information

Adress:

Kinder- und Jugendtheaterzentrum in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Ground floor
Schützenstraße 12
60311 Frankfurt am Main

Please note:

We kindly ask you to book your visit in advance by phone at 0049 69 29 66 61 or by e-mail at dokumentation@kjtz.de. Upon request, we offer guided tours through the collection of the Children and Young People’s Theatre Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany in Frankfurt am Main.

Please note our information on accessibility.


Contact

Department “Information & Documentation”
Research & Consulting
dokumentation@kjtz.de
0049 69 296661

Contact

Anne-Sophie Garthe (she/her)
Project management Information & Digitization
a.garthe@kjtz.de
0049 69 296661

Please feel free to use our contact form for your questions and suggestions.

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