05 April 2011

World Theatre Day - 27 March



Date of Issue : 27 March 2011


March 27 marks the annual World Theatre Day, celebrating the millennia-old tradition and reminding us of its many powers and purposes. The Italian Post has released a stamp to commemorate the World Theatre Day 2011.

The stamp shows the poster created on the occasion of World Theatre Day, entitled "Interaction", featuring the outline of an actor on the stage before an audience, with a palette of colors on his breast designed to represent the mystery and energy of the interplay between cast and audience; at the centre of the illustration there is a butterfly in flight, creating a link between the actor and his audience .


World Theatre Day was created in 1961 by 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, more than a hundred radio and television stations transmitting the Message to listeners in all corners of the five continents.

This year’s message is written by Jessica Kaahwa, Ph.D., a teacher of Drama and Literature at Makerere University in Uganda.


Jessica Kaahwa - Message 2011

A Case for Theatre in Service of Humanity

Today’s gathering is a true reflection of the immense potential of theatre to mobilize communities and bridge the divides.

Have you ever imagined that theatre could be a powerful tool for peace and reconciliation? While nations spend colossal sums of money on peace-keeping missions in violent conflict areas of the world, little attention is given to theatre as a one-on-one alternative for conflict transformation and management. How can the citizens of mother-earth achieve universal peace when the instruments employed come from outside and seemingly repressive powers?

Theatre subtly permeates the human soul gripped by fear and suspicion, by altering the image of self - and opening a world of alternatives for the individual and hence the community.  It can give meaning to daily realities while forestalling an uncertain future. It can engage in the politics of peoples' situations in simple straightforward ways. Because it is inclusive, theatre can present an experience capable of transcending previously held misconceptions.

Additionally, theatre is a proven means of advocating and advancing ideas that we collectively hold and are willing to fight for when violated. Read More….

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