"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.."
Forget not these lines on this World Theatre Day. Celebrated annually on March 27, the day looks on to create awareness about the medium of theatre in our lives.
A sneak peek to its history
The day was originally created by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), the world organisation for the performing arts Helsinki, Finland. It was in 1961, at 9th World Congress of ITI that the idea was proposed and eventually decided, that a World Theatre should be instituted.
Thus, for the first time on 27 March 1962, the date of the opening of the "Theatre of Nations" season in Paris was celebrated as the World Theatre Day. Ever since, each year on that date, the Day is celebrated on a global scale.
Significance of the day
One of the most important aspects of World Theatre Day 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. At present, there are over 90 ITI centers throughout the world.
It is undoubtedly a very important day for all professionals, theatre lovers, theatre universities, academies and schools who mark this day.
In the backdrop of the Covid-19 outbreak, all the activities for this year's celebration will be conducted online.
The goals of the day
The goals of World Theatre Day, as with International Dance Day are:
• To promote the art form across the world.
• To make people aware of the value of the art form.
• To enable the dance and theatre communities to promote their work on a broad scale so that opinion leaders are aware of the value of these forms and support them.
• To enjoy the art form for its own sake.
The first ever kind of plays took place in the Theatre of Dionysus, situated in the Acropolis in Athens during the beginning of the 5th century. However, theatres became so popular that they spread all over Greece, then to Rome, England and then wide across.
In India, despite the popularity of multiplexes, theatres and other avenues of entertainment, theatre continues to thrive, through dramas, street plays and more, especially in the college circuit.