Why Do We Celebrate World Theatre Day?

Theatre as an art form has been captivating audiences worldwide for a long time. It’s the kind of genre that manages to captivate even the most uninterested and leaves them speechless in awe. The best part about watching theatre is that it lets you identify and relate to a specific character, often getting you physically and emotionally invested in the ongoing scenes.

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Theatre is a way of life for many, and as a dying art form, World Theatre Day helps keep the flame alive by educating the importance of drama and performance to people like us. As a small contribution to their ongoing efforts at keeping the art form relevant, learn World Theatre Day’s significance through this article.

What is World Theatre Day?

World Theatre Day was celebrated for the first time in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). From then on, various theatre institutions and organisations worldwide have come together to celebrate it on 27th March every year. Jumping in on the bandwagon are theatre professionals, universities, schools and academic institutions from far and near. The day’s real significance is stated by the ‘International Message’, which is translated into more than 50 languages every year and then printed across hundreds of daily newspapers. A renowned professional from the world of theatre comes to the headquarters of the ITI to share his/her experiences with the art form and talk about how theatre can pave the way for world peace. On this day, every theatre linked to the ITI pays tribute to World Theatre Day by reading the message aloud for people in the audience to hear and imbibe before beginning their shows.

This year’s message was written by Helen Mirren, a world-renowned and respected artist with an illustrated career in film, theatre, and television. She said, “This has been such a very difficult time for live performance and many artists, technicians and craftsmen and women have struggled in a profession that is already fraught with insecurity. Maybe that always present insecurity has made them more able to survive this pandemic with wit and courage. Their imagination has already translated itself, in these new circumstances, into inventive, entertaining and moving ways to communicate, thanks of course in large part to the internet. Human beings have told each other stories for as long as they have been on the planet. The beautiful culture of theatre will live for as long as we stay here. The creative urge of writers, designers, dancers, singers, actors, musicians, and directors will never be suffocated. In the near future, it will flourish again with new energy and a new understanding of the world we all share.

I can’t wait!”

A Brief History into the Early Evolution of Theatre :

As one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the earlier times, theatre emerged to be the go-to

Early Documented Evidence: 480 BC is when Athens started hosting annual entertainment events to honour the Greek God Dionysus. Some of them were plays. Theatre had not yet established itself as an art-form then.

Spread to Other Parts of Europe: Greece held a prominent position in the Mediterranean area and because of constant imports and exports, the art form soon spread to Italy and Egypt. These two countries were the major driving forces in driving early evolution.

Entry of the UK: 12th century was the most critical part of the art form’s development. The UK established itself as a vital theatrical hub and broke away from the usual topic of religion to become more inclusive with comedy and improvisation. Women were also allowed to perform on stage. Commedia dell’arte ( slapstick comedy) rose to become a preferred form of theatre.

Elizabethan Theatre: Before this era, most artists were reserved for the aristocrats and royalty’s household entertainment. Queen Elizabeth was able to free them of indoor performances and the first travelling theatre company was born. Shakespeare and his plays was another driving force. Throughout the 17th century, his plays were adapted and performed extensively for the general public. This has much to do with what we perceive theatre to be today.