First Day at the ITYARN Conference

Delegates unpack Theatre for Young Audiences, and the impact it can have on society.

The first day of the ITYARN (International Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network) Conference, held in Cape Town’s City Hall, brought together delegates from the Cradle of Creativity who were interested in sharing and learning about research and practice.

Speakers and Artists showcased their work on Theatre for Young Audiences, detailing both past and current research and projects. Participants, no matter where in the world they were from, forged a commonality with others as they discussed the daily realities and challenges of their jobs.

From aesthetic practices to research methodologies, the Conference brought to the fore a range of perspectives on themes such as citizenship, democracy, diversity, hierarchy, and disability. Seminars were held on topics such as supporting and strengthening social cohesion among communities, negotiating personal identities and educating Young People on the meaning of democratic citizenship.

Ms Claire Mason, Ms Aracelia Guerrero, and Professor Merete Elnan

During a discussion on Transformation and Citizenship, Ms Aracelia Guerrero stated that, “Theatre should, above all, guarantee freedom.” Creating theatre, especially theatre which aims to be transformative in some way, should not profess to be neutral. Guerrero argues that theatre, as a medium, can be utilised as “a political path for social struggle” – a means of fighting for hope.

“Being in this field, doing what you do, you are already changing the situation.” – Anonymous PARTICIPANT on achieving equality and democracy

Myrto has experience of working both as a Primary School Teacher and as a Theatre Artist. Bringing these two interests together, she now works as an Applied Theatre Practitioner within Drama Education contexts. As a founding member of theatre group, PAZL, she designs and facilitates process drama projects for children and young people. A member of the Hellenic Theatre/Drama and Education Network, she has worked on several Applied Theatre projects, including performance making projects with community groups and projects with Roma children in Educational settings.