“And may the best of you – for it will only be the best of you, and even then only in the rarest and briefest moments – succeed in framing that most basic of questions, ‘how do we live?’”
– John Malkovich
TCG and the International Theatre Institute (ITI) are pleased to release John Malkovich’s International Message to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of World Theatre Day on March 27, 2012. Each year, a renowned theatre artist of world stature is invited by ITI Worldwide in Paris to craft an international message to mark the global occasion. This message will be translated into more than 20 languages, and TCG/ITI-US invites all theatres, individual artists, institutions and audiences to share this speech to widen awareness of World Theatre Day.
On March 22, 2012, Malkovich will deliver his message at UNESCO in Paris at a gala event that will include readings of play excerpts with Malkovich and other theatre artists. More information on this event can be found on the ITI-Worldwide website.
TCG is working with their membership and national partners on ongoing World Theatre Day projects like I AM THEATRE and the Generations Without Borders essay contest. The growing numbers of activities can be viewed using an interactive world map and include:
- SHINSAI: Theaters for Japan, a nationwide fundraising event on March 11, the first anniversary of the earthquakes, involving almost 70 theatres across over 20 states to raise relief funds for the Japanese theatre community affected by the disaster ;
- LASTAGETalks, a free live event series for the performing arts community of Los Angeles, CA, produced by LA STAGE Alliance, kicks off March 23 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre with “What is the Intrinsic Impact of Live Theatre?”, focusing on the release of the 2011 Intrinsic Impact research done by Theatre Bay Area and WolfBrown;
- Panel discussions hosted by the League of Chicago Theatres, featuring speakers like Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of Baltimore’s Center Stage, and a lecture from the artistic director of Poland’s Teatr Zar, who will be in residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art;
- SPLATs, or Spontaneous Public Live Action Theatre, will be organized in public spaces around New York City on March 24 by the NYC World Theatre Day Coalition;
- Cultural Diversity, Community Identity, a free Open Space meeting surrounding theatre hosted by The Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance (GVPTA) in Vancouver, BC, Canada on March 27.
“John Malkovich’s international message is a heartfelt call to action for all theatre-makers to renew their commitment to the human necessity of their work,” said Teresa Eyring, Executive Director of TCG. “The growing participation in World Theatre Day 2012 reminds us how that commitment can be strengthened by connecting work on a local level to our increasingly international theatre movement.”
“We are thrilled to be joining the world in celebration of our art form,” said Deb Clapp, Executive Director of League of Chicago Theatres. “World Theatre Day presents an opportunity for all of us to come together and explore new opportunities for engagement with a global community of theatre-makers, creating understanding across borders and opening dialogue about new forms of expression.”
“The GVPTA sees great value in celebrating World Theatre Day because it offers us an opportunity to recognize the creativity of theatre artists in cultures and communities around the world, and grow local awareness of just how many of these cultures are represented by theatre makers who are at home here in Metro Vancouver,” said Eleanor Stacey, Executive Director of The Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance.
“In a city where there is so much theatre, we at the NYC World Theatre Day Coalition feel it is important to pause for a moment to celebrate the great work that is being created and performed everyday and to look outward and recognize that we are part of a world-wide and centuries old tradition,” said Amanda Feldman, Coordinator of the NYC World Theatre Coalition.
John Malkovich is a founding member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company and has worked on 33 productions with the company since 1976. In 1983 he won an Obie for his performance in Sam Shepard’s True West. The following year, he appeared with Dustin Hoffman in the Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman, which earned him an Emmy in 1985 when it was made into a television film. He rose to fame in cinema with his interpretation of Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons by Stephen Frears, alongside Michelle Pfeiffer and Glenn Close. After this role he acted in more than 70 movies internationally, receiving Academy Award nominations for Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire and playing a version of himself in the films Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. He has periodically returned to Chicago to act and direct, and was recently seen in the international tour of The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a serial killer. This production traveled to nearly 20 countries and received its New York premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 2011. He also directed his third theatre production in Paris, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, at the Théâtre de l’Atelier following the success of Hysteria (2002) and The Good Canary (2007) for which he was awarded the Molière Award for best staging.
The first World Theatre Day international message was written by Jean Cocteau in 1962. Succeeding honorees include Arthur Miller (1963), Ellen Stewart (1975), Vaclav Havel (1994), Ariane Mnouchkine (2005), Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi (2007), Augusto Boal (2009), Dame Judi Dench (2010) and Jessica A. Kaahwa (2011).
International Theatre Institute (ITI) was formed in 1948, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) joined with world-renowned theatre experts to form an international non-governmental organization in the field of the performing arts. The mission of ITI is to “promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in theatre arts in order to consolidate peace and friendship between peoples, to deepen mutual understanding and to increase creative cooperation between all people in the theatre arts.” Today, ITI consists of approximately 90 Centers worldwide. An ITI Center is made up of professionals active in the theatre life of a country and representative of all branches of the performing arts. For more information, visit www.iti-worldwide.org/.