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March 28, 2011

World Theater Day 2011

March 26, 2011, 10:12pm

MANILA, Philippines – Created in 1961 by the International Theater Institute (ITI), World Theater Day (WTD) is celebrated annually on the 27th of March by ITI Centers and international theater community. Every year, an outstanding figure usually in the field of theatre, is invited by ITI to share his/her reflections on theater and international harmony. Among those who have given their international messages are: Edward Albee, Augusto Boal, Jean Cocteau, Arthur Miller, Pablo Neruda, Laurence Olivier, and Helen Weigel.

This year, the WTD International Message was written by Jessica Kaahwa of Uganda, who called attention to the power of the theater “to mobilize communities and bridge the divides” and its potent ability to serve as a tool for peace and reconciliation and engage in the politics of people’s situations in simple straightforward ways.

Leading the ITI WTD celebration is the International University Theater Association (IUTA), which was established in 1994 at the Universite de Liege with the aim of developing and promoting theater training, creation, and theoretical and practical research. The association has members in over 50 countries including the Philippines. Various national and international theater events have been organized to mark the occasion. In Manila, a week-long interaction between various theater organizations in universities and colleges and two German theater experts – Christine Schmalor, director, acting teacher and co-founder of AKT-KENT International Theater Center Berlin, and Dr. Jurij Alschitz, director, theater teacher, and academic who trained under J.N. Malkovsky.

The theater has been cited as an effective tool for advocating and advancing the cause of peace, It is in itself threatening and is inclusive, and like music, it has become a Universal language by which messages of peace and reconciliation can be freely advanced.

As we observe World Theater Day this year, we are all urged to ponder on the prospect of optimizing the use of the theater – a spontaneous, human, inexpensive, and powerful medium – as a viable universal tool for undertaking dialogue toward the achievement of sustainable social transformation, international cooperation and tolerance, and peace.

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