“We understand and promote the notion that while children need to be guided, they also have an entrenched right to be whatever they want to be and that they can achieve this only if they are given the space to dream and live out their dreams.” – Nelson Mandela, 2003


And what better way for children to be given the space to dream and to live out their dreams, than through theatre…? The International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ) is dedicated to ensuring that every child everywhere is able to encounter opportunities for dreaming through the live performing arts.

ASSITEJ South Africa will host the ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival in Cape Town, South Africa from 17 – 27 May 2017. 

This will be the first ASSITEJ World Congress to be held on the African continent since the inception of ASSITEJ in 1965. The event will be conceptualised not only as a South African event, but also as a truly African one, focusing on what the continent has to offer in terms of theatre for young audiences. As Africa is the cradle of humankind, so this Congress will be a "cradle of creativity" for ASSITEJ, and for theatre for young audiences on the continent and across the world.

The Congress will support a programme of activities, building inter-continental collaborations to ensure that the field of theatre for young audiences as a whole grows in diversity, creativity and audience appeal across the continent.

Given that approximately 43% of the population on the African continent are under the age of 15, the future of theatre in Africa IS theatre for young audiences.


Presented at venues across the city including Artscape, Baxter, Cape Town City Hall, and township theatres  to inspire future generations through the creativity of the performing arts.

What's happening?

• 60 Top live theatre, dance and music productions selected from all over the world, with at least half from South Africa and Africa. These captivating productions are specifically aimed at children and youth from 0 – 19 years old.

• Next Generation residency program for young theatre professionals, generating intercultural collaborations.

• 4-Day Congress of ASSITEJ’s General Assembly with representatives from 100+ countries.

• 2-Day International Research Conference: “Theatre for Young Audiences in Africa & the World”. 

• 150 Diverse workshops, presentations & discussions. 

What's the impact?

• Establishment of SA as Africa’s leader in theatre for young audiences.

• Increase in touring opportunities for SA and international artists & productions.

• Stimulation of an ongoing, dynamic relationship between teachers and theatre makers, with educational materials linked to curricula.

• Development of an enabling environment for youth organisations & youth development, particularly in the most disadvantaged communities.

• Recognition of global artistic excellence and groundbreaking research through the ASSITEJ Awards. 

• Strengthening of local & international partnerships for continued collaboration.

Who's attending?

• 10000+ Children & young people experiencing the performances.

• 7500+ Family members, teachers & theatre practitioners.

• 1000 Delegates from over 100 countries including artists, producers, researchers, industry leaders.

• 100+ Kindergartens, schools & youth groups directly engaged in the programs.