My experience participating Asian TYA Network on 24th- 30th July 2016 is a vital opportunity as an Asian artist who work in Theatre for Young Audience field. The session is a part of Ricca Ricca Festa which is a fantastic international children theatre festival in Japan. During the ten days, I had a chance to meet and discuss with Asian experienced TYA artists, expert and academic people who fascinated in this field. It is inspiring and triggering me to reconsider the situation of TYA in my country as a lecturer and artist who work with both young audience and young actor.
According to the emerging topic raised during the 10 days through the 4 events such as ATYA Network, ATYA Meeting, World Theatre Creation series, and International TYA Symposium, lead me to reconsider the situation of Thai and Asian TYA. There were three topics arose from those session :
Firstly, In the discussion among Asian TYA practitioner, we attempted to figure out the first 2 topic. In Korea, the teenager does not want to go to the theatre and in many countries the young audience go to the theatre by the parent choice. Comparing to Thailand, the situation is slightly different. The young audience less than 10 year old age participate to the theatre following the middle class parent who are looking for the creative activities that support child development which is insufficient in Thailand. Therefore, Bangkok International Children Theatre festival was established last year to increase the chance for young thai to participate to arts event. On the other hand, when I reconsider to this issue I found that we have a small amount of theatre for small kids and we have less theatre for teenager. Most of TYA productions in Thailand are for adult which is not in their context, likewise the theatre for small kids does not relate to them too. It can be said that we are lack of theatre for teenager. Yet, it does not mean that they deny to go to the theatre. I found that they want to go to the theatre if it is interesting for them. It is evidently that some Thai teenagers engage to theatre troupe or community theatre rather than being the audience.
Secondly, in response to the ATYA Meeting, our concerning focused on dealing with funding organization which we could not find the answer. However, a group of member proposed that using theatre to the learning context and social issues might be a way to achieve funding. Even though Henrik Kohler director of Teatercentrum Denmark stated in the International TYA Symposium on the 28 of July at Himeyuri Hall that “ Every theatre piece should produce art not the educational tools. Children need to participate art. Art by the children is the essence of their live. They make a choice by themselves ”. I agree that theatre is a powerful art form, potentially encouraging not only young audience but also adult to perceive the world through the ‘being as if” moment they are sharing with the character on the stage during watching the theatre. By Participating art event, children will create their own learning through their heart which will organically imprint into their mind. By this way, we do not need to make art or theatre become an educational tool. Unfortunately, my experience in Thailand is contradictory. As a result of a developing country, most funding organization has a mission in develop human resource in Thailand. They grant funding to the project that utilize art for teaching or promoting some issues rather than providing a chance for young people to experience arts. Even though theatre is a good learning tools but artist job is not teaching. My question to my self is how could we provide knowledge to the society and raise awareness of participating art since early childhood whether it is a pure arts or an Applied arts.
Thirdly, from the ATYA Network discussion after watching performance, I found that all the member are very strong in their artistic view which is my most beneficial experience in this event. It nailed down the idea of making the intercultural performance in asia might be a way to strengthen us as an asian TYA artist to discover our asian method of intercultural. I found that the story from western bedtime story which seemed to be universal might not be a fact. It is due to the post show discussion when Horn Bunthoeun from Cambodia told the different story of Three Little Things which the director chose it from the three western tales as a well known story. Bunthoeun have no idea about those original western tales so he made his own interpretation of the horror story which surprised the group. At this point, I was inspired that the intercultural project might be the way we explore our story, tale, folk, and legend in our asian context which will relate to our children in the contemporary world. Furthermore, it can be a tool to make a cohesive society in asian country when our children finding or having the sense of sharing affinity in asian country.
In my view, as The artist in Thailand, theses three emerging idea inspired me to consider the way to improve my work to respond to situation in my country. I would like to develop theatre for children and teenager which is insufficient in Thailand. Furthermore, I hope I can have a chance to do an intercultural theatre project for young audience with the Asian TYA Network Member which will be a place where we can exchange our knowledge, experience, technique, and find our asian uniqueness of TYA. Moreover, it might not be only producing theatre for our young audience but we can searching the process to transfer this approach to our young people to finding relationship among asian youth through theatre. This will create a strong asian new generation as well as bringing the new audience to the theatre who can create their own learning rather than only receive the western influence.