Baby Space

Representatives of ASSITEJ in Support to Development of TEY in Japan

The interest for the Theatre for Early Years audiences has been constantly growing in the last two decades. TEY is a huge inviting open space with endless opportunities for new art forms, which makes this field so challenging for artists. With direct contact between artists and audiences as the core value of TEY practices, this field offers the possibility to further explore and experiment with combining most diverse art expressions, genres, styles, poetics, aesthetics, use of the new technology and new media. On the other hand, as a benefit, early theatrical experience receives quite clear and ongoing support in scientific research results, which offers us relevant evidence and support in advocacy for the entire field of TYA.

Although the theatre for babies started its first considerable steps in economically well situated  countries of Western Europe, where its continuous and remarkable development is the most visible, the theatre practices in TEY are rapidly growing in the significant number of countries throughout the world as well. One of them, which is particularly interested in this field, is Japan. JIENKYO (Japan Union of Theatres for Children and Young People) has created the program "Human resource training / learn the baby drama of the world"  that enables Japanese artists to get insights in this field and learn from their guests coming from different parts of the world.

Two years ago, the representatives of ASSITEJ EC and National ASSITEJ centres of Japan and Serbia, Kenjiro Otani and Diana Kržanić Tepavac, developed an idea to create an opportunity for exchange of knowledge and practices of Japanese and Serbian theatre artists. After careful planning and preparations that were carried out with strong will and motivation, and with immense support of Mr. Asaya Fujita, this project was successfully realized by JIENKYO with an eleven-day tour of four Serbian artists in three Japanese cities from the end of January to the beginning of February 2015.

 JIENKYO and its representative Director Mr. Yukinori Ohno, with the support of the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, and outstanding production Akira Ota, organized the program of the visit which included six sets of theatre performances "Baby Space" and lectures in 3 different cities: Fukuoka, Nagoya and Yokohama, performed from 21st of January to 2nd of February. Each of the visits included a theatre perfor​mance "Baby Space" which is a choreographic-ambient-installation for 3 to 8 month toddlers and their parents, created by choreographer Dalija Aćin Thelander and performed by Ana Ignjatović Zagorac and Milica Pisić.  Each show was followed by 2 lectures given by the author Dalija Aćin Thelander and Diana Kržanić Tepavac, which created a unique opportunity for introducing the audience to an interesting and particular example of Serbian theatre practice of high artistic value designed for babies, but also for introducing the audience with different theoretical approaches and examples of good practice in TEY from around the globe. We are glad to conclude that the lectures were attended altogether by 140 theatre artists, theatre practitioners, theatre makers, and representatives of mother/ parent associations resulted with fruitful discussions and inspiring exchanges of ideas. 

Finally we have realized that the timing of this event coincided with Small Size Days that was organized for the first time by the very new ASSITEJ network Small Size, which gave a new meaning to all our efforts and an additional significance.


Diana Kržanić Tepavac

Member of the Executive Committee