Chennai, February 2018: With India hosting the largest international theatre festival – the 8th Theatre Olympics – for the first time, Chennai is set to shine under the spotlight, as the city prepares itself to be one of the co-hosts to the biggest theatrical extravaganza in the world.
The Chennai chapter of Theatre Olympics 2018 is organized by National School of Drama under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, Government of India and in collaboration with the Department of Art and Culture, Government of Tamil Nadu.
The people of Chennai and Tamil Nadu are well familiar with the rich culture of Tamil theatre. The city being one of the co-host gives its theatre enthusiasts the opportunity to experience a variety of folk, national, and international theatre.
“Chennai is at the highest seat of art and culture and it is a great centre for learning. The theatre olympics will be a combination of performance and learning for the theatre enthusiasts. With many cultural and art centres in Chennai, students from NSD visit the city for a great learning experience. Infact, Chennai is one of the centres for preliminary examinations for joining the National School of Drama,” said Dr. Shantanu Bose, Dean Academics, National School of Drama, New Delhi.
The mega event will provide the people of the state to catch a series of 10 stimulating world class performances, including folk production “Raja Risalu” (Ustad Pt. Om Prakash Sharma), specially invited plays from renowned theatre maestros such as “Khol Do” (Mayakrishna Rao), “Ramayana” (Shanti Bardhan), “Kalivesham” (K.N. Panikkar) and an international production from Italy, “Ticina” (Simona Di Maio E). Other plays that will enchant the city from 18th to 27th February, 2018, include “Malathi Madhava” (KV Akshara), “Shakespeare’s Nataka Prakarana” (Manish Mitra), “Goodbye Forever” (Feizal Alkazi), and “Lakshman Rekha” (Pritpal Singh).
The Honourable Vice President of India Shri Venkaiah Naidu would inaugurate the 51-day-long nationwide theatre extravaganza at majestic Red Fort, Delhi, on 17th February 2018 at 6:30 PM. With “Flag of Friendship” as its theme, the 8th edition of Theatre Olympics will celebrate universal friendship and human values by showcasing theatre traditions of India and the world.
“Art has been the earliest form of communication. Nothing gives an artist more delight than performing in front of an audience that appreciates art, no matter from which part of the world they come. In a way, theatre is a great equalizer and unites people of multiple cultures and traditions under one umbrella. We are extremely proud to bring the world’s largest theatre festival to India. During this 51-day long nationwide celebration of the 8thTheatre Olympics, we attempt to bridge the borders across countries through the call of theatre and engage in creating a global village,” says Dr. Arjun Deo Charan, Acting Chairman of National School of Drama Society.
Prof. Waman Kendre, Director, National School of Drama, whose vision made it possible to bring the world’s largest theatre festival to India, firmly believes that to regain the past glory of our nation we must make it the cultural superpower of the world.
“For the past 3 years we had the dream to bring Theatre Olympics to India. The dream that we had seen has come true. Since we began to envision and achieve this feat, Dr. Mahesh Sharma and the Ministry of Culture have extended whole hearted support to the idea and have played an instrumental role in making it a reality. Throughout centuries we have seen playwright like Shakespeare and Bertolt Brecht becoming a part of Indian theatre, while despite having our own extraordinary playwrights and theatrical figures, we are still to make similar impact. This is a huge leap towards that direction of putting Indian theatre on the world map. We should be proud of our theatre legacy that is more than 2500 years old,” says Prof. Waman Kendre.
“The 8th Theatre Olympics provides a unique opportunity for cultural exchange through the medium of theatrical art. With this international event, we wish to express our theatre practices, its variations, philosophies and the sheer strength of our texts, narratives and ways of presentation in front of a global audience. In return we extend our arms to welcome the practices, ideologies and philosophies of visiting performers. The objective is to create a platform for conversation between Indian and global artists with an intent to enrich our collective understanding and expression of art,” he added.
The mega-event will travel to 17 Indian cities with 450 shows, 600 ambience performances and 250 power packed youth forum shows, with participation of 30 countries and over 25,000 artists from the globe.
Audience across the nation would be able to witness the plays from Indian theatre maestros such as Ratan Thiyam, Alyque Padamsee, Rudraprasad Sengupta, M.K. Raina, Raj Bisaria, Bansi Kaul, Tripurari Sharma, Maya Rao and Soumitra Chatterjee.
Joining the Indian counterparts are the foreign invitees such as Theodoros Terzopoulos (Chairman, International Committee of Theatre Olympics, Greece), Liu Libin (China), Jaroslaw Fret (Poland), Sahika Tekand (Turkey), Eugenio Barba (Denmark), Romeo Castellucci (Italy), Pippo Delbono (Italy) and Jan Fabre (Belgium).
Numerous allied activities like seminars, symposia, ‘Interface’ and workshops with well-known academicians, scholars, authors, actors, designers and directors are scheduled to take place across 17 cities. The allied programs boast of a series on 60 ‘Living Legends’ 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.
The festival will finally culminate with a grand ceremony on 8th April, 2018 at the iconic Gateway of India, Mumbai.
About Theatre Olympics
The Theatre Olympics was established in 1993 at Delphi, Greece. Being an international theat`re 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 ‘Natya Mahakumbh’.