Who are we?
The ASSITEJ Polish Centre is one of more than seventy national centres of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (Association Internationale du Théâtre Pour l’Enfance et la Jeunesse). It was founded in 1981, thanks to the initiative and efforts of Halina Machulska – an actress, director, but above all a passionate educator. It was created to inspire and promote innovative initiatives in the field of theatre for children and young people, to deal with theatre education, to initiate the exchange of experiences between artists, to contribute to the development of dramaturgy and theatre criticism specifically dedicated to theatre for children and young people.
Among the members of the association one can find artists, theatre instructors, educators, theatre critics and scientists.
The Polish Centre, in comparison to other national centres, is distinguished by the popularisation of drama as a method of work with children and young people, as well as various forms of theatre activities, especially with the participation of children and young people or initiated and realised by them.
ASSITEJ Poland is supported by three pillars – permanent, annual activities, which are: “U Machulskich” Theatre Centre, Halina and Jan Machulski’s Acting School and International Festival of Theatre for Children and Youth KORCZAK TODAY. We also carry out a multitude of other projects, primarily involving children and young people. We draw inspiration for our work from the pedagogical thoughts of Janusz Korczak. The Old Doctor was a forerunner of modern pedagogy, taking into account the needs and rights of the child in society. In carrying out our activities, we constantly prove that theatre is not only an effective tool in the education and development of young people, but also, as Maciej Wojtyszko, its long-standing Vice-President, wrote on the occasion of the Association’s 25th anniversary, “… shaping a person through theatre is the noblest form of developing personality and understanding the principles of interpersonal communication…”.
Our association takes an active part in the international exchange of ideas and experiences related to creativity for children and young people. We are present at international seminars, workshops, festivals, and organise international artistic events. In 2014, such an event was the realisation in Istanbul of the play „Hershek”, based on Janusz Korczak’s short stories, performed by Turkish actors and directed by Adam Biernacki, followed by Polish-Georgian projects directed by Wojciech Faruga: „Right Left on the Heel” (2016), „Decalogue” (2019), „Chopin’s Heart” (2020). In 2014, the Polish Centre became the host of the 18th ASSITEJ World Congress. This is the most important meeting for the entire international ASSITEJ community. The Congress meets every 3 years and sets the direction of the association. The congress included 250 theatre events from all over the world dedicated to young audiences: international conferences, workshops, seminars, lectures and theatre presentations. The congress was visited by more than 14,000 guests from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United States and Vietnam, among others. For our association, this was a prestigious accolade, but also an organisational and logistical challenge.
Governance of ASSITEJ Poland
Natalia Czekalska, Joanna Mazewska, Beniamin Koc
Mateusz Olszewski, Dorota Zielińska, Danuta Szczuka