EDERED (European Drama Encounter–Recontres Europeennes de Drama) as an organisation was founded in 1985. The idea grew out of an initiative put forward by the Council of Europe in a seminar hosted by Sweden in Eskilstuna in 1979 under the title, “Children and Culture in Contemporary Europe”.
The first Children’s Encounter however took place in 1982, in Belgium and the first Youth Encounter was held in 1987, in the UK. Since then there were 16 Encounters for children and 14 Youth Encounters organised by 20 different countries.
The organisation consists of an executive board and a general assembly. Membership is open to those who have been responsible for running an Encounter in their own countries and to those who plan to organise one in the near future. Currently, EDERED has 16 active members and several others are on their way of joining the EDERED family.
The Encounters usually last for two weeks and consist of an intensive inter-cultural workshop programme and planned social activities. Held by workshop leaders and welfare leaders from participating countries working together and led by an Artistic director provided by the organising country, in order to create a long-lasting experience for the participants. The Encounters culminate in a final showing/presentation which is prepared during workshops based on an agreed-upon topic.
The Encounter exists for the benefit of the participants and therefore all activities of the organisation must always have that focus. To that end, these Six Principles of EDERED have been developed and they form the philosophical basis for all Encounters.
• The Encounter should be open-minded and welcome diverse ways of working in drama/theatre and facilitate diverse approaches in methodology.
• The Encounter should provide opportunities for sharing these diverse approaches.
• The environment of an Encounter is non-competitive.
• The Encounter is a process of listening and inter-cultural cooperation and provides opportunities for children/young people/leaders to share their ideas and experiences in a safe environment.
• Each Encounter must recognise the unique opportunity provided for the social interaction of children/young people from diverse cultures.
• It should be fun
In 2023 the 15th Youth Encounter is organised by Hungary, following 2 previous Hungarian Encounters (1992 Békéscsaba, 2002 Budapest). Over 150 participants are expected, representing 15 countries. Exploring the topic of self-exploration through drama activities and theatre under the title „Seeking the way”. The encounter will be held during June 2023, in Pécs and Orfű providing a lively and culturally rich background for the international festival. However, online and in-person workshops are organised over the year leading up to the encounter itself, to explore and discuss the topic more thoroughly by the professionals working with the participants, aiming not only to have a successful encounter but to have a deeper understanding of practices in the participating countries and nurture further international relations in the field of Youth Theatre.