by Michael Fitzgerald, Director ASSITEJ Australia
"As in many other countries, the history of professional theatre for children and young people in Australia begins after 1945. From simple and few beginnings, the movement has escalated until today there are some twenty-one full time professional theatre-in-education companies and ten youth theatre companies across the country. As well as most other theatre companies perform at least one piece of children's theatre each year (whereas previously there were none) and some, especially regional and community theatres, give much attention to productions, workshops and other allied activities for children and young people.
The impetus for this development has come from a small but distinguished group of people who have been the pioneers over especially the last two decades. The contributors to this issue of the ASSITEJ Quarterly include many of those people. While each article is a particular case, they form a compilation of the many and varied achievements over the years. They represent successful models, constructive, critical and creative thinking and examples of problem-solving, as well as adaption to the changing needs and likes of the audience. Each one has served as an example and model for similar groups; those who have written them remain as remarkable people whose influence has been strong and powerful.
This indeed sums up the Australian experience - a vigorous, energetic and creative theatre made up of highly individual and talented groups and people whose sum efforts make the interesting whole. The holding of the 1987 ASSITEJ Congress allows the opportunity for the world to see a cross-section of Australian theatre for children and young people, "warts and all!” The articles in this publication set the background for this Australian experience."
(TC & Y, April 1987)
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