World's Experts in Childhood Creativity to Gather For World Festival of Children's Theatre

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

The World Festival of Children's Theatre, coming to Stratford this summer, offers a pivotal opportunity for those who care about childhood creativity to share their inspiration and best practices. Experts in children's theatre and creative play will gather concurrently in Stratford for PLAY! A Symposium, a key educational exchange presented in the context of the world festival at the University of Waterloo's Stratford campus. Local, Canadian and international participants are welcome and encouraged to participate.

This is for the World Festival of Children’s Theatre, an official event sanctioned by the International Amateur Theatre Association. 
The Festival's Steering Committee announced today that registration is open for PLAY! A Symposium. Organized under co-chairs Glenys McQueen Fuentes (Brock University, retired) and Pat Quigley (Stratford Festival, retired), the symposium will welcome adult delegates who will spend June 10, 11 and 12 at the University of Waterloo Stratford campus, exploring the processes and importance of creativity, and the power of play in children's and adults' lives. The symposium focuses on sharing research and best practices among educators, theatre, social and health-care workers and parents.
It's only months until the world's children arrive in Stratford to perform in the prestigious World Festival of Children's Theatre. For 10 days in June, 2016, 250 young thespians between the ages of 7 and 15 will participate in performances and workshops that explore the festival theme "My World, Our Planet". The festival is "for children, by children", with productions for children and those who are young at heart.

World's Experts in Childhood Creativity to Gather For World Festival of Children's Theatre. Photo from the Axioma Theatre in Asunción, Paraguay. The child is from the cast of "Todo Vive" - "Everything Lives"

Photo from the Axioma Theatre in Asunción, Paraguay. The child is from the cast of "Todo Vive" - "Everything Lives" 
PLAY! was organized with the support of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the Ontario Teachers Federation. As a leading provider of professional learning for its members, ETFO will conduct arts workshops and other presentations that focus on play-based learning and champion the importance of creativity and social justice in classrooms. "The Ontario Teachers' Federation is pleased to be able to contribute to the 2016 World Festival of Children's Theatre," says OTF President Francine LeBlanc-Lebel. "It's a wonderful opportunity for students and teachers to stage their world and share it with others through the arts."
The Symposium will feature the "Our Stories, Our Planet" video project. Young people around the world have been invited to make a video about how they view their world and send it to the Symposium. Burlington educator Helen Zdriluk asked her children at Centre Stage Theatre School in Burlington, ON, to create a video invitation to the children of the world, to create their own video based on the theme "Our Stories, Our Planet." The results will be shown at the Symposium.
The Symposium will also feature a Resource Fair that is open to all – community, visitors, and delegates alike. 
The importance of play to every child and adult will also be seen through the "Videoheads" series that will be screened throughout the event. Leading international children's theatre experts were asked to video their thoughts on the importance of play and creativity in their own life. Their thoughts will help shape the discussions during the symposium.
"The breadth and depth of the presenters is quite extraordinary", says co-chair Glenys McQueen Fuentes. "Having the leading experts in creativity and learning from around the world in the same place at the same time is very special." Pat Quigley says "Hosting such a diverse group of international presenters such as Richard Finch, Norbert Radermacher and Alika Chandra will help delegates make learning connections in a new and very exciting way."
"The Symposium is a vital element of the World Festival of Children's Theatre, as it promotes and supports the efforts of educators, social workers, parents and many others to give play an important space in children's lives," says Ron Dodson, the Festival's Artistic Director."
Delegates may get more information and register at
For further information about PLAY! A Symposium, contact
Pat Quigley: 519.273.0643; pquigley[at]
Glenys McQueen Fuentes: 905.682.8593; glenysmcqueen[at] or playsymposium[at]
The festival is "for children, by children" under the theme "My World, Our Planet" with its home in various venues across Stratford such as Knox Church, The Reaney Auditorium at Stratford Central Secondary School and the Auditorium at City Hall. It will draw on support from upward of 250 volunteers and local billeting families. There is an immediate need for volunteers with the necessary language skills to provide support as greeters/guides for the visiting children.
In 2012, Stratford was selected by the International Amateur Theatre Association (AITA/IATA asbl); as the 2016 host for the 14th edition for the renowned children's theatre festival previously held in countries as diverse as Turkey, Denmark, Japan, Russia and Cuba. This is the first time the festival will be hosted in North America.
Information about tickets, venues and schedules will be available later this spring on the Festival website (
The World Festival of Children's Theatre is a prestigious international festival celebrating works of theatre "for children by children" organized under its 2016 theme "My World, Our Planet".
The Festival began in Lingen, Germany in 1990, with a mandate to bring the world's young people together to share each other's stories and culture through theatre. It has since been held every two years, returning every fourth year to its home base in Lingen.
For further information about the 14th World Festival of Children's Theatre, please contact:
 Ron Dodson, Artistic Director
 ~ My World, Our Planet~
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Like the Festival, the symposium will feature expert workshop presenters from six continents:
Solomon Dartey  
Caleb Tembar Isiche
Richard Finch
Marlene Le Roux
Sedrico Husselman
Clifford Ndlovu
Sisir Dutta
Alika Chandra
Tanka Chaulagain
Saroj Aryal
Rana Ghaderi
Toomaj Daneshbehzadi
Camelia Ghazali
Sally Hardy
Alirio Zavarce
Bernd Ruping
Stephan Schnell
Simon Isser
Norbert Rademacher
Sanja Tasic
Patrice Baldwin
Jonothan Neelands
Katherine McDonald & Christian Blake
Deirdre Potash
Nicholas Walsh [Toronto/Guelph]
Sue Stephenson
Christine Jackson & Lorraine Sutherns
Teodoro Dragonieri 
Adam Seelig 
Clare Hage
Mary Code, Alyssa Rossi, & Stephanie Long
Allen Kaeja
David Booth
Nikole (Nikki) Pascetta
Jane Deluzio
Heather Miller
Kathy Lundy
Alicia Payne
Michelle McDonald
Belarie Zatzman
Matt Viviano 
Suzanne Burchell
Maralyn Ryan & Carol Murray
Peter Mansell
Todd Vercoe
Kip Longstaff/Lisa Kapp
Andrea Hallendy- Mallon 
Alejandro Moran
Trish McGregor 
Melanie Kindrachuk
Marthe Jocelyn
St. Catharines/Niagara on the Lake
Susan Mifsud 
Dr. Jennifer Rowsell- Caz 
Javier Soyka  
Robin Patterson
Carole Miller
Juliana Saxton
ETFO: Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario
Larry Swartz
Bonnie Anthony & Jane Wamsley
Bob Barton/Debbie Nyman
Jennifer Zeitz
Janet Millar Grant
More presenters to be announced
Leigh O'Brien & Lydia O'Brien...Buffalo
Devon Glover (The Sonnet Man) ...New York City
Samantha White...Shakespeare in Detroit  
Dr. Patricia Zimmer...Michigan
Tim Cunningham, Clowns Without Borders....NYC
Johny Fontecha 



All information contained herein provided by The World Festival of Children's Theatre. Photo used with permission