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August 5: At this very moment in Japan, a city called Toyama is hosting a very interesting event — the 6th World Festival of Children’s Theatre.

The purpose of this year’s theatre festival is to encourage children of the future to create a new theatre. Through which they will foster new values and a new culture for themselves and others around them. Since it is these kids who will be the new millennium’s first citizens.

The organisers of Toyama Children’s Theatre are concerned with one fundamental question – what will be the future of the human race in the age of hi-tech inventions and atomic weapons? How to establish a new order for the coming age? They are hoping that the task be entrusted to the younger generation. For, it is they who will inherit the planet from adults and on whom will lie the burden of fashioning a new world order from the chaos of now.

Children's Theatre of the World
Children’s Theatre of the World [Illustration by Shiju George]
Theatre is one means of doing it, hope the organisers. So, Toyama will see all participants, whether old or young, perform plays for children and in the process connect with various cultures, people and of course, the hidden child in each one of them. The festival will promote an exchange of ideas between the participants through a variety of plays, seminars and workshops for children. Unfortunately, India could not participate in the festival.

At least 25 groups, from 20 to 25 countries, will be participating in the festival. Each group will give a performance in its own native language. The theme for this year is “We build the future”.

The World Festival of Children’s Theatre was first held in Lingen, Germany, in 1990. Since then, it has been held every two years in other parts of the world.