Posts in articles
'Only the Sky is the Limit: A Swedish Playwright in Cape Town' by Anna Nygren
On the plane back home. There is a safety instruction video showing a men’s football team (it might be Manchester United, I’m not sure, I’m not the least interested in football, or in the bodies of men playing football, so I don’t really find it essential to remember) playing with the safety devices accompanied by a song whose only text (repeated over and over again) is: We are Turkish Airlines. We are globally yours. The flight will take almost twenty-four hours, including a stop in Istanbul. I’m exhausted. It feels like I’m leaving the world. Or like I’m going back to the world. To what I’m used to. It feels like I’ve spent the past week in another sort of reality than what I’m used to. I have a feeling of unreality, I do no longer know what is real.
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'Magnifying Glass and Ear' by Liliana Bardijewska (Poland)

The playwright is a special creative type.

He reacts to the world with hearing and perceives it as a great parlatorium, in which everything is in a state of a permanent dialogue, even with itself, and where all sounds are a communiqué of sorts even if only produced bya squeaky door or dripping water; silence too screams because it is yet another form of dialogue – the dialogue of emotions.

It is insufficient to merely hear such a dialogue. One has to be able to record it and endow it with a theatrical form. What sort? Naturally, a form that is not connected with direction, stage design or music, but with dramaturgy.

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'Baby Maybe' (Barry Kornhauser, USA)
Theater for babies?  Really?  When I first learned of this sub-genre of the TYA field, I responded with the same healthy skepticism I suspect is shared by many theater practitioners, even those, like me, devoted to working for children. That creating plays for preschoolers has been a highly regarded practice across the globe for several decades now seemed as incomprehensible as baby-talk
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'Theater of the Young, For the Young' (Steven Dietz, USA)

Let’s you and I build the perfect audience for our new play.  While we may differ on a few details, I’ll bet that our ideal audience would share some of these traits:

They would be Eager—they’d rush to their seats, they’d want to sit up close, they would not want to leave when it was over.

They would be Engaged—leaning forward, hungry for action and image and story and surprise. They would not sit with their arms folded across their chests.

They would be Open—open to experimentation, to newness, to things they have never seen before in a play.

They would be Demanding—they’d bust us when our play got boring or maudlin or vague or preachy or pretentious.

They would be Vocal—they’d hoot at the good jokes and gasp at the surprising stuff. They’d cheer when it was over, and then ask the hardest and truest questions imaginable.

And they would be Committed—they’d likely want to come back the next day and see the play again.

There’s a name for this ideal audience. They are called kids. If only we got to write for them. How amazing that would be.

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'Writing for Children: Getting past the Gatekeepers' (Cheryl L. West, USA)
"Is it not the job of any playwright writing for children or adults or both to write was is authentic, true, and makes for a compelling dramatic story. Is it not our mandate to write stories that potentially and hopefully ignite passion and ultimately discussion, particularly with our children? Children, I believe, are available and more than ready for lively discussion and engagement. Perhaps it’s us well meaning gatekeepers who, dare I say, create the barriers."
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'At Play in the Fields of TYA' (Elissa Adams, USA)
When I arrived, in 1998, to work at Children’s Theatre Company, the largest children’s theater in the United States, I knew very little about the field of Theater for Young Audiences. I arrived, a nurturer of playwrights and developer of new work, with a head and heart full of playwrights whose work I loved and a hope that, by aligning myself with a large, regional theater helmed by an Artistic Director with a proven track record of producing new plays, I could get the work of the writers I loved produced. This has turned out to be true. In the fifteen years I have been Director of New Play Development, Children’s Theatre Company has commissioned and produced over thirty-five new plays by writers including Nilo Cruz, Kia Corthron, Lisa D’Amour, Melissa James Gibson, Jeffrey Hatcher, Naomi Iizuka, Will Power and Taylor Mac. I have been able to reach out to writers and theater makers whose work thrills me, put money in their pockets and their plays up in gloriously large-scale, professional productions.
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'Chupacabras and Risk in TYA' (Gabriel Jason Dean, USA)

I have an imaginary goat named Valencia who loves Payday candy bars, speaks Spanish, English (and goat) and is terrified of chupacabras. Just in case you don’t know, a chupacabra is a maybe mythical / maybe-not-so mythical creature known for sucking the blood of goats. Yes, a goat vampire. They were one of the discoveries I made at the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices Festival while work-shopping my play The Transition of Doodle Pequeño alongside director, Wendy Bable from People’s Light & Theatre.
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'How Theater for Young People Could Save the World' (Lauren Gunderson, USA)

March 20th is World Theater for Children and Young People Day. Some of you might be thinking, "Oh lord, why do we need a day to celebrate actors being silly, wearing bright colors and singing obnoxiously at squirming kiddos and bored parents?"

But if you think that's what Theatre for Young People is, you're missing out on truly powerful, hilarious, bold, engaging, surprising theater that might just save the world.

Around the world artists are creating a new stripe of Theatre for Young People that combines the elegance of dance, the innovation of devised theater, the freshness of new plays, the magnetism of puppetry and the inciting energy of new musicals. Kids have access to more and more mature theatrical visions premiering from Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center to Atlanta's Synchronicity Theatre to San Francisco's Handful Players to Ireland to Adelaide to Kosovo to Cape Town.

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'Every day, I Go To Work To Play' (Dave Brown, Australia)

Every day I go to work to play. What am I?

I’m a theatre director for Patch Theatre Company in Adelaide, Australia. We create and produce theatre for 4-8 year olds. It’s a good as any job I can imagine.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Patch Theatre productions enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of children in places like Japan, Korea, Singapore, USA, New Zealand, Canada and all over Australia and I’m amazed at how universal children’s responses are to our shows.  If ever anyone questions me on the future of theatre, I invite them to sit in an audience of 4-8 year olds and be amazed! Children respond to good theatre experiences with such immediacy, joy and exuberance, you can’t doubt its power and impact.

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