Home Formats Articles Focus Day on Theatre by Children for Children – Part 2

Focus Day on Theatre by Children for Children – Part 2

As part of ASSITEJ’s Cradle of Creativity, a Theatre by Children for Children Focus Day was held at the Vrygrond Cultural Hub on Sunday, 21st May, 2017.

What follows is Part 2 of quotes from various sessions throughout the day (click here for Part 1):

Chipo Precious Basopo (Zimbabwe) – Chipawo’s Three Decades of Arts Education Work in Zimbabwe

Chipawo is all about experienced and skilled adults sharing their experiences and skills with children, and children sharing with each other.”

“[We do] not believe in competition, but in nurturing children’s unique talents.”

“[We celebrate] International Mother Language Day, World Theatre Day for Children and Young People – which we have also adapted to be called Chipawo Play Day, Day of the African Children – and we call it Chipawo Day, International Day of the Girl Child and International Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse among other special events.”

“No child is left out in Chipawo, whether rich or poor, able or with physical or mental challenges […] Through its participatory and creative learning process it [Chipawo] aims to ground children in their culture, give them [a sense of] their identity, develop life skills and equip them for their future career.”

“Through its participatory and creative learning process it [Chipawo] aims to ground children in their culture” – Chipo Basopo

The Children of Chipawo

Chipawo’s Arts Education programme provides an alternative to the rather rigid top-down and exam-oriented approach of the normal education system […] Chipawo children are encouraged to explore, challenge, criticise and create freely.”

“What is beautiful or artistic is every child’s happiness or pride in what they can do.”

“What is beautiful or artistic is every child’s happiness or pride in what they can do” – Chipo Basopo

“[Chipawo’s] artistic principles are based on the belief that children and young people need to start with their own culture, value it, get to know it and be able to perform it in a versatile and original way. When they have grounded themselves and attained confidence and belief they are encouraged to take on the other parts of other people’s culture in Africa and, finally, in other parts of the world.”

“Children and young people need to start with their own culture, value it, get to know it and be able to perform it in a versatile and original way” – Chipo Basopo

“Children are the best ambassadors of our own country and Chipawo has maintained the richness of Zimbabwean culture through our activities.”

The Children of Chipawo

Oluwaseun Odukoya (Nigeria) – Theatre by Children: Issues, Prospects, Challenges and Dearth of Child Actors

“Theatre some decades ago in Nigeria was regarded as a profession for those who never do well […] people who were rejected from serious courses of study like Law or Medicine [… Now] this perception has largely changed with the prominence of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry.”

“Theatre some decades ago in Nigeria was regarded as a profession for those who never do well” – Oluwaseun Odukoya

“[Arojah Royal Theatre] grew out of a deep and genuine concern to employ the fullness of the Theatre Arts as a social force.”

“We produce Drama texts under the literature curriculum in schools […] We perform these texts [in schools] in order to introduce the children to theatre, while we are working towards getting Theatre as part of the school curriculum.”

“In Abuja, apart from the dearth of the Child Actors which we’re talking about, there is also a lack of proper Performance Venues […] where you can teach the children what the Theatre is like.”

“The IDP [Internally Displaced Person] camps are, for instance, a place where we use Theatre for Healing & Theatre for Social Change and we believe also that Theatre in Education can help transform the way our children are taught, making them more creative right from when they are young.”

“Theatre in Education can help transform the way our children are taught, making them more creative right from when they are young” – Oluwaseun Odukoya

“When Theatre is employed in their learning, because they do, they are actually able to understand and can put what they have learned into practice.”

“I really wanted to know ‘how do we get theatre into the mainstream?’ […] Someone recommended I start with one school at a time. Because then you can document data and you can share it, share the story.”

“Someone recommended I start with one school at a time. Because then you can document data and you can share it, share the story” – Oluwaseun Odukoya

Anelvi Rivera (Mexico) – Meeting Of Theatre Made By Children

“Since 2004 […] the [Mexican] Ministry of Culture […have set up] the National Meeting of Theatre made by Children […] Throughout these meetings, methodologies have been developed focused on generating creative processes with children, generating spaces of dialogue and [encouraging the] experimentation of Theatre.”

“[This forum has contributed to] the professionalisation of the Theatre Producers and Directors who are specialised in working with children.”

“The participation and creative expression of children through the theatrical language promote them as creators and protagonists of the process.”

“There are many kinds of performances in [our festival]. Our country is divided into 32 states, each one [brought] its own Play. In this way, we have the diversity of the whole country represented by children. There are many topics, from North to South. Migration, drugs, the loss of a friend, to make a big journey to look for parents, pollution, being frightened […] the difference, the Others. […] There are many kinds of topics and many kinds of ways to do Theatre in each place, all around the country.”

“There are many kinds of topics and many kinds of ways to do Theatre in each place, all around the country” – Anelvi Rivera

“[For many children, our projects are] the first time they watch Theatre. They have never seen it [live before] – just in videos.”