by Joyce Doolittle, Committee for Cooperation with IATA and UNIMA
"In Contemporary Theatre for Young Audiences, it is not uncommon to mix together many different elements. Sometimes actors and puppets are combined. The Mermaid Theatre and Theatre des Pissenlits are both examples of this in my own country, Canada. Sometimes professional and student actors appear together in the same play for public performance: John Donahue's Children's Theatre of Minneapolis, U.S.A., and the new studio theatre of Vyacheslav Spesivtev in Moscow, USSR, are examples of successful theatres of high artistic standard which combine professional actors, students and trained children. When the Executive Committee of ASSITEJ met in Calgary, Canada in May of 1977, they saw a production of ALICE IN WONDERLAND which combined professional actors, singers, dancers and musicians with students and amateurs and included puppets as an integral production element.
Creative dramatics techniques have influenced professional theatre companies working for young people; the Theatre-in-Education (TIE) companies of Great Britain are outstanding examples, but in Denmark and Canada such interaction has led to exciting theatre, too. Theatre de la Marmaille, of Quebec, Canada, does careful research with boys and girls before, during and after each project. Their latest show L'AGE DE PIERRE is a collective creation based on the troupe's improvisation with large pieces of children's playground equipment. The Kaze No Ko company of Japan has once more captivated Canadian audiences with a show in which common household objects such as newspapers and clothes are transformed into birds and beasts, and in which the techniques of the puppeteer are frequently brought into play.
These combinations of the arts and of artists, while occasionally difficult or awkward to classify, often represent the most vital and immediate work being done in our field. The relationship of the student actor, including children with significant theatre training, to public performance and the professional theatre is an area which a continuing committee may wish to investigate."
(ASSITEJ General Secretary | World Congress 6.1978 | ASSITEJ International Archives)
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