Kijimuna Festa and the 1st ASSITEJ International Meeting, from 28 July to 8 August 2012 Okinawa (Japan)

President of ASSITEJ Croatia Romano Bogdan participated as a delegate at the 1st ASSITEJ International Meeting in Okinawa. Croatia was also represented by Ivica Šimić as General Secretary of ASSITEJ International, and Vitomira Lončar as the producer of ASSITEJ’s international coproduction project Patchwork Family which performed its play Superhero at the Festival.

The meeting was held in the framework of Kijimuna Festa, one of the biggest festivals of theater for children and young people in Asia.

Theater-related topics were discussed on seven symposiums, and Ivica Šimić was one of the panelists at the symposium entitled “The Role of Theater for Children and Young People in Peace Building”.

Numerous sessions, panel discussions, formal and informal talks on the position of theater for children and young people in different countries took place at the meeting. This was an opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas on how to shape theater for children and young people.  We would like to thank the ASSITEJ Executive Committee for its professional engagement that ensured excellent and expertly moderated discussions. Many interesting and inspiring thoughts have been shared, while the hosts from Okinawa led by head organizer Hisashi Shimoyama spared no effort to ensure that everyone had fond memories of the days spent at the Festival. We thank him most sincerely, as well as everyone who made this festival possible, especially numerous volunteers who demonstrated, through their work, that theater for children and young people was exceptionally important as well as deserving of public attention.


At the end of the Meeting, the following Okinawa Declaration was adopted:


The Okinawa Declaration for the Future of Theater for Children and Young People 

We have boarded one boat all together for 9 days from July 28th to August 5th of 2012 here in Okinawa City in order to confirm the present and to light the future of theater for children and young people.

   In this place we have discovered that colleagues from all over the world are doing outstanding artistic works for children, and we have enjoyed these along with children.

   In this place we have thought together about ‘how theater for children and young people of tomorrow should be’ and ‘what we should do for it today’.

   And in this place we have learned that outstanding theatrical arts are effective in healing the human diseases and wounds that we call ‘war’ and ‘disaster’.

We have been able to confirm the subtitle of the festival, “theater is medicine for life”, with the body, mind and heart.

Today we declare:

“Theater is absolutely medicine for life; therefore, all the children in the world must experience the wonder of theater, and grow in and through theater. And we shall keep making efforts until the day we have accomplished this.

            August 5th, 2012 – All the participants of the 1st ASSITEJ International Meeting



Important contacts with other national ASSITEJs have been made. ASSITEJ Croatia proposed that a network of national ASSITEJs from EU member states be founded. This gave rise to the idea to bring national centers from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia (from Europe) and Australia together in joint work on a coproduction dance performance which would be first performed in Australia in early 2014, followed by premieres in European partner countries.

The Austrian ASSITEJ agreed to make a guest appearance and present their national center at the ASSITEJ Croatia Meeting in Čakovec this year, and national centers from Poland and Romania agreed to present their centers at the meetings in 2013 and 2014.

Using promotional materials, our national center presented the work of the theater for children and young people in Croatia at the Art Market, which was held within the framework of the Meeting.

About a hundred performances by theaters from all continents were presented at the Kijimuna Festa festival, and Croatia was represented by the Mala Scena Theater from Zagreb with the play Baukač.



President of ASSITEJ Croatia:

Romano Bogdan