Imprinting her name in the global theatre map, India today threw the floor open to the 8th Theatre Olympics, the largest theatre festival of the world, being hosted for the first time in India by the National School of Drama, under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Vice President of India, along with Union Minister of State for Culture (IC) Dr. Mahesh Sharma, inaugurated the mega event at the historic Red Fort.
Also present at the inauguration ceremony were Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Mr. Raghvendra Singh, Artistic Director of 8th Theatre Olympics, Mr. Ratan Thiyam, and Acting Chairman of NSD Society, Dr. Arjun Deo Charan, with Director of NSD Prof. Waman Kendre, who along with many other dignitaries, members of International theatre fraternity and hundreds of people, witnessed another history in making at the lawns of the 17th century Mughal era fort.
“The 8th Theatre Olympics will take Indian culture and heritage to the world and bring the world to us. Art has the power to unite people across the globe. India believes in the culture of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam which means the entire universe is one, which is an integral part of the Indian cultural and theatrical tradition,” says Vice President of India Shri Venkaiah Naidu.
“Art gives the message of togetherness, brotherhood, and friendship, and portrays social issues to convey the message to common people. We have a rich and diverse theatre tradition since ancient times and I hope this Olympiad would bring people together to share and celebrate the unparallel bonding of artist fraternity,” says Union Minister of State for Culture (IC), Dr. Mahesh Sharma.
“Through the 8th Theatre Olympics, we meet the rich theatrical tradition of India and we encourage the articulation of a free and collective voice which will defend the value of the theatre tradition, research, and experimentation,” says Chairman of International Committee of Theatre Olympics, Mr. Theodoros Terzopoulos.
“The event is bound to take the national theatre to another pedestal,” says Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Mr. Raghvendra Singh.
“I thank all the theatre enthusiasts and experts for coming here today. Let us form a world where the boundaries between individual and communities are overlapped, obfuscated, and are mutually agreeable to exchange one. Long live theatre,” says Dr. Arjun Deo Charan, Acting Chairman of National School of Drama Society.
“Today the cultural space is reducing in the world, especially in the field of theatre. We need new vibration and energy to regain the lost space and to make theatre a part of the mainstream entertainment. For 19 years we have been organising Bharat Rang Mahotsav successfully. It was time to take Indian theatre to international level and audience. By hosting the 8th Theatre Olympics, we are taking Indian theatre to a new level,” says Prof. Waman Kendre.
A spectacular musical treat titled ‘Geet Rang’ fascinated the audience at the inaugural ceremony. The programme presented a bouquet of selected songs from different theatre forms, traditions, productions, and campaigns in India that epitomises importance of music in drama and music as a means to elevate, purify and enlighten human beings.
The theme of this edition of Theatre Olympics is “Flag of Friendship” and will being together over 25,000 artists under one roof. The event will stage 450 shows from more than 30 countries performed across 17 cities, enthralling the audience for 51 consecutive days. Plays will be performed at Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Imphal, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi during the festival. Besides, the Theatre Olympics will include 600 ambience performances and 250 youth forum shows alongside thespians from 30 nations.
The festival will conclude on 8th April, 2018, with a grand ceremony at the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai.