The Impact of IPAY in Latin American Theatre for Young Audiences
An invitation to talk about Amazonas Network’s work in 2015 at the International Performing Arts for Young Audiences (IPAY) conference—which is, in my opinion, one of the most important markets dedicated entirely to the performing arts for this specific audience in North America—radically impacted my work, not only in Chile but globally. I was surprised to realize that, at IPAY, out of five hundred delegates from around the world, I was the only person from Latin America. I was equally surprised at the enormous interest from North American programmers in Chile and Brazil’s artistic production.
I returned home with the mission to circulate information about IPAY, hopefully finding work that could be presented at its showcase in subsequent years. In 2016, Teatro de Ocasión became the first Chilean company to present its work there. The company was also selected to attend the European Arts Fair for Children (FETEN), another important performing arts festival dedicated to young audiences in Spain. The impact that had on the company’s international appeal was immediate: they toured that same year for three weeks in China and travelled to South Korea for the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ) summer festival.
Knowing from my own experience that children would benefit from seeing work that would take them and their existential questions seriously, I began advocating for challenging TYA.
One year later, La Negra María Teatro from Chile and Circo Minimo from Brazil presented their work at IPAY. Last year, Teatro de Ocasión and La LLave Maestra, both from Chile, were selected to showcase their work—all of them represented by Amazonas Network. This is quite sensational considering the short period of time that had passed since my first visit to IPAY, which confirms the existence of a world market for Latin American productions in this sector.
In 2016, Amazonas Network joined forces with the Asociación TeVeo ASSITEJ Chile, working to become the Chilean national center member, which would help to further expand its continuous work of over a decade and raise the visibility and professionalize the sector in Chile. In May 2017, I was elected as an executive committee member of ASSITEJ International, representing the national center in Chile, where I continued my work in raising awareness for Latin American TYA. Today, TeVeo ASSITEJ Chile, created in 2007, represents twenty-five companies and individual members from all over Chile.