Theatre is one of the most famous and sought-after sources of entertainment. It is a wonderful form of art that depicts the beauty and essence of life. It brings a large number of people together, and they can watch the actors perform live. Theatres are like movies, but only there is a deeper connection between the audience and the actors.
Introduction of World Theatre Day
World Theatre Day is celebrated globally on 27th March. It is a day dedicated to the celebration of theatre, which includes various forms of fine art. This day is celebrated by the International Theatre Institute or other international theatre communities. It aims to raise awareness about the art of theatre, their significance and how they play a major role in the field of entertainment.
History of World Theatre Day
The oldest origin of theatres and drama was found in Athens, in Greece. During these ancient times, hymns called Dithyrambs were sung dedicated to the God Dionysus. The people would sing these hymns in processions, and the participants would dress up in different costumes and masks. Later, some members of the processions would assume certain roles, but they were not real actors like we know today.
The development came much later, at around 534 to 533 B.C. during this time, the terrible ruler Pisistratus arranged a series of festivals for the general public, which had competitions for poetry, music, singing, or dancing. The winner of this competition was a person known as Thespis. He surprised the audience by narrating his poetry in such a manner as if he was one of the poem's characters. In this process, he became the first-ever actor in the world. Since then, theatre and its vibrant traditions have flourished all over the world.
The idea of International Theatre Day was initiated in the year 1962. The first message for World Theatre Day was written by a poet and playwright from France, known as Jean Cocteau. International Theatre Institute held the first meeting in Helsinki in Finland, and the second one was held in Vienna.
Significance of World Theatre Day
According to the International Theatre Institute, World Theatre Day has three main motives:
- Promotion of theatre and all its forms, everywhere in the world.
- Raise awareness about theatre among the general public.
- Starting of several theatre communities and organizations to that the work can be done to a greater extent.
Theatre is a form of cultural and social phenomenon that acts as a mirror to the society. It enables us to study all the existing crises in the society and helps us to find solutions. We are subjected to different points of view for a certain topic, changing our perception of life and gaining knowledge. This performing art helps us in a deep understanding of culture and society.
The International Theatre Institute urges theatres to be introduced to schools as well. This would help the children to explore and understand their emotions, expand their imagination and modify and develop their voice or explore the characteristics of several characters. This might help them get influenced or inspired by a certain character, which would bring positive changes in their life and personality. Their bodies and emotions will be engaged in a productive way, and this would help them to be confident and find joy within themselves.
How Is World Theatre Day Celebrated?
World Theatre Day is celebrated by the International Theatre Institute, which organizes a meeting in which a famous theatre performer is asked to give a speech. The speech was translated into fifty languages and was printed in several newspapers. Everyone is open to participating on this day, schools, universities, dance schools or theatre schools. The International Theatre Institute encourages every participant to coordinate the celebration with the local Theatre Organization or Community. The International Theatre Institute has eighty-five branches all across the world. They encourage schools and other educational institutions to celebrate World Theatre Day and acknowledge the importance of theatres.
Celebration of World Theatre Day
At the beginning of the celebration, the theme or the message of the celebration for that particular year is translated into several languages. Since there are a lot of linguistic communities existing in the world, translation of the messages would help most people to understand and analyze the theme. The translations are sent to the General Secretariat of the International Theatre Institution, who then upload it to the official website, which is then visible to everyone.
A video consisting of a prominent author reading the message for World Theatre Day based on the current theme is uploaded on YouTube. Since the Internet and YouTube are easily accessible to most people, everyone can participate in this event virtually from every part of the world. Also, this creates awareness, and more people would be more interested in theatres and drama.
Sometimes when the author is not available to deliver their speech, the International Theatre Institution asks its members to select a personality who is an eminent figure in the world of theatres. This certain personality delivers the speech instead of the author. Many theatre actors and famous personalities also attend the celebration.
In some counties, the message for the World Theatre Day celebration is sometimes read before the actual celebration starts. It can also be read during the interval in the lobby of the venue of the theatre. Pamphlets containing the author's biography are also distributed along with the tickets or at the entrance of the venue.
The message, along with the author's biography, is sent to several newspapers and magazines to be printed. The General Secretariat of the International Theatre Institute manages this entire process. The events of the celebration are also printed in several languages in the form of books and posters. Television, radio and other means of mass media are used to broadcast the events of the celebration.
The message is depicted by a special event, like performances, dinner, gala ball, fundraising or donating funds for charity and conferences.
When is World Theatre Day Celebrated?
World Theatre Day is celebrated annually on 27th March. It will be held on 27th March in 2022.
Theme of World Theatre Day
The theme for World Theatre Day for the year 2021 was "Theatre and how it is a culture of peace".
Some Interesting Facts About Theatre
- The word theatre is derived from a Greek word, which means "to see."
- The word Thespian comes from an ancient Greek performer, who is believed to be the first actor ever in the world.
- A dull light is always left lit at the theatres, and it is never left dark. This light is also referred to as the Ghost Light.
- The first woman got to act in a Shakespearean play, forty-four years after William Shakespeare passed away.
- The theatre production of the play The Mousetrap is the longest-running theatre production of all time. This murder mystery play was started in the year of 1952 and had been running continuously without a break, even to this day.
Theatre is a great source of entertainment and keeps the viewers hooked to their seats throughout the performances. The visuals of a theatre are stunning, and it pleases the eyes of the audience. The actors perform live, and their emotions touch the viewers' souls and feel connected to them. Although movies are taking over theatres, they would forever be the most classical source of entertainment. So, on World Theatre Day, we can try and take the initiative to spread awareness about the importance of theatres and give it the respect that it deserves.