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_World Theatre Day


Prize of the German Centre of the ITI 2007

Prize of the German Centre of the ITI 2006

Prize of the German Centre of the ITI 2005



It was first in Helsinki, and then in Vienna at the 9th World Congress of the INTERNATIONAL THEATRE INSTITUTE 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.

Set up in 1948, by UNESCO and world-renowned theatre personalities, the International Theatre Institute is the most important international non-governmental organization in the field of the performing arts enjoying formal relations (relations of consultation and association) with UNESCO.

ITI seeks

    "to promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in the domain of the performing arts, to stimulate creation and increase cooperation between theatre people, to make public opinion aware of the necessity of taking artistic creation into consideration in the domain of development, to deepen mutual understanding in order to participate in strengthening peace and friendship among peoples, to join in the defence of the ideals and aims of UNESCO."


International Messages

Jean Cocteau was the author of the first International Message in 1962. In 1993 the Venezuelan ITI Centre published two anthologies, one containing all the Messages from 1962 to 1993 in their original language versions and a second collection in Spanish.
As well as the wide diffusion of the International Message, the central feature of W.T.D since its inception in 1961, World Theatre Day has included numerous events in all corners of the world, ranging from the almost intimate demonstration to the big popular celebration.



The events organized to celebrate World Theatre Day are attempts to realise these objectives. 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, more than a hundred radio and television stations transmitting the Message to listeners in all corners of the five continents.

World Theatre Day is an occasion for theatre people to celebrate the power of the performing arts to bring people together, it is an opportunity to share with their audiences a certain vision of their art and its capacity to contribute to understanding and peace between peoples.

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