The 19th ASSITEJ World Congress & Cradle of Creativity Festival in Cape Town was a stunning success for our large Belgian delegation! Stef De Paepe (Beeldsmederij De Maan) took part in a seminar of the ITYARN conference. Compagnie Barbarie lead a workshop for children on an educational and artistic project on all things strange! Karel Van Ransbeeck, Nicolas Ankoudinoff (De Spiegel) and Gaëtane Reginster (Théâtre de la Guimbarde) held a talk on the Focus Day Theatre for Early Years. Three Belgian productions were part of the festival programme: Moi, Monsieur, Moi! (Compagnie de la Casquette), US/THEM (BRONKS) and Caban ZA (De Spiegel). The German and Nigerian coproduction OBISIKE: It Takes A Lion’s Heart also has a Belgian flavour to it with its director Gregory Caers (Nevski Prospekt / Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf). With over 60 productions from all over the world, our delegates enjoyed a diverse festival and attended many interesting shows, including quite a bit of South African ones.
ASSITEJ Belgium voted on the World Congress, the formal meeting of all ASSITEJ members taking place every three years. Here the business of the organization is reported upon, constitutional changes are made, strategies are suggested and approved for the next three year period, and the leadership of the association is elected by its membership. Yvette Hardie (ZA) was re-elected as president, Louis Valente (DK) is the new secretary general. The ASSITEJ Artistic Gatherings for the next 3 year period will take place in China (2018), Norway (2019) and Japan (2020).
The icing on the cake was Johan De Smet (Kopergietery) taking home the prestigious ASSITEJ Award for Artistic Excellence! This award is given every three years for noteworthy achievement in the field of theatre for children and young people, and is the most prestigious award given by ASSITEJ International. Congratulations, Johan!
Other important visitors of the Congress were Flemish Minister for Culture and Youth Sven Gatz and Flemish General Representative of Southern Africa Geraldine Reymenants, along with a journalist from De Morgen and a VRT television crew. They reported at the successful Flemish networking reception. You can see the news item here.