by Dr. Ilse Rodenberg, President of ASSITEJ, given at the VIIIth International Congress of ASSITEJ in Moscow, USSR on 20. September 1984
"(…) Dear friends, I believe that this Congress is particularly significant – firstly for historical reasons. The country which is the birthplace of our professional children's theatres and which bore witness to the founding of ASSITEJ nearly 20 years ago has welcomed us back today. It was here in the Soviet Union, shortly after the 1917 October Revolution, that instructions were given for the founding of professional children's theatres. Today, not only can such theatres be found all over the world but also alongside them their paternal international organization, ASSITEJ, which is committed to the same humane causes.
It is impossible to speak of children's theatre without mentioning two names, one of which is Alexander A. Bryantsev, who has left us his works and the theatre for children and youth named after him. We are, however, lucky to have in our midst an actual eye-witness, Natalya Satz, whose whole life has been connected with work in the professional children's theatre. She recently received tribute from her country on the occasion of her 80th birthday. As yet, we regret to say, ASSITEJ has no such award for Natalya Satz who was to be the first to receive an honor of this kind.
Let us leave history now and turn to the present.
Our work can only flourish in peace. It seems to me to be no coincidence that at this critical and troubled time our Congress is taking place in the country whose first message to the world in 1917 was the call for peace.
We feel ourselves committed to preserving peace in the world. We need peace for sake of art and of our young audiences as well as for ourselves. This is why the will for peace is the guiding force of our theatre work. (…)"
(Nat Eek: History of ASSITEJ. Vol. II Expanding the New Audience for Theatre (1976-1990) with Ann M. Shaw und Katherine Krzys. Santa Fe: Sunstone Press 2011, 356)
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