In 1995, YPAA members had a strong presence at the inaugural One Theatre World Festival in Seattle, USA, with Barking Gecko Theatre Company’s Ivory Circle featuring directly after the opening reception. One Theatre World continues to this day to be one of the principal gathering of producers of professional theatre for young audiences in the USA, and the Lowdown feature by Clare Hannan on this festival is a snapshot of a key moment in US and world youth arts history .
On an international level, the festival celebrated the 30th birthday of ASSITEJ and attracted visitors from 20 countries including the ASSITEJ Executive Committee, which met during the festival. Within the USA it was clear that there was an appetite for change and challenge amongst US practitioners. Difficult topics were discussed at the festival symposium, such as the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia in 1992, environmental tragedies, children living with AIDS and forced integration in Mississippi in the 1960s. The Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest New Generation Playwright’s Forum featured provocative work from contemporary playwrights like Y York, Steven Dietz, Mark Medoff and James Still, and a ‘collage of diversity’ was presented that showed companies dealing with Native American, deaf, lesbian and gay, and multicultural issues. The festival clearly ‘reached well beyond what has been done in the past, not only in Seattle, but nationally in the United States’.