Vita Gazette

News from Italy

World Theater Day

Vita gazette – Like all branches of art, theater is a type of communication that is done from person to person without any intermediary. If this communication is established in a perfect language, neither enmity, war nor years can come between them… The love between them continues as the world turns…

Today, “27 March World Theater Day” is celebrated; In 1948, the International Theater Institute (ITI) was born, first under the leadership of UNESCO, thanks to people from the world of culture and entertainment. And then the International Theater Institute’s IX. During the world congress, in 1961 in Vienna, it was decided to celebrate 27 March as World Theater Day. ITI is the most important international non-governmental organization in this industry, with the mandate to “promote international exchanges in the knowledge and practice of the performing arts”. It also promotes a commitment to fostering peace and friendship among peoples by supporting theatrical production and creativity. Given a mission in line with the aims and values ​​pursued by UNESCO, ITI aims to raise public awareness of the value of artistic creation.

an international message

Every year, on the occasion of March 27, a person from the world of theater or culture is invited to express one of his thoughts. That person’s message is translated into many languages ​​and read in all theaters of the planet. Last year, this task was given to Helen Mirren. In his message, Mirren said, “The creative drive of writers, designers, dancers, sound artists, actors, musicians, directors will never be suppressed and will bear fruit again in the very near future with a new energy, a new understanding of this world we all share.”

World Theatre Day Message 2022 by Peter SELLARS

Dear Friends,

As the world hangs by the hour and by the minute on a daily drip-feed of news reportage, may I invite all of us, as creators, to enter our proper scope and sphere and perspective of epic time, epic change, epic awareness, epic reflection, and epic vision?  We are living in an epic period in human history and the deep and consequential changes we are experiencing in human beings’ relations to themselves, to each other, and to nonhuman worlds are nearly beyond our abilities to grasp, to articulate, to speak of, and to express.

We are not living in the 24-hour news cycle, we are living at the edge of time. Newspapers and media are completely unequipped and unable to deal with what we are experiencing.

Where is the language, what are the moves, and what are the images that might allow us to comprehend the deep shifts and ruptures that we are experiencing? And how can we convey the content of our lives right now not as reportage but as experience? 

Theatre is the artform of experience.

In a world overwhelmed by vast press campaigns, simulated experiences, ghastly prognostications, how can we reach beyond the endless repeating of numbers to experience the sanctity and infinity of a single life, a single ecosystem, a friendship, or the quality of light in a strange sky? Two years of COVID-19 have dimmed people’s senses, narrowed people’s lives, broken connections, and put us at a strange ground zero of human habitation.

What seeds need to be planted and replanted in these years, and what are the overgrown, invasive species that need to be fully and finally removed? So many people are on edge. So much violence is flaring, irrationally or unexpectedly. So many established systems have been revealed as structures of ongoing cruelty. 

Where are our ceremonies of remembrance? What do we need to remember? What are the rituals that allow us, at last, to reimagine and begin to rehearse steps that we have never taken before?

The theatre of epic vision, purpose, recovery, repair, and care needs new rituals. We don’t need to be entertained. We need to gather. We need to share space, and we need to cultivate shared space. We need protected spaces of deep listening and equality.

Theatre is the creation on earth of the space of equality between humans, gods, plants, animals, raindrops, tears, and regeneration. The space of equality and deep listening is illuminated by hidden beauty, kept alive in a deep interaction of danger, equanimity, wisdom, action, and patience. 

In The Flower Ornament Sutra, Buddha lists ten kinds of great patience in human life. One of the most powerful is called Patience in Perceiving All as Mirages. Theatre has always presented the life of this world as resembling a mirage, enabling us to see through human illusion, delusion, blindness, and denial with liberating clarity and force.

We are so certain of what we are looking at and the way we are looking at it that we are unable to see and feel alternative realities, new possibilities, different approaches, invisible relationships, and timeless connections.

This is a time for the deep refreshment of our minds, of our senses, of our imaginations, of our histories, and of our futures. This work cannot be done by isolated people working alone. This is work that we need to do together. Theatre is the invitation to do this work together.

Thank you deeply for your work.

Peter Sellars



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