Yvette Hardie

President, the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ).
South Africa
Yvette Hardie is a theatre director, producer, educator and advocate, focusing on theatre for young audiences. She initiated the launch of ASSITEJ SA (the national centre of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People) in 2007, and leads the organisation as Director. She is currently serving her third term (2011–2020) as President of the international ASSITEJ, which operates in close to 100 countries. In these capacities, she creates opportunities for artistic exchange, mentorship, skills development and cross-cultural collaboration across the world, while working to invigorate the South African theatrical landscape with work of the highest quality and widest accessibility. Under her leadership, ASSITEJ SA won the bid for the 19th ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival held in Cape Town in May 2017, the first time this prestigious mega-event has been held on African soil in the 52 year history of ASSITEJ. She has written and spoken extensively on issues relating to arts for young audiences, arts education and arts for reconciliation and conflict resolution around the globe.

She produced the award-winning Colonnades Theatre Lab production, Truth in Translation, seen by more than 55 000 people worldwide. For her own company, FreeVoice Productions, she is currently producing national and international tours of Sindiwe Magona’s Mother to Mother. As director, projects include Suzanne Lebeau’s The Ogreling, which has toured South Africa, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Cameroon, and Mike van Graan’s Is it because I’m Jack? She also was Festival Director for the Out the Box Festival of Visual Theatre and Puppetry, in 2011, after having served as Family Festival Curator in 2010.

She is valued for her work in Arts Education, having written national curricula and textbooks for both Dramatic and Creative Arts, and having been involved in teacher training over a period of some 15 years. She was the Head of the Drama Department at the National School of the Arts, where she taught between 1991–2004. She has also taught at the Market Theatre Laboratory, AFDA, University of Cape Town and other tertiary institutions. Yvette also runs workshops in a variety of aspects related to theatre, including a focus on voice and speech, and is a certified teacher of the Lessac technique. She has an MA in Theatre Practice from Tshwane University of Technology. She was recently awarded the Mickey Miner Award for Lifetime Achievement from the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), based in Philadelphia, USA for her contribution to theatre for young audiences locally and globally.