52nd Annual World Theatre Day Messages

by TCG News

in Global Citizenship

Post image for 52nd Annual World Theatre Day Messages

“Wherever there is human society, the irrepressible Spirit of Performance manifests.”
–Brett Bailey, International Message

“The power of seeing yourself on stage is like no other. Let’s give that experience to all who live in our cities, our states, our countries.”
–Diane Rodriguez, U.S. Message

We are pleased to release Brett Bailey and Diane Rodriguez’s World Theatre Day 2014 messages. Each year, a renowned theatre artist of world stature is invited by ITI Worldwide in Paris to craft the International Message, which is then translated into more than 20 languages to mark the global occasion. This year, TCG has renewed their tradition of asking a noted U.S. artist to also reflect on the themes of World Theatre Day.

The International Message from South African playwright, designer, director, installation maker and artistic director of Third World Bunfight, Brett Bailey, will be delivered at the Al-Bugga International Theatre Festival in Sudan. Noted theatre artist and TCG board chair Diane Rodriguez, the associate producer/director of new play production at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, has written the U.S. Message, and both messages are now available on the TCG website: http://www.tcg.org/international/events/wtd.cfm?type=4.

Through World Theatre Day, held annually on March 27, TCG/ITI-US celebrates the power of theatre to strengthen cultural exchange and mutual understanding across borders. TCG/ITI-US and ITI Worldwide suggest a number of ways to engage with World Theatre Day 2014:

  • Share Bailey and Rodriguez’s messages on or around March 27 through program notes, curtain speeches and online media.
  • Tweet Bailey and Rodriguez’s messages and other World Theatre Day activities with the Twitter hashtag #WTD14.
  • View videos of international theatre artists reading translations of Bailey’s message in their own language on the ITI website: http://www.iti-worldwide.org/.
  • Read the World Theatre Day/Crossing Borders salon on the TCG Circle, which features interviews with and essays from Mexican and Canadian artists, as well as other globally-minded theatre people working across borders: http://www.tcgcircle.org/.

“The Living Theatre’s Julian Beck once wrote, ‘You must enter the theatre through the world,’” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. “Both Diane Rodriguez and Brett Bailey’s messages carry that spirit forward, calling for theatres to engage with the full diversity of their communities and to serve as catalysts for positive social change.”

“We live in a world where weapons are used instead of an open, creative dialogue. Theatre is the art of a live, creative dialogue,” said Tobias Biancone, director general of ITI. “With World Theatre Day we are celebrating this art every year to make people aware of the value of a creative dialogue and the value of the theatre arts.”

Additional World Theatre Day activities will be announced leading up to March 27, 2014. Learn more about World Theatre Day and TCG’s international programming: http://www.tcg.org/international/events/wtd.cfm?type=1.

Brett Bailey is a playwright, designer, director, installation artist, and the artistic director of Third World Bunfight. He has worked throughout South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe, Uganda, Haiti, the U.K. and Europe. His acclaimed iconoclastic dramas, which interrogate the dynamics of the post-colonial world, include Big Dada, Ipi Zombi?, iMumbo Jumbo and Orfeus. His performance installations include Terminal (Blood Diamonds) and Exhibits A & B.  He directed the opening show at the World Summit on Arts and Culture in Johannesburg (2009), and from 2006-2009 the opening shows at the Harare International Festival of the Arts. From 2008-11 he was curator of South Africa’s only public arts festival, ‘Infecting the City’, in Cape Town. His works have played across Europe, Australia and Africa, and have won several awards, including a gold medal for design at the Prague Quadrennial (2007). He headed the jury of the Prague Quadrennial (2011) and was a juror on the International Theatre Institute’s Music Theatre Now competition (2012/13).

Diane Rodriguez is an Obie Award-winning multi-disciplinary theatre artist. She is an accomplished actor, anthologized writer, regional theatre director and associate producer/director of new play production at Center Theatre Group (CTG) in Los Angeles. She began her career as a lead actress with the seminal ensemble, El Teatro Campesino. Recognized as one of the country’s leading advocates for non-text based and ensemble-driven work as well as a long-time advocate of Latino playwrights and actors, Diane maintains her artistic career while being a member of the artistic staff of Center Theatre Group, which includes the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theatre and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Currently, under her tenure as director of New Play Production (NPP), CTG’s NPP program was awarded a one million dollar grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the commissioning and development of seven new collaborative works from ensembles or creative collaborators. She has developed and directed the works of numerous writers including Nilo Cruz’s Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams and Dreams of My Father, Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation at Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Lloyd Suh’s American Hwangap at Ojai Playwrights Conference, Erik Patterson’s Sick for Playwrights’ Arena, and Les Thomas’ Cave Quest for East West Players, among many others. In 2008, for Mattel Toy Company, she wrote the book and was the supervising director for the first live Barbie musical Barbie Live/The Princess Adventures. The show premiered in Buenos Aires and toured Brazil in 2012. She won an OBIE for Performance (Best Ensemble) in 2007 for playing 23 characters in Heather Woodbury’s Tale of Two Cities. In 2012 her two plays, Living Large in a Mini Kind of Way and Pitch like a Girl were produced in Chicago and Los Angeles, respectively. With Mark Murphy and Mark Russell she co-directed the RADAR LA Festival in 2011. She lives in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles with her long time husband, friend and advisor, Jose Delgado.

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), Jessica A. Kaahwa (2011), John Malkovich (2012) and Dario Fo (2013).

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.