The World ASSITEJ Congress is the most important meeting of all the members of the ASSITEJ Association of Theatre for Children and Young People which is held every three years. The purpose of these meetings is to analyse and set international directions for educating young audiences through theatre. This is experience exchange by playwrights, authors, actors, masters, psychologists, theatre experts. ASSITEJ World Association gathers members from 75 countries from all over the world. Events taking place during the Congress include a number of discussions, seminars, plenary meetings related to the field of theatre for young viewers and a special edition of the 2014 KORCZAK Festival of Theatres for Children and Young People. Out of 500 theatrical production nominees the viewers in Poland could see the best 50 chosen by the Art Council. For the first time in its history the Congress was held in Warsaw, Poland. This was one of the biggest congress events of this type in Poland in 2014. The 18th ASSITEJ World Congress and the special edition of the KORCZAK Festival were organised under the auspices of Mrs Anna Komorowska, the wife of Poland’s President. The project was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and Warsaw Town Hall. Warsaw’s Zbigniew Raszewski Theatrical Institute co-organized the project.
KORCZAK 2014 and ASSITEJ Congress are not only theatrical performances – they are, first of all, a platform for exchanging experiences, views and skills. During the event the audience saw both performances of non-professional theatres and innovative projects of professional artists. Additional attractions included exhibitions: “100 YEARS – ONE HUNDRED DOLLS: History of Hungarian Doll-Making 1850-1950”, „Dendrofonia” (virtual tree revived by sounds), “There are no children – there are people. Human rights start with children’s rights” and “85 years of Baj Theatre in Warsaw”.
During 9 days of the Festival event the Warsaw’s Palace of Science and Culture and the area in front of it hosted a special CHILD ZONE – a place of performances, exhibitions, meetings with pedagogues and psychologists, film shows and outdoor plays. A huge white cocoon in front of the Palace main entrance held inside hundreds of colourful bricks used for a number of purposes coming from children’s imagination.
An important element of the festival was a benefit performance of Halina Machulska, an actress, pedagogue, director – the founder of the Theatrical Centre for children and young people and the School of Acting of Halina and Jan Machulski, operating within the Polish Center ASSITEJ, which educated many Polish actors.
Another event that gained great attention of the Festival guests was the Seminar of the Ombudsman for Children, Mr Marek Michalak, and the play called “You have the right to your rights” performed, as part of the seminar, by the Łejery Theatre from Poznań.