In August, 14 artists from Victoria, 1 from Western Australia, 1 from Queensland and 1 from New South Wales headed to Beijing to attend the ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering, presenting shows, workshops and speaking on panels for the international audience. It was a strong representation, with all the delegates building on existing relationships and forging new ones as well as contributing to the program. Australia’s Theatre for Young Audiences’ presence in China is strong and has enormous potential. The Victorian delegates were able to source funding from Creative Victoria to assist 4 independent artists with travel and networking costs, and also assistance from City of Melbourne for promotion and contribute towards the networking function. This was a great example of ‘ask and ye shall receive’ and an indication of the awareness of the need for supported engagement in these international opportunities.
Testimonials from the delegates:
Report from Sara Strachan
Sara was part of the ASSITEJ Next Generation program.
Being a Next Generation participant for the 2018 ASSITEJ Artistic gathering was the most complex and enriching experience of my career thus far. The Next Generation program was a residency program with 15 artists from China and 15 artists from across the world who attended activities, talks, shows and workshops together as well as collaborating to make a new work over the course of the week, which was presented on the final day of the Artistic gathering. From 8am to midnight every day I ate, slept, breathed, discussed, watched and critically reflected theatre for young audiences (TYA) and this rigorous experience resulted in me dramatically developing professionally and personally over the span of a week.
Professionally I connected with international peers and gained a better understanding of what TYA looks like in other countries. I had my first experience devising a show with people from other countries, especially china, and working with overcoming language barriers in the rehearsal room. I built new or deeper connections to Australian practitioners that I don’t get the opportunity to connect with and I had the opportunity to meet artists after their shows and engage in conversation with performers, directors and producers from across the world. As a young artist this experience built my confidence in my ability to devise and direct theatre for young audiences and my confidence to engage with other companies to make new work. From this experience I already have meetings set up with companies in Hong Kong, Berlin and Mexico to discuss future collaborations as well as discussions with Australian artists who are developing international cultural artistic exchanges with Chinese artists. –
Report from Jim Lawson
Jim presented a workshop on his playwriting model
The ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering in Beijing August 2018 provided a range of extraordinary opportunities.
As a regional independent artist, to engage globally and offered scope to deliver current practice in an international setting was extremely valuable, enabling the testing of that practice and expanding understanding of that practice.
Making connections in a global network of practitioners meant the shared discovery of artistic and philosophical synergies opened the possibilities for international collaboration and future creative projects – in my case across both Asia and Europe – while opening a dialogue with other Australian artists to partner in those possibilities.
Critically, the ASSITEJ AG18 enabled the Australian sector to unite in a manner that is not currently possible within Australia; to celebrate each other’s work, support each other, and to recognise the value of our work globally and at home.
This kind of meeting strengthens the sector in Australia in a profound manner.
It provokes greater interrogation of what we do and how we do it. It connects us to each other, develops our understanding of our own sector and provides a platform for meaningful and sustained artistic growth within Australia and globally.