Reflections from Scenesaver founder, Caroline Friedman on speaking at the ASSITJE World Congress and International Performing Arts Festival for Children and Young People.
The ASSITJE World Congress is a wonderful event and a tremendous opportunity for theatremakers across the world to get together to show their work and network with each other. This year the festival was, of course, held online and Scenesaver was delighted to be invited to speak at the Congress at an event discussing Innovative Responses to Covid.
The past year has seen some truly innovative theatre and in many ways it has re-defined the world of theatre. Everyone agreed that they had been forced to adapt and to adopt technology as a means to keep theatre alive. Delegates from Russia, where theatres are now open, showed the excerpts from the online festival they created to engage with young audiences, from South America there was a new take on a traditional fairy tale- staging it online and combining theatre and site specific settings and incorporating contemporary news themes to add a relevance and resonance for audiences today.
From South Africa there was the seed of an idea in Johannesburg, using story-telling as the medium, and this had grown online into something that was entertaining and far reaching and from South America a performer spoke about his work in playgrounds and showed how he adapted it to interactive online workshops with young children that were both creative and engaging. Nearer to home were the wonderful examples of the diverse and fantastic performances that wowed audiences at the online festival in Belfast.
Theatre is always exciting- it is an opportunity to push boundaries and to venture into the unknown; to take on board new ideas and to run with them. In the past year the theatre world has been doing just that.
It was inspiring to hear at the World Congress how the whole world has been harnessing all its creativity to continue to produce amazing theatre over the past 12 months. In many ways the digital genie is now out of the bottle and there is no going back. Which means now there is the excitement and anticipation of what is going to come next. As we see theatres re-opening across the world, will we return to how it was pre Covid or are we at the start of another innovative stage in the evolution of theatre?