The Vice President of India inaugurates the international Theatre Olympics being held in India for the first time; Releases festival logo: ‘Flag of Friendship’
The Theatre Olympics will present a unique and rare opportunity to theatre enthusiasts to appreciate richness of world theatre movement: Prime Minister
The Vice President of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the 8th international Theatre Olympics 2018 at the majestic Red Fort in New Delhi today. The Minister of State for Culture (I/C) and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr Mahesh Sharma, Theodoros Terzopoulos (Chairman of International Committee of Theatre Olympics, Greece), Acting Chairman of National School of Drama Society, Dr. Arjun Deo Charan, Prof. Waman Kendre, Director, National School of Drama, Culture representatives from Poland ; Secretary, Culture, Shri Raghvendra Singh and a large number of dignitaries representing various fields of art and culture were present on the occasion. The Vice President also released the festival logo.
The 51-day-long event will be theatrical extravaganza is being hosted in India by the National School of Drama under the aegis of Ministry of Culture. 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.
Addressing the gathering, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu said that all arts, all thoughts must move in one direction to bring in universal brotherhood. The Vice President said that art and cultural ties have united humanity from time immemorial and ancient civilizations like the Greek, Roman, Babylonian, Egyptian and Indus Valley civilizations have enriched the cultural capital of the world. He further said that art is a mirror of the society and is reflection of the lives of people. It is a creative transformation of the stories of ordinary lives into an extraordinary art form, he added.
The Vice President also said that art forms touch human hearts like no other impulse and it can produce different aesthetic responses in the viewers. He further said that art can move them to tears, make them laugh heartily, make them feel angry about an issue, make them feel disgusted about some reality. There are a whole lot of emotions it can generate, he added.
The Vice President quoted a song composed by the Indian Saint, Paramacharya Chandrashekhara Saraswathi and which echoes the timeless Indian vision of the whole world as one family: “Maithreem Bhajatha Akhila Hrith Jethreem” (Cultivate Friendship and Humility, which will conquer the Hearts of Everyone). This is the message that India has been giving the world for many centuries and it is probably a message that is most relevant in a world that is torn with narrow, fractured vision, he added.
The Vice President welcomed all the artists from around the world and expressed his hope that they will share with each other different facets of their artistic excellence and take away pleasant memories of their stay here. He further complimented the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and the country’s premier theatre institute, the National School of Drama.
The message of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi was also read out to the gathering , “India, which has a proud heritage of theatre culture, has produced theatre geniuses from the classical ages onto the modern times. The 8th edition of theatre Olympics which will showcase finest productions from across the world will present a unique and rare opportunity to all the theatre enthusiasts in the country to appreciate the richness of the world theatre movement……….I am sure that the drama enthusiasts in our country will relish this celebration of the performance art uniting countries and continents through the world theatre.”
Dr Mahesh Sharma , in his address, highlighted the power of theatre to connect to the common man in a simple manner and its ability to bring about social change. In his message, Dr Sharma said that it is a matter of great pride for India to host the international theatre festival . India has a rich and diverse theatre tradition since ancient times and the Olympiad will bring together people to share and celebrate the unparalleled bonding of artists’ fraternity, he added.
Theodoros Terzopoulos highlighted the importance of theatre to keep alive the spirit of humanism. Secretary, Culture ,Shri Raghvendra Singh in his welcome address said that the theatre Olympiad will raise the theatre movement in India to the next level. Prof Waman Kendre said that it is a historic moment for Indian culture and theatre movement to host a festival of such a large magnitude and will help to draw international attention to Indian theatre, its forms and philosophy.
The Theatre Olympics 2018 will travel to 17 Indian cities with 450 shows, 600 ambience performances and 250 power packed youth forum shows with participation of 25,000 artists from the globe. The festival will be concluded on 8th April 2018, with a grand ceremony at the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai.
The National School of Drama is the torchbearer of theatre in India and has trained some of the most respected actors and theatre stalwarts of all time. Established in 1959, it has a proud legacy spanning over six decades of theatrical perfection. Hosting the 8th Theatre Olympics adds another feather to the cap of this history institution.
The festival is considered 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, U.K and U.S.A would showcase their acumen in theatre.
The foreign invitees are Theodoros Terzopoulos (Chairman of International Committee of Theatre Olympics, Greece), Tadashi Suzuki (Japan), Robert Wilson (U.S.A), Liu Libin (China), Jaroslaw Fret (Poland), SahikaTekand (Turkey), Eugenio Barba (Denmark), Romeo Castellucci (Italy), Heiner Goebbels (Germany), PippoDelbono (Italy), Jan Fabre (Belgium). Among the Indian theatre maestros are RatanThiyam, AlyquePadamsee, Rudra Prasad Sengupta, M.K Raina, Raj Bisaria, Bansi Kaul, Prof.Tripurari Sharma, Maya Rao and Soumitra Chatterjee.
Numerous allied activities like exhibitions, symposia, ‘Interface’ and workshops with well-known academicians, 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 2 international seminars in Delhi and Mumbai with 6 national seminars in Bhopal, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kolkata and Varanasi. 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 during this grand theatrical treat.
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, “Advitya 2018”, young voices are being channelled through competitions like street plays, music bands, short play writing and theatre reporting. The competition on short play writing will have cash prizes of INR 25,000, 50,000 and 1 lakh. The youth forum will include eight diploma productions by outgoing design students of NSD, three plays from regional centres of NSD and three in-house productions by current students of NSD.
The Theatre Olympics was established in 1993 at Delphi, Greece. Being an international theatre festival, the Theatre Olympics presents some of the greatest theatre practitioners from around the world. It is a platform for theatrical exchange, a gathering place for students and masters, where a dialogue despite ideological, culture and language differences is encouraged. 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 theme of the latest edition of Theatre Olympics being held in India is “Flag of Friendship”. This most awaited event of world theatre in India attempts to bring all the creative minds from across the globe to this ‘NatyaMahakumbh’.