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A scene from "Especially on Birthdays," by the PaperBoats from Australia. (Photo courtesy of the PaperBoats and Boat Rocker Entertainment)

TYA/USA Announces Programming for Festival and Conference in May 2019

Young-audience theatremakers will convene at the Alliance Theatre for a conference and performances from around the world.

NEW YORK CITY: TYA/USA, the national organization that provides advocacy and
resources to the field of Theatre for Young Audiences, in collaboration with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, will present the 2019 TYA/USA National Festival & Conference May 8-11, 2019. Formerly known as One Theatre World, this biennial national festival offers the largest convening of leaders, educators, artists, and organizations in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences. This landmark event will provide a platform for exchange, dialogue, and connection through the presentation of 12 productions from around the globe, keynote speakers, master classes, and workshops. The 2019 TYA/USA National Festival & Conference will be presented in conjunction with the Alliance’s Toddler Takeover Festival, an annual arts festival developed for children from birth through 5 years old.

Highlights include:

  • A keynote conversation with bestselling author Jason Reynolds, alongside
    presentations of three new plays commissioned and adapted from his award-winning young adult novels: Ghost by Nashville Children’s Theatre, Long Way Down by Kennedy Center, and All American Boys by Off the Page from Brooklyn
  • Keynote presentations from Atlanta’s own nationally celebrated writer and playwright Pearl Cleage, as well as leading Australian theatremaker and creator of the PaperBoats, Dave Brown
  • An international showcase of Theatre for the Very Young, featuring the work of the PaperBoats (Australia), Peut-Être Theatre (United Kingdom), Brush Theatre (South Korea), Children’s Theatre of Charlotte , and the Alliance Theatre
  • A focus on new musicals for young audiences, including the presentation of Me…Jane: The Dreams and Adventures of Young Jane Goodall (Kennedy Center) and a new musical showcase featuring a variety of new works
  • A taste of the best in TYA created by Atlanta-based artists, including the work of the Center for Puppetry Arts with a new production of Harold and the Purple Crayon, the Object Group, 7 Stages’ production of Inside I, and several productions from the Alliance

“In our divided world, TYA/USA has a greater sense of urgency than ever before to nurture and promote professional Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) as one of our best tools to cultivate empathy and imagination in children,” said Jonathan Shmidt Chapman, executive director of TYA/USA, in a statement. “Through this year’s dynamic programming, the TYA/USA National Festival & Conference provides TYA artists, practitioners, and leaders from across the country the rare opportunity to convene, exchange, and gain the inspiration they need to fully serve the children and families in their communities. This vital event provides the national field of TYA with the artistic and educational fuel they need to do this essential work on the ground.”

This year’s theme is Breaking Down Walls, inspired by the Alliance Theatre’s historic renovation. In tearing down their balcony—an architectural reminder of the Jim Crow-era South—the Alliance embodies their commitment to diversity and inclusivity through their state-of-the-art new theatre. The festival and conference programming will “break down walls” of all kinds: facing the structural, systemic racism we have yet to dismantle in our field and in our world; sparking meaningful dialogue about the need for diversity in the stories we tell; bridging the divide with artists from across the world; presenting works that break down the traditional gulf between artists and audiences in performance; and bringing together TYA professionals from across the country to instigate new conversations about our work.

“TYA/USA’s ambition to connect Theatre for Youth professionals, elevate the national field, and celebrate the removal of barriers to participation aligns perfectly with the Alliance’s dedication to radical, concurrent inclusion,” said Christopher Moses, the Dan Reardon Director of Education/Associate Artistic Director at the Alliance Theatre, in a statement. “As a lead partner on the project, the Alliance Theatre is proud to host the festival on our campus and to connect the national field to other cultural jewels in the thriving city of Atlanta. As the Alliance prepares to celebrate its 50th Anniversary season in 2018-2019, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect partner than TYA/USA and its biennial event to help us usher in the next 50 years, making visible our commitment to creating powerful work for diverse audiences of all ages.”

Registration is now open. More information can be found here.

Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA), is a national service organization whose mission is to promote the power of professional theatre for young audiences through excellence, collaboration, and innovation across cultural and international boundaries. The organization provides advocacy and resources in order to strengthen and diversify the field of theatre for young audiences. Founded in 1965, TYA/USA is the only theatre organization in the United States which has the development of professional theatre for young audiences and international exchange as its primary mandates.

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