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8th Theatre Olympics culminates in Mumbai

After 51 days and 17 cities, the biggest international theatre festival – which came to India for the first time – came to an end. The 9th Theatre Olympics will be jointly organised by Russia and Japan.

8th Theatre Olympics culminates in Mumbai
After a glorious run of 51 days across 17 cities of India, the 8th Theatre Olympics, which happened in India for the first time, drew to a colourful close. The festival had its grand closing ceremony in Mumbai and also staged two final productions in Delhi on March 8 i.e., the culmination day.
While Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis was present as the Chief Guest at the closing ceremony, Minister of State (I/C), Ministry of Culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma, eminent film personality Nana Patekar came as the Guests of Honour.
The closing ceremony was honoured by the presence of Artistic Director, 8th Theatre Olympics, Ratan Thiyam and presided over by Acting Chairman, National School of Drama Society, Dr Arjun Deo Charan. Theodoros Terzopoulos – Chairman of the International Committee of Theatre Olympics, M L Srivastava – Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, and popular theatre and film personality Nawazuddin Siddiqui were special guests at the event. Director of National School of Drama (NSD), Prof. Waman Kendre, was also present on the occasion.
"We get many chances to show our strength and potentials, but 8th Theatre Olympics has given us unprecedented opportunity to show the power of our culture," said Prof. Waman Kendre, Director, NSD.
"8th Theatre Olympics could not have been possible without the inspirational support of Dr Mahesh Sharma, our beloved and visionary Culture Minister, Government of India. NSD is proud to have organised an event that has shown the cultural might of India, a vision shown by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he further added.
While the closing ceremony was being held in Mumbai, the Capital held its last 'Meet The Director' session where eminent theatre critics, Diwan Singh Bajeli and Renu Arora joined the panel with directors of the plays staged on Saturday.
One of the closing plays in the city was 'Derailed'. This Hindi play, directed by Devendra Ahirwar pivots around Savitri, a middle-aged woman, who is dissatisfied with her circumstances. She has an unemployed son, a promiscuous teen daughter and a husband, who has failed to provide her emotional and financial security. 'The Brink! Or A Ritual Of Bad Sounds' was the concluding play. This English play, directed by Thom Pasculli is based on the popular story of Shakuntala and brings about a subtle analysis of socio-political aspects of the period along with a poetic depiction of the love tale of Dushyanta and Shakuntala.
"I wish the Indian theatre, with the support of Indian government should dominate the world. The 9th Theatre Olympics will be jointly organised by Russia and Japan," informed Chairman of the International Committee of Theatre Olympics, Theodoros Terzopoulos.
This edition of Theatre Olympics brought together approximately 25,000 artists under the theme "Flag of Friendship". The event witnessed 450 shows from more than 30 countries performed across 17 cities such as Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Imphal, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram, and Varanasi during the festival.
"I am really happy that Prof. Waman Kendre has taken theatre on another level. I appreciate your work and thank you, for you have kept theatre alive. Thanks for being associated with theatre for so long in all possible manner," said Nana Patekar.
"Our rich heritage and culture is the reason that India stands united today despite the diversity. Life is like theatre. Like life, it goes on; it is only time, settings and people that change. It is true for this city Mumbai, which goes on in all situations. The entire nation should be woven into the cultural fabric to create a united India. Through Theatre Olympics, we have commenced our journey to reach that goal," said Minister of Culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, in his speech, said, "I thank Dr Mahesh Sharma and NSD to have selected Mumbai to organise the final phase of Theatre Olympics. Maharashtra is known as the birthplace of cinema, but actually, Maharashtra has been the centre for theatrical activities. Our theatre will flourish from generation to generation. Without even the technical aspects of movies, theatre is able to create the effect through acting, and hence, our theatre will never die."
"Theatre is a place where we can reflect all emotions and sentiments of society. Politics also has a bit of theatre in this. If we do our role well, people give us support and when we fail to play our role, they reject us. This I see a parallel between the theatre and politics," he further added.
'Rang Shikhar', a vibrant collage of tribal, folk and theatre performances, followed the closing ceremony. Renowned actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manoj Joshi, Himani Shivpuri, Sachin Khedekar, along with well-known ventriloquist and puppeteer Ramdas Padhye, famous Bharatnatyam dancer Sandhya Purecha and famed Lavani dancer Vaishali Jadhav, performed at the presentation.
The 51-day long 8th Theatre Olympics staged more than 400 plays and hosted 78 allied events including 34 living legend series, 29 master classes, 7 interfaces, 6 national and international seminars and 2 workshops across 17 cities. Besides, about 600 ambience performances and 250 youth forum shows took place during the nationwide event.
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