8th Theatre Olympics kicks off on Feb 17
The 51-day-long international festival will be inaugurated at the majestic Red Fort by VP of India
Theatre lovers in India have a reason to rejoice! The country is set to host the largest international theatre festival – the 8th Theatre Olympics – for the first time, with participation from 30 countries in a series of performances to be held across India.
The 51-day-long event will be inaugurated at the majestic Red Fort on February 17 at 6:30 pm by Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu. The 8th Theatre Olympics 2018 will travel to 17 Indian cities with 450 shows, 600 ambience performances and 250 power packed youth forum shows with the participation of 25,000 artists from the globe. The festival will conclude on April 8, with a grand ceremony at the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai.
The theatrical extravaganza is being hosted in India by the National School of Drama under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The theme of the 8th Theatre Olympics is "Flag of Friendship" that aims to bridge borders and bring people of different cultures, beliefs and ideologies together through the medium of theatrical art.
Since 1993, the Theatre Olympics has been held seven times in the following countries: Japan (1999), Russia (2001), Turkey (2006), South Korea (2010), China (2014), Poland (2016). The festival is considered to be the biggest international celebration of theatre in terms of plays, participants, performances and number of days. During the festival, plays will be held in Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Imphal, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi.
Participants from 30 countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mauritius, Nepal, Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and U.S.A. would showcase their acumen in theatre. Theatre and film veterans of the likes of Shabana Azmi, Paresh Rawal, Manoj Joshi, Himani Shivpuri, Seema Biswas and Saurabh Shukla will also take part in this grand theatrical treat.
"I thank and congratulate the international theatre community for providing India with this grand opportunity. Theatre mirrors our lives and is a strong and powerful medium which intricately and beautifully portrays social issues on a larger platform. India is proud to host the 8th Theatre Olympics 2018 and showcase its cultural strength to the world," says Union Minister of State for Culture (IC), Dr Mahesh Sharma.
Numerous allied activities like seminars, symposia, 'Interface' and workshops with well-known academicians, scholars, authors, actors, designers and directors are scheduled to take place across 17 cities. The allied programs would boast of 60 'Living Legends' series and 50 'Master Classes'.
The 8th Theatre Olympics would also include two international seminars in Delhi and Mumbai with six national seminars in Bhopal, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kolkata and Varanasi.
The best way to preserve knowledge is to pass it on. Upholding this spirit, the students of National School of Drama are all pumped up for the theatre festival. Through the youth forum of National School of Drama, "Advitiya 2018", young voices are being channelled through street plays, music bands, short playwriting and theatre reporting. There will be a competition on short playwriting with cash prizes of Rs 25,000, 50,000 and one lakh.
"For the past three years, we had the dream to bring Theatre Olympics to India. The dream that we had seen has come true. Since we began to envision and achieve this feat, Dr Mahesh Sharma and the Ministry of Culture have extended wholehearted support to the idea and have played an instrumental role in making it a reality.
Throughout centuries we have seen playwright like Shakespeare and Bertolt Brecht becoming a part of Indian theatre, while despite having our own extraordinary playwrights and theatrical figures, we are still to make a similar impact. This is a huge leap towards that direction of putting Indian theatre on the world map," says Prof. Waman Kendre, Director, NSD.