Youth Advocates Through Theater Arts [YATTA] (Dumaguete, Philippines)
YATTA was borne out of the confluence of theater and advocacy. In November 2005, a theater workshop aimed at producing an educational performance on the issue of child trafficking for sexual purposes led to a public performance by thirty young people. Immediately after, the same group decided to form YATTA (Youth Advocates Through Theater Arts) to continue engaging youths through theatre to raise awareness of various issues, especially those related to children and young people.
YATTA’s work is framed around PAGASA (hope), the kind of hope that emerges from young people moving from being the “object” of history, to being the “subject” of history, who act and engage in shaping what is to be. It is in the integration and balance of these dimensions that YATTA’s work has evolved through these years and continues to create spaces of hope for the youth and the larger community.
YATTA’s presented Dagit at AYTF 2017, Isla Tawak at AYTF 2018 and Saving the Blue at AYTF 2019.
Lanyim Theatre (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
Lanyim is a Thai word that means smiley playground, as the group’s concept is that a child can learn from a playground as much as from a classroom. In 2016, Lanyim started Theatre for Social Change using Devised Theatre Processes in Lampang province, in the north of Thailand.
In 2017, Lanyim moved to the southern province of Patthalung to work on theatre for social change but changed the method to shadow puppetry under the project: Design and Form Local Communication Through Shadow Puppet. Lanyim also joined other theatre festivals, such as KONGPAKPING D-JUNG (2016) on education, politics, ethnicity and identity. In 2018, Lanyim Creative Group established Lanyim Theatre to focus on theatre and performances for social change. It is currently holding theatre workshops and conducting experimental research on Theatre Process as an Approach to Understand Social Issues.
Lanyim Theatre’s long-term goal is to establish a Children’s Theatre and a Theatre Festival in Chiang Mai. Lanyim performed, Reborn at the Asian Youth Theatre Festival 2018, Singapore and The Noise at the Asian Youth Theatre Festival 2019, Malaysia.
Work in Progress Kota Kinabalu (Sabah, Malaysia)
Founded in May 2019, Work in Progress Kota Kinabalu (W.I.P) aims to recognize talents from all walks of life and cultivate the culture of collaboration. There are limited platforms in Kota Kinabalu for individuals to showcase their talents, ideas and artwork. Work in Progress was created to push individuals to step out of their comfort zones, to share their work and story. Events are diverse and specific to the performers involved where bubbles are created for musicians, dancers and visual artists to share their work. Our team believes in the beauty of collaboration. Where spontaneity collides with the realisation that perfection doesn’t exist and it’s ok to be just ok. Work in Progress enables aspiring artists to ‘have a go’, ‘try it out’, without fear of judgement. Through this ethos we create a community built on collaboration and recognition of the multiple diverse talents involved. A place free from judgement and expectation, to listen, hear, feel and embody the spirit of open collaboration.
247 Studios (Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei)
247 Studios is a newly formed theatre company in Brunei with the motto “Creating Opportunities for Creatives through Theatre”. 247 Studios aims to work with creatives of different backgrounds to produce theatre.
247 Studios have worked with various organisations to produce performances and workshops. Some of their notable works include: A collaboration with Alliance Francaise to produce Robert Thomas’ “8 Women” and a commission by Play Naturally to produce Brunei’s first Conservation Theatre in which awareness was raised for TasekMerimbun, a local lake, and the culture of the Dusun people who lived near the lake.
Prachyanat (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Prachyanatis one of the foremost theatre troupes of Bangladesh established in 1997 in Dhaka. Besides producing very successful plays, another crowning success of Prachyanat is the establishment of ”Prachyanat School of Acting and Design” in the year 2001. The school has successfully run 34 six-month courses while its 37th batch is already underway. Within two years of its existence, Prachyanat achieved the distinction of being the best theatre group. Awards and other distinctions were quick to follow ─ such as Best Theatre Group, Best Play of the Year, Best Director Azad Abul Kalam, Best Light & Set Design by Md. Shaiful.
Buds Theatre (Singapore)
Buds Theatreis an independent theatre company, producing intimate work in small intimate spaces, providing maximum impact and aims to maintain this, encouraging audiences to acknowledge the company for its focused and direct approach to theatre. Representing Buds Theatre this year is a core team of alumni and friends of Buds, who have embarked on their individual journeys in the theatre. They have now come together to fly the Singapore flag at AYTF 2020, with a piece they hope will be relevant and topical in these times of crisis. Buds Theatre is a registered charity providing theatrical productions as a vehicle for change.
AYTF Team JAPAN (Osaka, Japan)
AYTF Team JAPAN is Hiroki Ookido from FREAM! Theatre – Actor Mentor, Kayo Tamura from Theatre Group GUMBO –Artistic Director and Tetsuya Fuchigami from Sakai International Community Arts – Production Manager.Thisdiverse collective combine to organize this year’s representation at the Asian Youth Theatre Festival. Team JAPANare training young Japanese actors and theatre crew, for the purpose of advancing their local theatrical landscape. AYTF Team JAPAN are passionate about reviving traditional arts and culture; Tate, a Japanese sword action, old traditional songs that express the beauty of Japanese sound, and the dance of the Ainu, a minority group, are included in their performance, creating contemporary theatre merged with traditional art and culture.
Khmer Art Action (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
Khmer Art Action (KAA) was founded by SoungSopheak – a playwright and director who is passionate about art and LakhornNiyeay. Khmer Art Action was created for the purpose of keeping LakhornNiyeay alive and promoting art as a form of mental healing. LakhornNiyeay is an art form in Cambodia that is so old, many Cambodians have forgotten about this. The performance art is solely based on the characters’ speeches and the storylines usually depict deep social issues of the present time. LakhornNiyeay is not an easy art. LakhornNiyeay lost its popularity after the civil war in Cambodia. Experts say it takes almost 10 years to learn how to perform, write scripts and direct a play, so many Cambodian people have been hesitant in reviving the art form.
KAA brings LakhornNiyeay back to the community through short films and live theatrical performances. They perform in schools, communities and there is an annual show at the National Theater every December.
KAA is working to connect more people, especially the young generation to spoken theater so that they can understand the role that LakhornNiyeay plays in Cambodian society. The ultimate goal is to inspire them to love and preserve this art form.
Gigi Art Of Dance (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Born from a passion to dance, Gigi Art of Dance (GAOD) was established in 2009 as a home to learn, explore, collaborate, and share the performing art of dance. GAOD provides a safe and supportive learning environment to push artists’ talent, potential and creative pursuits. GAOD’s goal is to provide memorable experiences and positive opportunities in the performing arts field through it’s exciting and thought provoking performances. During the COVID-19 pandemic, GAOD has strived to continuously engage artists online and offer programmes to the community to support them in staying safe, healthy and happy. Gigi Art of Dance (GAOD) have performed at the Asian Youth Theatre Festival 2017-2019, presenting Jayaprana Layonsari (2017), Beauty in Diverse-City (2018) and Plastic Fantastic (2019). In 2018, they partnered with the Down Syndrome Association in Jakarta and created G-Star a dance troupe celebrating accessibility and inclusion through dance.
Inwa School Of Performing Arts (Mandalay, Myanmar)
TheInwa School of Performing Arts is a cultural high school in Mandalay, Myanmar that prepares young artists to perform Myanmar classical dance and music at professional standards. Established in 2016 by Arts Mandalay Foundation in collaboration with Mandalay artists, it provides continuity for excellence in classical arts and aims to extend their reach to worldwide audiences. The Inwa School aims to explore modern teaching, performance and entrepreneurial ideas for the classical arts.
The Inwa School performed Hope, at the Asian Youth Theatre festival 2018. in Singapore and Save Ayawady Dolphins at the Asian Youth Theatre Festival 2019 in Sabah, Malaysia.