Aitsona-Daitsona is promoting new, modern children’s theatre in Georgia, with plays based on the social reality of children, written from their perspective. So far there has been a lack of plays like this in Georgian theatre. With “New Voices For Children’s Theatre” Aitsona-Daitsona wanted to change this.
Aitsona-Daitsona’s “New Voices For Children’s Theatre” addressed Georgian writers and playwrights and challenged them to write new plays for children, based on children’s ideas and their social realities. This project was realised with the kind support of People In Need Georgia and in collaboration with Towards New Opportunities Akhalkalaki and LAG Upper Svaneti in Mestia.
For “New Voices For Children’s Theatre”, the Aitsona-Daitsona team interviewed children from Akhalkalaki and Mestia about their wishes, visions, questions, fears, and problems. The answers were compiled and published in an open call where asking writers to send in pitches for plays based on the children’s answers. From the sent in pitches the two best were selected, those were by Mariam Tchantchaleishvili and Alex Chigvinadze.
Together with the Aitsona-Daitsona team, the two winning authors then visited the children in Akhalkalaki and Mestia and in workshops discussed their ideas for plays with them. The children took part in writing and theatre improvisations and discussed characters and themes for the plays. Following the first workshop sessions in Akhalkalaki and Mestia, Mariam and Alex returned to their desks to write their plays, including the input and ideas of the children. In a second workshop round the two writers returned to the children and presented their plays to them. The children could play and improvise scenes, create ideas for the set design, ask questions and give feedback to the writers.
Also in this project we received the support our friend Volker Ludwig, founder of Berlin’s GRIPS Theatre and writer of more than 37 plays for children and young people, who agreed to talk with Alex and Mariam about their plays. In an online meeting they were able to discuss their ideas with Volker and he gave feedback and also an insight in his writing practice and experience. Additionally, Aitsona-Daitsona had organised meetings and talks for Alex and Mariam with the GRIPS theatre’s dramaturgs Tobias Diekmann and Ute Volknant, the writer Svenja Gräfen and supported them throughout the whole writing process.
Following the last workshops with the children, Alex and Mariam finished their plays. The final versions of the plays “მზე შენია, ბორბოლ დოლაშ“ by Alex Chigvinadze’s and „როცა გემი სანაპიროს მიუახლოვდა“ by Mariam Tchantchaleishvili were then presented as well in a staged reading by Aitsona-Daitsona for a wider audience at Goethe Institute Tbilisi.
In 2023, Aitsona-Daitsona is hoping to tour the two plays to children all over Georgia and is currently looking for funding.
A side project of “New Voices For Children’s Theatre” was the photo campaign “A Stage For Everyone” were Aitsona-Daitsona asked the participating children to write down the topics for plays they also want to see on stage. The photos then formed an online campaign to inspire more writers to new plays for children. You can find the photos below.
Special thanks to: People in Need Georgia, Lyolya Raisyan, Natia Japaridze, Irma Japaridze, Volker Ludwig, Tobias Diekmann, Ute Volknant from GRIPS Theater Berlin, Svenja Gräfen, Tamta Melashvili, Goethe Institute Tbilisi, Data Chigholashvili