ASSITEJ SA bids farewell to Yusrah Bardien

Assitej SA
06/15/2017 09:51:12

ASSITEJ South Africa is sorry to bid farewell to Yusrah Bardien, who leaves us after an extensive involvement in different capacities over many years.

She takes up a newly created appointment as the Audience Engagement Strategist at the Market Theatre Foundation.

Yusrah served as Marketing and Communications Manager for ASSITEJ SA in the period 2014-2017, as ASSITEJ SA prepared to host the Cradle of Creativity, the 19th ASSITEJ World Congress and Performing Arts Festival in Cape Town this May.

However, she first connected with ASSITEJ SA at its launch in July 2007, ten years ago. At the time she was working as a freelance journalist at the Cue newspaper and wrote the first article about ASSITEJ SA when it launched at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. She then connected with ASSITEJ SA again through various projects during her time working with our sister association, PANSA and while working for FTH:K, a member of ASSITEJ SA. She worked directly with ASSITEJ SA when we partnered with UNIMA/Puppetry South Africa, for the Out the Box Festivals in 2010 and 2011.

From there it was a short step to permanent employment with ASSITEJ SA as Office Manager, and as Project Manager for several projects, including the ASSITEJ Family Festivals and Platforms at the National Arts Festival, in Observatory, Vrygrond and in Plettenburg Bay and Knysna.

In 2013, she left ASSITEJ SA for a stint working for the National Arts Council, focusing on the SA Seasons programmes in the UK and France, as well as on the Mandela Funeral and Memorial, gaining valuable national and international experience.

She returned to ASSITEJ South Africa, taking up the newly created position of Marketing and Communications Manager, in 2014. At the same time, she was also invited to become a BASA Audience Development Fellow, which allowed her to bring her learning into the organisation. While her main focus was on marketing and communications, Yusrah’s extensive professional experience across a number of areas, made her the ideal project manager and go-to-person. In her capacity as Senior Staff member in the Johannesburg office, she oversaw such projects as the ASSITEJ partnership with the National School of the Arts’ Festival of Fame, the Naledi Showcases and the ASSITEJ Family Fare Platform at the National Arts Festival.

She was able in her work at ASSITEJ SA to travel to Cameroon for the FATEJ festival, as Project manager for The Ogreling which toured there, and in 2016, she took up a placement with the Next Generation residency programme of ASSITEJ at Birmingham, and was able to stay on to work with Birmingham Rep who were responsible for the On the Edge ASSITEJ Artistic Gathering, in preparation for the work she would need to do towards hosting Cradle of Creativity.

Yvette Hardie, Director of ASSITEJ, reflects that “Yusrah brings tremendous professionalism, energy, determination, humour and insight to her work. She has worked in theatre in a number of different contexts, and this multifaceted understanding is brought to bear in strategising and communicating effectively with a range of stakeholders. She has been responsible for building the ASSITEJ South Africa brand, building audiences and building relationships. We are deeply grateful to her for all she has given to our organisation over many years, and we wish her all the best for the future.”

Yusrah says of her work with ASSITEJ SA, “It's been an honour to bear witness to and participate in the development of ASSITEJ South Africa; from a humble launch gathering in Grahamstown 10 years ago, to one of the driving forces shifting an entire industry's understanding of what true engagement with young people could look like. The organisation and its mission remain crucial to our society, which only stands to benefit from quality creative arts for young audiences, and I look forward to continuing its work in this new chapter of my journey. "

Her position at ASSITEJ South Africa will not be filled immediately, as the organisation is busy with long term strategising after the successful hosting of Cradle of Creativity. Therefore all enquiries should be directed to National Director, Yvette Hardie, on or 021 822 0070/1/2.


ASSITEJ South Africa connects and supports theatre practitioners, companies, organisations, institutions and schools across the country, who share a belief in the transformative difference that theatre makes in the lives of children and young people.

It is the national centre for ASSITEJ (the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People), which works in over 100 countries across the world. ASSITEJ SA was established in July 2007 under the leadership of Director, Yvette Hardie. ASSITEJ SA believes that every child and young person in our country deserves access to the arts, and especially to live theatre, from the earliest possible age. ASSITEJ SA focuses on: creating access to theatre for young people, supporting and developing emerging and established artists, empowering arts’ education, and connecting and advocating for the arts in the lives of young people. It works to improve the quality of theatre for young audiences in South Africa through international networking and exchange.

ASSITEJ South Africa is generously supported by the National Lotteries Commission, the National Arts Council of South Africa, Rand Merchant Bank and the Department of Arts and Culture. Other funders, supporters and partners include the Wesgro, HCI Foundation, the Distell Foundation, the Kids of the Cape, the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Business and Arts South Africa, the Cape Tercentenary Foundation, Buz Publicity, Splitbeam Gearhouse, Theatre Arts Admin Collective, the National Arts Festival, The National School of the Arts and the Festival of Fame, Artscape, Baxter Theatre, CATHSSETA, Ruth & Anita Wise Trust, Lorenzo and Stella Chiappini Charitable Trust, Puppetry South Africa, The Arts and Culture Trust and Nedbank Arts Affinity, Institut Francaise, Alliance Francaise, Africalia, Pro Helvetia, SIDA, Goethe Institut, Tullow Oil, Copy Dog Productions, Mandela Bay Development Agency, Speeltheater Holland Studio, Bush Radio, FMR, and Cape Town Television. They have also been supported by the UNESCO International Fund for Cultural Diversity for their Theatre4Youth project. Account:
Yvette Hardie
021 8220070/1/2
082 859 5635
ASSITEJ South Africa