World Theatre Day is annually celebrated on March 27 as a mark of tribute to the theatre. The said art form is not only one of the oldest modes of entertainment but is also a way to put across social messages.
In the year 1961, it was proposed before the 9th World Congress of International Theatre Institute (ITI) that a day each year should be celebrated to mark the importance of theatre. The proposal was accepted and each year ITI centres and the theatre fraternity across the world celebrate the day.
In 1962, the first World Theatre Day was observed by ITI in Finland’s Helsinki.
Every year a person who is exemplary in the field of theatre or a person outstanding in heart and spirit from another field is invited to share his or her reflections on theatre and international harmony. This is known as the International Message and is translated in over 50 languages. The message is read out in theatres or places of performance before the play starts. Through newspapers and radio and television, it is ensured that the message reaches to everyone living in five continents of the world.
This year’s message is by renowned playwright Shahid NADEEM. He belongs to Pakistan and is the head of the renowned Ajoka Theatre. Further, he was awarded President of Pakistan’s Medal for the Pride of Performance in the year 2009.
Shahid is also known for organising Theatre for Peace festivals in both India and Pakistan.