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ASSITEJ International Archives


Welcome to the ASSITEJ International Archives

Since its foundation in 1965, the ASSITEJ International (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 this goal from an artistic, humanitarian, and educational perspective. (For more information please see the Mission Statement).

The multifaceted activities of the association are made comprehensible and accessible in the ASSITEJ International’s archives. Numerous documents provide insight into the history and development of the ASSITEJ International, and with it, into the performing arts for young audiences worldwide. The archive is made up of files from the General Secretariat, submissions from the National Centres and their respective theatres, and also various media, such as correspondences, reports, printed matter, theatre programmes, various photographs, and audiovisual material from the early days of the association to the present day. In its entirety, the archives provide an insight into the cross-border politics of the association, sociopolitical developments, and work in performing arts for young audiences around the world. The various materials bear witness to the important funding activities and educational work of the ASSITEJ, and in a sense embody its spirit.

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


Holdings & Collections

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

Theatres and ensembles in divided Germany

The ASSITEJ archive of the BRD, Section West illustrates the development of the children’s and youth theatre scene in a divided Germany from the 1950s onward, with the help of various documents. It includes correspondences, printed materials, literature, photographs, and an archive of significant people from the contemporary children’s and youth theatre scene. This archive therefore provides an important foundation for understanding the development of the performing arts for young audiences in divided Germany. Through the consolidation of KJTZ’s various holdings, the history of the West German ASSITEJ became a manageable part of the association’s archive. The documents are the backbone of the Centre’s reference library, and describe the development of theatre for children and young people in the post-war period in West Germany, as well as the period since German reunification. The two ASSITEJ Centers from East and West Germany merged in 1991.

 

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

Theatres and ensembles in divided Germany

The GDR ASSITEJ archive 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 that existed in a divided Germany. At first, after the merger with the West German ASSITEJ in 1991, the historical archive of the GDR remained in Berlin. In 2021, it was relocated to Frankfurt am Main, where it is currently still being professionally stored in an external depot. In the future, there will be a joint location for the whole collection in Frankfurt am Main, which will be accessible to all interested visitors.

  

The International ASSITEJ archive

The International ASSITEJ archives include documents from the General Secretary, correspondences, printed materials from the committees, documents of the National Centres, and the ASSITEJ International’s poster collection. It provides an overview of the ASSITEJ’s organisational structure, and the ASSITEJ International’s institutional history as a whole.

 

ASSITEJ International Theatre Archive  

The ASSITEJ International Theatre Archive includes printed programmes, promotional materials, flyers, and photos from the ASSITEJ’s National Centres, as well as their respective member theatres. The theatre archive gives an insight into the work in the performing arts for young audiences around the world, and also illuminates the association’s important funding and professional networking activities.

 

ASSITEJ International Project and Personal Archives

The project and personal archives contains annual reports, project documentation, committee and board work, event organisation documents, records on award ceremonies, and documentation on funding activities, as well as papers concerning congresses, meetings, workshops, and festivals. As a result, it reflects the numerous innovative activities and achievements of the ASSITEJ and its members around the globe, and demonstrates the progress of the association since its foundation in 1965. The correspondences and photographs of important ASSITEJ figures who have significantly shaped and characterised the association can also be found here.


History of the International ASSITEJ

1965

Report from the ASSITEJ’S constitutional conference , Paris, 1965.
Paris, France (7th – 9th June, 1965)
ASSITEJ’S constitutional conference

 

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 therefore enormous. Representatives of different countries were meeting at international festivals as early as 1957, in order 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 ASSITEJ International was born.

The constitutional conference in Paris in 1965 was attended by a total of 187 representatives from 26 countries. Together they agreed on the ASSITEJ’s principles and goals, and established the three official languages of the association: French, English and Russian. Important figures 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 were committed to theatre for young audiences, and actively participated in the development of ASSITEJ. In the following years they were honoured as honorary members of the ASSITEJ.

1966

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

Programme for the 1st ASSITEJ World Congress in Prague, 1966.
Prague, Czechoslovakia (26th – 30th May, 1966)
1st ASSITEJ World Congress

The first international ASSITEJ World Congress was held in Prague in 1966, under the motto “Theatre, Children and Youth”. In total, more than 99 delegates from 29 states participated in the event. The congress was opened by Vladimir Adamek (founder of the ASSITEJ National Centre, Czechoslovakia) and the provisional president of the ASSITEJ, Gerald Tyler (Great Britain). It was also here that the first “Executive Committee”, the ASSITEJ’s most important decision-making body, was elected for the next two years. (The term “World Congress” was not used until the 1990 meeting in Stockholm, where it became the standard name for the International Congresses.)

1972
  • Brochure "UNESCO and ASSITEJ", National Commission of UNESCO USA, 1972.
    Albany, New York, USA (18th - 25th June, 1972)
    4th ASSITEJ World Congress

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

 

The 4th ASSITEJ World Congress was divided into two parts, and took place in 1972 in Canada and the USA, under the motto “What is Creative Dramatics”. On this occasion, the brochure “UNESCO and ASSITEJ” was published, depicting the relationship between the two associations. It was the first congress organised outside of Europe. The Congress was opened by the then ASSITEJ President, 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 (19th - 26th April, 1975)
5th ASSITEJ World Congress

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

The 5th ASSITEJ World Congress was held in East Berlin in 1975.  A total of 36 countries, as well as various representatives of international theatre associations, took part. 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 was able to claim a broad variety of achievements, such as international festivals, workshops, publications, seminars, and so on. At the same time, the Cold War divide between Eastern and Western Europe was becoming increasingly noticeable. The ASSITEJ was also impacted by these circumstances. The World Congress in Berlin therefore set itself the goal of further promoting and strengthening 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

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

5th ASSITEJ World Congress

1981

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

 

From 1976 to 1989, the GDR’s ASSITEJ centre organised an annual international directors’ seminar for the performing arts for young audiences. Despite the “Iron Curtain”, this event enabled different directors shaped by different political influences to meet one another, and supported an international exchange for theatre practitioners. ASSITEJ Germany has organised the directors’ seminar since 1990, and it is still held every two years at different member theatres. In 2012, the title of the event changed to DIRECTORS IN TYA – An International Exchange.

1989

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

Frankfurt am Main, Germany (16th February 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

 

The Children’s and Youth Theatre Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany (or KJTZ) was established in 1989, on the initiative of ASSITEJ Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V., by the Federal Youth Ministry. 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 its founding director.

The former GDR ASSITEJ Centre’s “International Office” was instead established as one of the KJTZ’s project offices (Berliner Projektbüro), initially as a department for training and further education, before being used to support young theatre practitioners. Today, the project office also supports the selection process of the plays shown at the biennal AUGENBLICK MAL! theatre festival in Berlin, and is responsible for the on-site organisation of this major event.

1991

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

Berlin, Germany (21st – 27th April, 1991)

1st Kinder- und Jugendtheatertreffen (German Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting) (known as  “AUGENBLICK MAL! Festival” since 1995)

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

Berlin, Germany (21st – 27th April, 1991)

1st Kinder- und Jugendtheatertreffen (German Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting) (known as  “AUGENBLICK MAL! Festival” since 1995)

 

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

Berlin, Germany (21st – 27th April, 1991)

1st Kinder- und Jugendtheatertreffen (German Children’s and Youth Theatre Meeting) (known as  “AUGENBLICK MAL! Festival” since 1995)

 

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

Ensembles from East and West Germany met for the first time. Given the ongoing German reunification process, the newly-founded Children and Young People’s Theatre Centre in the Federal Republic of Germany endeavoured to bring both theatre scenes closer together. Performance venues included the “GRIPS Theater” in former West Berlin, and the “Theater der Freundschaft” in the eastern part of the city.

Since then, the festival has fostered debates and discussions on a national and international level. It functions as the venue for the ASSITEJ Awards, ASSITEJ’s “Next Generation” programme, and the international “Artistic Gathering”, as well as serving as a platform for various training seminars for 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 (10th May, 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 World Association celebrated its 30th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Ann M. Shaw (ASSITEJ USA) wrote the first ever chronicle about the ASSITEJ, giving 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 modernisation of the association, throughout new initiatives and international exchanges. The chronicle was published in the yearbook of ASSITEJ 1996/97.

2002

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

Seoul, South Korea (20th – 26th July, 2002)

14th ASSITEJ World Congress

 

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

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 chronicle in three volumes about the history of the ASSITEJ. The first part was published in 2008, covering the first eleven years since the ASSITEJ was founded. In 2011 and 2014, the other two volumes were published, which cover the time period up until the year 2005. Nat Eek has been an active member since the foundation of ASSITEJ, and held the position of president of the ASSITEJ International between 1972 and 1975. The chronicle begins with the first preparatory meeting in 1957, and traces the development of the ASSITEJ up until the World Congress in Canada in 2005. Throughout the three volumes, Nat Eek documents all the major events and activities of ASSITEJ up to that time, including the individual meetings of the “Executive Committee”, the international congresses, and the various achievements and setbacks of the ASSITEJ International. He also includes his own personal observations. A unique feature of the chronicle is that Eek always considers the development of ASSITEJ in the context of global political events. He discusses, for example, the history of international bloc politics, the wars in Yugoslavia, and the war in Iraq, as well as the influence of these 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 ASSITEJ’s 50th anniversary, 2015. (7:39 min.)

Berlin, Germany (21st – 26th April, 2015)

13th AUGENBLICK MAL! Festival/ ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering

 

The ASSITEJ’s 50th anniversary was celebrated in 2015 during the 13th “AUGENBLICK MAL! Festival” in Berlin. To mark the occasion, the exhibition “MOVEMENTS” was on view at different locations throughout the city. The exhibition stimulated conversations on the history and future of theatre for young audiences. The exhibition on the ASSITEJ’s history was accompanied by discussion sessions, organised by the ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering.

2017

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

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

19th ASSITEJ World Congress / Cradle of Creativity 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 infrastructure. The report uses statistics to provide an overview of how the ASSITEJ World Congress was organised and conducted, as well as feedback on the event.

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 22nd – April 1st, 2021)

20th ASSITEJ World Congress / MIRAI 2020

 

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 20th ASSITEJ World Congress was postponed for one year and could not be held in person. Therefore, the congress and the festival took place virtually. In total, over 1100 visitors from 75 different countries took part in the event. During the crisis, online alternatives were jointly sought to maintain the visibility of theatre for young audiences. For example, the ASSITEJ Online Magazine was launched during the congress. On our website, articles, interviews, photos, and videos are regularly uploaded to give an insight into the ASSITEJ’s international cooperations.

2024

The 21st ASSITEJ World Congress is being 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 a particular performance that you can’t get out of your head? Maybe you’re stuck on a tricky bit of homework, and require help with your research? Or do you simply need some new ideas for the next season? Whatever the reason, we’ll be happy to help.

The Information and Documentation department is available by phone or email for your requests. The collection in Frankfurt am Main can be visited after one has registered, and numerous media and documents are available for viewing. Unfortunately, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) ASSITEJ Archive 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 our virtual reading room. This is hosted on our protected cloud storage, the KJTZBOX. For further information, please refer to our terms of use for the virtual reading room. We recommend the use of our online catalogue in order to carry out digital research or to prepare for your visit.

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

Address:

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

Please note:

We kindly ask that you book your visit in advance, either by calling on 0049 69 29 66 61 or by sending an email to dokumentation@kjtz.de. We offer guided tours through the KJTZ collection in Frankfurt am Main upon request.

Please take note of our accessibility information.


Contact

“Information & Documentation” Department
Research & Consulting
dokumentation@jungespublikum.de
+49 69 296661

Contact

Anne-Sophie Garthe (she/her)
Project management for Information & Digitisation
a.garthe@jungespublikum.de
+49 69 296661

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

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