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The History of World Theatre Day

Posted 27th March 2024

Step into the spotlight and join the global celebration of World Theatre Day, an electrifying tradition ignited in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). Every March 27th, theatre aficionados and ITI Centers worldwide unite to honor the vibrant tapestry of theatre.

From dazzling performances to thought-provoking discussions, this annual extravaganza pulses with the heartbeat of creativity. At its core lies the World Theatre Day Message, a beacon of inspiration where luminaries from across the globe illuminate the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace. It all began with the legendary Jean Cocteau penning the inaugural Message in 1962, setting the stage for decades of profound reflection.

As the curtains rise on March 27th, commemorating the historic opening of the 1962 “Theatre of Nations” season in Paris, the world becomes a stage for celebration. With over 90 ITI Centers spanning the globe, and a chorus of theaters, professionals, and enthusiasts joining the chorus, the resonance of World Theatre Day echoes far and wide.

Each year, a luminary from the realms of theatre or beyond, distinguished not only by their talent but by their unwavering spirit, is invited to share their reflections on the transformative power of theatre and its role in fostering international harmony. Translated into over 50 languages, the International Message resonates in the hearts of thousands, echoed in the hallowed halls of theatres worldwide and gracing the pages of countless newspapers. This year’s distinguished guest is Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse.

But the celebration doesn’t end there. With the camaraderie of colleagues in the audio-visual realm, over a hundred radio and television stations beam the Message to corners of the earth, spreading the magic of theatre to all who lend an ear.

So, as the world unites in a symphony of creativity and unity, let us raise the curtain on World Theatre Day, a jubilant ode to the transformative power of the stage and the universal language of theatre.

About Jon Fosse
Jon Fosse is a renowned Norwegian writer born in 1959. He is known for his extensive body of work, which includes plays, novels, poetry collections, essays, children’s books, and translations. Fosse’s writing style is characterized by minimalism and emotional depth, making him one of the most performed playwrights in the world. In 2023, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his innovative plays and prose that give voice to
the unsayable.
Read more about the history behind World Theatre Day & this year’s official celebrations here.

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