For delegates and audiences in Japan, as well as international participants still able to travel to Japan, the ‘On the Ground’ Festival promises to deliver a fantastic programme of Productions and Professional Exchange workshops.

The Festival will take place between 22nd and 28th March 2021 across multiple venues in Tokyo, including Toshima Civic Centre, Galaxcity, Hanamaru Group Oji Fringe Theatre, Theatre Green, and R’s Art Court. Between 25th and 31st March 2021 the Festival will also operate out of venues in Chino, Nagano including Chino Cultural Complex and Shimosuwa Cultural Centre (all dates inclusive).*

Audiences in Japan will be able to watch productions from Japan and around the world (including pre-recorded screenings) as well as interact with Japanese and international artists via live post-show discussions. ASSITEJ Japan will also produce the Opening and Closing ceremonies which will be recorded for sharing with international delegates of the ‘Online World Congress’.

More details can be found on the ‘On the Ground’ Festival Website. You may also contact ASSITEJ Japan’s team directly if you have any questions about any aspect of the ‘On the Ground’ Festival: info2020assitejjapan@gmail.com

*Please note that the ongoing COVID-19 regulations in Japan mean that aspects of this event may be forced to change (potentially at short notice) depending on government advice.


The Professional Exchange Programme will see over 80 seminars, lectures, workshops, symposia, and panels being delivered online by delegates from around the world during the ten-day World Congress period (22nd – 31st March 2021). For those who are unable to attend these virtual sessions as they are being broadcast live, there will be an option to watch recorded versions of these sessions at any time until the online site closes down on 11th April 2021.

In addition, the International Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network (ITYARN) will host their conference on 22nd and 23rd March 2021 as part of the wider Professional Exchange Programme. Each of the other ASSITEJ Networks will host their own programme of events during the rest of the World Congress days.

These networks include:

  • Next Generation (Professional Development)
  • Small Size Network (Early Childhood),
  • The International Inclusive Arts Network (Inclusivity),
  • The Young Dance Network (Dance)
  • Write Local Play Global (Playwriting).

In addition, the ASSITEJ International Executive Committee will host four ‘Artistic Encounters’.

The vast majority of the Professional Exchange Programme sessions will be broadcast live online. These sessions will take place at regular intervals throughout the World Congress days, ensuring that delegates across all time zones are able to take part. For those who miss a session, don’t worry – the recordings will remain available online until the 11th April 2021.

Sessions will be delivered in various languages – primarily English and Japanese. Some English sessions will have simultaneous interpretation into Japanese, and vice versa.


  • Monday 22nd March – Theatre for Young Audiences in Times of Crisis
  • Tuesday 23rd March – Digitising TYA Theatre for Young Audiences
  • Wednesday 24th March – Making Theatre for Young Audiences Accessible
  • Thursday 25th March – Adaptation & Translation
  • Friday 26th March – Child Participation
  • Saturday 27th March – East & South East Asia Focus Day
  • Sunday 28th March – Innovation in Theatre for Young Audiences
  • Monday 29th March – International Collaborations
  • Tuesday 30th March – Building Communities
  • Wednesday 31st March – Beyond the Pandemic

The detailed schedule of the Professional Exchange Programme will be online by early March.


We are currently anticipating approximately 30 productions will participate in the Online World Congress. This will include both Japanese and International Productions, including an Innovation Programme. The Innovation Programme will exhibit some of the exciting developments that are still happening in the world of Theatre for Young Audiences despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID situation.

A daily selection of pre-recorded productions will be released online every day of the World Congress (22nd – 31st March 2021) and will be available to watch ‘On Demand’ until the online site closes down on 11th April 2021.

These performances will not only be available to those holding ‘Full Online Congress Access’ – we are also offering online access to individual performances through which we hope to brighten the experiences of individual families, children, and young people around the world during this tough period.

Productions will be performed in various languages – primarily English and Japanese. Some English performances will be subtitled in Japanese, and vice versa