World Theatre Day will be celebrated around the world March 27, 2007. In Toronto, local and international artists come together on March 26 to mark World Theatre Day at the Gladstone Hotel. The Goethe-Institut Toronto, Playwrights Guild of Canada, and the Consulate General of France in Toronto in association with the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) present a free evening of staged play readings of cutting-edge works by Canadian, French and German artists followed by a post-show reception. Toronto will also be celebrating World Theatre Day with free improvisational comedy workshops at The Second City and numerous Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) performances across the city.
Founded in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), World Theatre Day acknowledges the social and creative power of the performing arts and the collective act. Every year a prominent arts leader is chosen deliver the World Theatre Day International Message. This year the honour falls to H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Sharjah.
”[…] Theatre is instrument of unification through which man can spread love and peace. Theatre power also allows new channels of dialogue to open up between different races, different ethnicities, different colours and different creeds,” writes author and statesman Sultan Bin Mohammed in his message.
The Gladstone Hotel festivities begin at 6:00 pm, March 26 with presentations of excerpts from Falk Richter’s Electronic City, In Solitude of Cotton Fields by B.M. Koltès, and The Place Between by Michelle Olsen and Lisa C. Ravensbergen. The event is hosted by playwright and actor Marcia Johnson and features a keynote address by Governor General Award-winning playwright Daniel MacIvor. Readings will be staged throughout the hotel, followed by an after-party with the global beats of DJ Medicineman.
***Free World Theatre Day Workshops at The Second City
On March 27 The Second City is celebrating World Theatre Day by offering three free improv comedy workshops. Join the thousands of people who, every year, discover the exhilaration of improvisation. Actors take away skills for their craft, and non-actors take away skills for everyday life.
Workshops will take place at The Second City Training Centre, 70 Peter Street (King St. W. and Peter), Lower Level.
Session 1: 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Session 2: Noon – 12:45 pm
Session 3: 1:00pm – 1:45 pm
Space is limited and those interested should reserve a spot in advance by calling 416-340-7270.
For more information about The Second City Training Centre, visit http://www.secondcity.com.
***Free Theatre Museum Canada Panel Discussion
Theatre Museum Canada presents Places Please: The role of the stage manager at the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto March 27 from 7:00 to 8:30pm. Admission is free and it will be followed by a reception with cash bar.
This is the third in a series of panel discussions hosted by the Theatre Museum Canada designed to spotlight the backstage players working in the performing arts. Many people have asked what it is that a stage manager does and this is a chance for them to find out!
RSVP by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Michael Wallace at 416-413-7847
For more information about the Theatre Museum Canada, visit http://www.TheatreMuseumCanada.ca.
***World Theatre Day Pay-What –You-Can (PWYC) Performances
Most theatres in Toronto offer PWYC performances (usually Sunday matinees). As part of World Theatre Day, TAPA is spotlighting these terrific opportunities to celebrate theatre and see some great shows at an impossible-to-beat price. For full details, please contact the venue box office. Some participating theatres include:
House by Daniel MacIvor
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street
Box Office: 416-975-8555
Sunday March 25, 2007 2:30 pm PWYC
Lucy by Damien Atkins
CanStage, Berkley Street Theatre, 26 Berkley Street
Box Office: 416-368-3100
Monday March 26, 2007 8:00 pm PWYC
The Rocky Horror Show book, music and lyrics by Richard O’Brien
CanStage, Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front Street East
Box Office: 416-368-3100
Monday March 26, 2007 8:00 pm PWYC
Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad
Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Avenue
Box Office: 416-531-1827
Sunday March 25, 2007 2:30 pm PWYC
World Theatre Day:
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.
For more information on World Theatre Day and the full text of the World Theatre Day International, please visit http://www.iti-worldwide.org.
For over 40 years, the Goethe-Institut Toronto has been promoting an ongoing dialogue and exchange between Canadian and German artists and experts with the aim of presenting German culture abroad and help shape a current understanding of Germany today.
The program department organizes a broad range of events and supports projects in the fields of film and new media, arts, theatre and dance, music, literature, architecture and more.
Playwrights Guild of Canada:
PGC is a national association, which represents the interests of professional playwrights and promotes their work nationally and internationally. Playwrights Guild of Canada is a leader in defining where Canadian Theatre is today, and will be in the future.
Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts:
The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts is an arts service organization that represents nearly 200 professional theatre, dance and opera companies in the City of Toronto and works to create an environment in which the performing arts may flourish and maintain its leadership role in the vitality and liveability of the City of Toronto.
Among the programs and services provided by TAPA are: the T.O. TIX Booth—Toronto’s One-Stop Ticket Shop at Yonge-Dundas Square and online at http://www.totix.ca; the Dora Mavor Moore Awards; the Go Live Theatre Guide with current listings for theatre, dance and opera performances; http://www.goliveto.ca featuring comprehensive show listings; The City Special, offering free performing arts tickets to members of communities-at-risk; hipTIX, sponsored by BMO Financial Group, offering $5:00 tickets to students between the ages of 15 and 25; 5 Star Experiences, unique and affordable theatre packages; and the Commercial Theatre Development Fund.
For more information visit http://www.tapa.ca.
***BACKGROUNDER: WORLD THEATRE DAY
It was first in Helsinki, and then in Vienna at the 9th World Congress of the International Theatre Institute (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.
Set up in 1948, by UNESCO and world-renowned theatre personalities, the International Theatre Institute is the most important international non-governmental organization in the field of the performing arts enjoying formal relations (relations of consultation and association) with UNESCO. ITI seeks to promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in the domain of the performing arts, to stimulate creation and increase cooperation between theatre people, to make public opinion aware of the necessity of taking artistic creation into consideration in the domain of development, to deepen mutual understanding in order to participate in strengthening peace and friendship among peoples, to join in the defence of the ideals and aims of UNESCO.
The events organized to celebrate World Theatre Day are attempts to realize these objectives. 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.
Jean Cocteau was the author of the first International Message in 1962. In 1993 the Venezuelan ITI Centre published two anthologies, one containing all the Messages from 1962 to 1993 in their original language versions and a second collection in Spanish.
World Theatre Day is an occasion for theatre people to celebrate the power of the performing arts to bring people together, it is an opportunity to share with their audiences a certain vision of their art and its capacity to contribute to understanding and peace between peoples.
As well as the wide diffusion of the International Message, the central feature of W.T.D since its inception in 1961, World Theatre Day has included numerous events in all corners of the world, ranging from the almost intimate demonstration to the big popular celebration.
Events taking place to mark World Theatre Day include the following:
•International Festivals on the day or during the week or month including the 27th March. e.g. Japan, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Kuwait.
•Special performances : e.g. Belgium, Philippines, Cyprus, Tunisia, Romania, Sweden, Monaco, Spain, Zaire to name only a few.
•Symposia, Colloquia and Round table conferences on various aspects of the role of theatre in society. e.g. Greece, Bangladesh, Romania, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, India.
•Special Awards for excellence in Theatre and in Dance – in particular awards made in recognition of the international influence of the prize-winners’ activities. e.g. British, Israeli, Polish, Uganda, Russian and German ITI Centres among others.
•Inauguration of new theatres, theatre museums, and theatrical exhibitions
•National messages in many countries e.g.Croatia, Romania, Zimbabwe, Scandinavian and some Latin American countries.
•Articles in the press on theatre and commentaries on the International Message
•Radio and Television programmes on theatre, including those for special audiences. e.g. India, F.Y.R. of Macedonia and others
•Special broadcasts of dramatic productions on national and regional TV and radio stations
•Free performances or free theatre tickets traditionally available in some countries. e.g. Egypt, Chile, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Turkey. etc.
•Addresses by eminent national figures e.g. US, Scandinavian countries
•Decoration of theatres
•Popular balls, fairs and parades
•Special posters printed by ITI Centres for the occasion
•A special stamp which was issued by France on the first World Theatre Day, and in 1962 the Indian post cancelling the stamps on letters with an inscription celebrating the theatre and peace.
•Performances in aid of theatre charities e.g. Scandinavian countries, U.K.
•Presentation of theatre from other countries e.g. Croatia
Many events seem to fulfil a number of functions. While all events manifest an international aspect World Theatre Day celebrations often provide an opportunity for urban and provincial theatre within a particular country to come closer together. Through free performances and radio and TV programmes which can reach both the confirmed theatre-lover and those who have never seen a play, theatre professionals also develop and enhance links with their audiences.
Numerous events are multi-faceted and often organized by Centres with limited means at their disposal. To give an example, the Bangladesh ITI Centre and the Federation of Theatre Groups of Bangladesh celebrate World Theatre Day with the participation of the whole theatre community. A parade in the streets of Dhaka brings together more than 1000 actors and actresses in theatre costumes. Theatre exhibitions are organized, followed in the evening by the traditional lecture on theatre in Bangladesh and theatre performances by the different theatre companies.
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.
For more information visit http://www.iti-worldwide.org.
***World Theatre Day International Message 2007
By H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi
Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Sharjah.
It was during my early school days that I became fascinated by the theatre, that magical world which has captivated me ever since.
The beginnings were humble, a casual encounter which I only saw as an extracurricular activity to enrich the mind and spirit. But it was to be more than that when I became seriously involved as a writer, actor and director of a theatrical production. I remember it was a political play that angered the authorities at the time. Everything was confiscated, and the theatre was closed before my very eyes. But the spirit of the theatre could not be crushed by the heavy boots of the armed soldiers. That spirit sought refuge and settled deep in my inner being, making me fully aware of the vast power of the theatre. It was then that the true essence of the theatre impinged on me in a most profound way, I became absolutely convinced of what the theatre can do in the lives of nations, particularly in the face of those who cannot tolerate opposition or differences of opinion.
The power and spirit of the theatre took root and deepened in my conscience through my university years in Cairo. I avidly read almost everything written about the theatre, and saw the diverse range of what was being performed on the stage. This awareness has deepened even further in subsequent years as I have tried to follow the latest developments in the world of theatre.
In my reading about the theatre since the times of ancient Greeks up to the present, I have become acutely conscious of the inner magic which the many worlds of the theatre have the power to exercise. It is in this way that the theatre reaches the hidden depths of the human soul, and unlocks the hidden treasures that lie deep within the human spirit. This has strengthened my already unshakable faith in the power of the theatre, in the theatre as an instrument of unification through which man can spread love and peace. Theatre power also allows new channels of dialogue to open up between different races, different ethnicities, different colors and different creeds. This has personally taught me to accept others as they are and instilled in me the belief that in goodness humanity can stand united, and in evil humanity can only be divided.
True, the struggle between good and evil is intrinsic to the code of the theatre. Ultimately, however, common sense prevails and human nature will by and large align itself with all that is good, pure and virtuous.
The wars with which humanity has been afflicted ever since ancient times have always been motivated by evil instincts which simply do not recognize beauty. The theatre does appreciate beauty, and one could even argue that no art form is capable of capturing beauty more faithfully than the theatre. Theatre is an all-encompassing receptacle for all forms of beauty, and those who do not value beauty cannot value life.
Theatre is life. There has never been a time as now when it is incumbent on all of us to denounce futile wars and doctrinal differences which often raise their ugly heads undeterred by the conscience that is vibrant with responsibility.
We need to put an end to scenes of violence and random killings. These scenes have become common occurrences in today’s world, only to be aggravated by abysmal differences between wicked affluence and abject poverty, and by diseases like AIDS which have bedevilled many parts of the globe and defeated the best of efforts to eradicate them. These ills are alongside other forms of suffering from desertification and drought, calamities fanned by the absence of any genuine dialogue which is the sure way of turning our world into a better and happier place.
Oh Theatre People, it is almost as if we have been struck by a storm, and overwhelmed by the dust of doubt and suspicion which is approaching us.
Visibility has become almost totally eclipsed, and our voices shrill and barely audible in the clamor and division intent on keeping us far apart from one another. In fact, were it not for our deep-rooted belief in dialogue so uniquely manifested by such art forms as the theatre, we would have been swept away by the storm which leaves no stone unturned to divide us. We must, therefore, face up to and challenge those who never tire of agitating the storm. We must face up them, not to destroy them, but to rise above the contaminated atmosphere left in the wake of their storms. We need to rally our efforts and to devote them to communicating our message and establishing bonds of friendship with those calling for brotherhood among nations and peoples.
We are mere mortals, but the theatre is as eternal as life itself.
H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi
Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Sharjah.
Academic Background: Bachelor of Science majoring in Agricultural Engineering, 1971, Cairo University, Egypt • Doctor of Philosophy with Distinction in History, Exeter University, 1985, Exeter, United Kingdom • Doctor of Philosophy in Political Geography of the Gulf, Durham University, 1999, Durham, United Kingdom.
His Highness was made an Honorary Fellow, African Studies Institute, 1977, and received an honorary law degree (1986) from Khartoum University, Sudan. He has received honorary doctorates from numerous universities: Exeter University, U.K (in Literature, 1985); Faisalabad University – Punjab, Pakistan; Eastern Studies Institute, Academy of Russian Studies (in History 1995); from the University of Danbur; the Islamic University of Malaysia; South Bank University, U.K. and in 2005, from Mac Master, Canada.
Professional Positions Held: Minister of Education, United Arab Emirates (1971 – 1972) • Ruler of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (since 1972 ) • Member of the Supreme Council of UAE (since 1972) • Honorary Member of Centre of Middle East & Islamic Studies, University of Durham, United Kingdom (since 1992) • President, University of Sharjah since 1997 – President, American University of Sharjah (since 1997) • Honorary President for Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (since 1998) • Visiting Professor, Exeter University (since 1998) • President, Honorary Council, World University Service (WUS) (since 1998) • Professor, Modern History of the Gulf, Universtity of Sharjah (since 1999) • Honorary president of Egyptian Association for the Study of History (since 2001).
Distinctions: Award of the Institute of Research in Islamic History, Arts and Culture (Istanbul) in association with the organisation of the Islamic Seminar, for the preservation of Cultural Heritage and encouraging of Education; a Decoration from the Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO); the 2002 King Faisal Award for Islam and Muslims; the Gold Medal for Arabic Culture from the Arab Association for Education, Culture and Science.
His Highness received the French decorations Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres for Arts & Literature, and the Legion of Honour in 2003. In 2003 he also received the Medal for Human Rights from UNESCO for supporting children, schools and studies. He was Guest of Honour for Al Qareen 10th Cultural Festival, Kuwait, January 2004. His Highness’ was made a Member of the National Geographic Society in 2004, in recognition of His support to this body chartered in 1888 for the diffusing of geographic knowledge and promoting research and exploration.
Works : Omani – French Relations (1715-1905) (Arabic/French/English) • Return of Holako (Arabic, English, German, Russian) • Journals of David Seton in the Gulf (1800-1809) (Arabic/English) • The White Sheikh (Arabic, English, Russian, German, French, Danish, Spanish) • John Malcolm and the British Commercial Base in the Gulf (Arabic/English) • Arab-Omani documents in the French Archives Centres (Arabic) • Myth of Arab Piracy in the Gulf (English) • Letters of Somali leaders to Sheikh Sultan Bin Saqr Al Quassimi , 1837 (Arabic) • The Gulf in Historic Maps: Vol-1 (1493-1931); Vol-2 (1478-1861) (English) • The British Occupation of Aden (Arabic) • Division of the Omani Empire (1856-1862) (Arabic) • The Rebel Prince (Arabic, German, French) • The Case (Arabic, Russian, Spanish, German) • The Struggle of Powers and Trade in the Gulf (English) • Ibn Majid (Arabic, Russian, Spanish) • The Reality (Arabic, Russian) • The Inborn Prejudice (Arabic, Russian, Spanish) • Memorandum on Kuwait (Arabic).