ASSITEJ Korea’s yesterday, today and tomorrow
Since our 13th annual winter festival is approaching (4th and 14th of January, 2017) and many of international guests must be busy with adjusting already cramped schedules to squeeze, why don’t we remind all members about impressive development of ASSITEJ Korea.
ASSITEJ Korea opened its door relatively early in 1982 and the very next year it managed to acquire an official membership status. Needless to say, there was a record to cite saying about the existence of children’s plays as well as plays for young audience even before 20th century. However, for early stage, those plays were rather commercialized and one sided as a mere branch of plays for grown-ups. It was 1980s when children’s plays grew in number as well as in quality with more educational or artistic approach and this trend led to the establishment of ASSITEJ Korea.
Since the establishment, we can divide our short history into three periods: the first (1982-1992), the second (1993-2002) and the third stage (2003~ present).
ž The initial period
This was the time for most of Korean people finally awakened after long dark era and became globalized to be part of the world. Not only children’s play, but also most of social sectors grew rapidly to be more systemized. Some of international art festivals started to take place in Seoul and for ASSITEJ Korea, it introduced the first Seoul Childrens’ Play Award to encourage the sector.
ž The second stage (1993-2002)
During the second stage, ASSITEJ Korea expanded dramatically in number of its members and ensured internal stability through vigorous international activities. In 1993, ASSITEJ Korea held its first ever Children’s Play Festival, later on became ASSITEJ Korea Summer International Festival. It was 1999 when the president of ASSITEJ Korea was elected as vice president of ASSITEJ International and finally ASSITEJ Korea hosted ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts festival in 2002.
ž The third stage (2003 ~ present)
ASSITEJ Korea now proudly announces that there are more than 160 members under our umbrella and matching with the volume of the size, its scope of business as well as the quality of performances of members developed in great deal. Once focused on big stages, performances are now turning to much smaller sized theatres or even touring to schools with intention to reach closer to young audience. The style of performances has changed into more interactive way of communication.
The more and more Asian art scape is earning huge attention than ever and it much owes to their peculiar characteristic. Traditionally they have been strongly rooted on the ground with people and always stories were told in mixed form of songs and dances. Performers had been all round artists and entertainers. However once they moved into closed stages, they lost whole their strengths and lives. Now they are coming back with vengeance with more refined western textuality. ASSITEJ Korea is more than happy to support them in various ways through encouraging creative works, coordinate them with international players, helping their international presence, etc. And now hope to see its blooming result in the very near future. Please come and join to our 13th Winter Festival in Seoul.
Eun, Hyechung, ASSITEJ Korea, Interinstitutional Relations Team
ASSITEJ Newsletter N°81, December 2016 에 게재