About the Conference



The title of the 19th ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival is the ‘Cradle of Creativity’, based in Africa for the first time in ASSITEJ history. Welcoming everyone back to their autochthonous home, the Cradle of Creativity will profile Africa’s best in theatre for children and youth, alongside performances from other continents.

ASSITEJ was first created because of a desire for intercultural collaboration during the period of the cold war. In the 21st century, this desire for collaboration across borders, languages, ethnicities and personal histories seems more urgent than ever. There is a critical need to address a common international trend that has seen the dehumanization of youth through different forms of identity oppression and cultural devaluation within a context of extremism and conflict across the globe. Theatre for and by young audiences could play a significant role in helping restore dignity, respect and self-worth among young people. The conference seeks to provide a platform for theatre researchers and artists to unravel the tension embedded in a theatre of “universal values” and a theatre that encapsulates “cultural heritage.” Is it possible for a contemporary theatre for youth to enhance cultural literacy, dexterity and a deep respect for the “other ’?   How apt then that the 2017 World Congress is being held in South Africa: A country where this tension between ‘universality’ and ‘diversity’ is celebrated and explored through theatre.

For this reason, the over-arching theme of the ITYARN conference will be:

“Cradle of Creativity: Examining intercultural exchange and diversity in theatre for young audiences in Africa and the world"



The International Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network (ITYARN) in association with the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Drama for Life, based at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), invite you to attend their two day conference! 

Aside from the ITYARN Conference, the ASSITEJ World Congress and Festival also includes focus-days on which additional seminars, symposia, workshops, readings and other events can take place.  Theatre pieces relating to these foci are also available as part of the broader festival of theatre for young audiences.