World Theatre Day - 27 March


World Theatre Day is the creation of the International Theatre Institute (ITI).

It is celebrated annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community. Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion. One of the most important of these is the circulation of the World Theatre Day International Message through which at the invitation of ITI, a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace. The first World Theatre Day International Message was written by Jean Cocteau (France) in 1962.

It was first in Helsinki, and then in Vienna at the 9th World Congress of the ITI in June 1961 that President Arvi Kivimaa proposed on behalf of the Finnish Centre of the International Theatre Institute that a World Theatre Day be instituted. The proposal, backed by the Scandinavian centres, was carried with acclamation. Ever since, each year on the 27th March (date of the opening of the 1962 "Theatre of Nations" season in Paris), World Theatre Day has been celebrated in many and varied ways by ITI National Centres of which there are now almost 100 throughout the world.

Each year a figure outstanding in theatre or a person outstanding in heart and spirit from another field, is invited to share his or her reflections on theatre and international harmony. What is known as the International Message is translated into more than 20 languages, read for tens of thousands of spectators before performances in theatres throughout the world and printed in hundreds of daily newspapers. Colleagues in the audio-visual field lend a fraternal hand, with more than a hundred radio and television stations transmitting the Message to listeners in all corners of the five continents.

World Theatre Day Message Authors 1962-2011

1962 Jean COCTEAU
1963 Arthur MILLER 
1964 Laurence OLIVIER - Jean-Louis BARRAULT 
1965 Anonymous/Anonyme
1966 René MAHEU, Director General of UNESCO
1967 Hélène WEIGEL 
1968 Miguel Angel ASTURIAS 
1969 Peter BROOK 
1971 Pablo NERUDA 
1972 Maurice BEJART
1973 Luchino VISCONTI 
1974 Richard BURTON
1975 Ellen STEWART
1976 Eugène IONESCO 
1977 Radu BELIGAN 
1978 national messages
1979 national messages 
1980 Janusz WARMINSKI 
1981 national messages
1982 Lars af MALMBORG 
1983 Amadou Mahtar M'BOW, Director General of UNESCO 
1984 Mikhaïl TSAREV 
1985 André-Louis PERINETTI 
1986 Wole SOYINKA 
1987 Antonio GALA
1988 Peter BROOK 
1989 Martin ESSLIN 
1990 Kirill LAVROV
1991 Federico MAYOR, Director General of UNESCO 
1992 Jorge LAVELLI - Arturo USLAR PIETRI
1993 Edward ALBEE 
1994 Vaclav HAVEL
1995 Humberto ORSINI 
1996 Saadalla WANNOUS
1997 Jeong Ok KIM 
1998 50th Anniversary of ITI - Special Message 
2000 Michel TREMBLAY 
2001 Iakovos KAMPANELLIS
2002 Girish KARNAD 
2003 Tankred DORST 
2004 Fathia EL ASSAL
2005 Ariane MNOUCHKINE
2006 Victor Hugo RASCON BANDA 
2007 Sultan bin Mohammed AL QASIMI 
2008 Robert LEPAGE
2009 Augusto BOAL
2010 Judi DENCH
2011 Jessica A. KAAHWA
2012 John MALKOVICH 
2013 Dario FO 
2014 Brett BAILEY
2015 Krzysztof WARLIKOWSKI
2016 Anatoli VASSILIEV


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