Youth Pavilion

There was a caption at the Youth pavilion that read, "The Young have love and hope and know how to work together. Group of friends, or movements, they are stronger; more united than parties or unions - they live in brotherhood."

At the pavilion, the key to brotherhood was entertainment, entertainment that demanded participation. Debates, theater, do-it yourself films, ham radio, lectures, sports, happenings, concerts, discussions, discotheques, folk-singers, and art workshops made the program the fullest at Expo. More than 200 people spoke at the pavilion, taking part in 300 meetings. Topics for the many inter-university debates ranged from the benefits of Quebec separatism to the merits of Bobby Kennedy as president of the United States. All debates and talks were staged with simultaneous translation.

When the theater was not being used for happenings or talks, it was employed for plays, music or films. About 400 theatrical performances were given by 89 companies, and 90% of the members of the companies were between the age of 19 and 25, Productions were from all over the world. There were three week long festivals. The first drew young companies from British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland; the second attracted companies from all over Quebec; and the third, the International Puppet Festival, brought puppeteers from Czechoslovakia, Canada, France, Germany and Poland. The crowds were so large that children were forbidden entry.

Each evening, when the play was over, the theater staged a Midnight Cinema. Highlights of the six-month cinema program were the weeks devoted to Cuban, Dutch, French and Soviet films and a festival devoted to Czech cartoons. A total of 650 films were shown and 90 were made by amateurs commissioned from around the world by the pavilion.

A big-name jazz festival, classical music, ballet, modern dance and folk singers completed the program in the theater. Entertainment ranged from English sword-dancers to the Modern Jazz Quartet; comedian Jackie Vernon to folk singer Odetta; folklore groups from Mexico, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Italy and Quebec - a total of 2000 performers.

The Youth pavilion.

The most popular daily events in the open-air agora were the sports programs. More than 12,000 people took part in the table tennis, trampoline, gymnastics, hockey and lacrosse tests. A week in May was devoted to ball games with special sessions on handball, rugby, soccer, volleyball and basketball.

Twelve connected cells surrounded the agora. Thirty-five youth associations worked for three years to establish a message that Canadian youth wanted to spell out in the area. They decided to use photographs, slides and sound to explain the problems and hopes of the "Hiroshima generation." There message, while not new, was "that young, ignorant children are thrust into a world of computers, bombs and technology. Confused, some rebel, others resign themselves. Almost all dream that their generation will change the world." While they may have been naive, that was what the young felt.

Copyright © Jeffrey Stanton 1997
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