The 2017 World Theatre Day Message

by Michael Eddy

NEW YORK, NY—The Global Theater Initiative (GTI), a partnership between Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and the Laboratory for Performance, and Politics (The Lab) at Georgetown University, invites all theatres, individual artists, institutions, and audiences to celebrate the 55th annual World Theatre Day today, March 27, 2017.

In GTI’s role as the home of the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute (ITI-U.S.), TCG and The Lab encourage all theatre people to celebrate the power of theatre to strengthen cultural exchange and mutual understanding across borders. Each year, a renowned theatre artist of world stature is invited by the International Theatre Institute Worldwide in Shanghai to craft an international message to mark the global occasion. This year the message has been written by French theatre and movie actress, Isabelle Huppert. The message has been translated into multiple languages to reach tens of thousands in the international theatre community. Additionally, GTI is proud to announce the U.S. World Theatre Day message from Kwame Kwei-Armah, playwright, director, and artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage.

“Both Isabelle Huppert and Kwame Kwei-Armah have forged careers that cross both artistic and national borders,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. “Their messages are particularly resonant during this troubling time of rising xenophobia. They inspire us to participate in World Theatre Day and to imagine a more compassionate, interconnected world.”

“I began to get depressed and then I remembered that I am a theatre artist. And here’s the beautiful thing about theatre: it is best experienced with our eyes fully open; best made with our fears and questions and wounds on full display; and can only be constructed with the mutuality of absolute interdependence.” – Kwame Kwei-Armah, playwright, director, and artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage

“Theatre has such a thriving life that it defies space and time; its most contemporary pieces are nourished by the achievements of past centuries, and even the most classical repertories become modern and vital each time they are played anew. Theatre is always reborn from its ashes, shedding only its previous conventions in its new-fangled forms: that is how it stays alive.” – Isabelle Huppert, actress

You can read the full text of both Huppert and Kwei-Armah's World Theatre Day messages here.

Learn more about World Theatre Day and GTI’s international programming here.

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), Dario Fo (2013), Brett Bailey (2014), and Krzysztof Warlikowski (2015). Past U.S. World Theatre Day messages have been given by Ping Chong, Jeffrey Wright, Lynn Nottage, and Diane Rodriguez.

The Global Theater Initiative (GTI) was launched in February 2016 by Theatre Communications Group and the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (the Lab), based in Washington, DC at Georgetown University. By combining the unique reach of TCG’s international programming with the Lab’s distinctive experience in humanizing global politics through the power of performance, GTI strengthens, nurtures, and promotes global citizenship and international collaboration in the U.S. professional and educational theatre field. It also honors and intersects with the work so many theatre colleagues have invested in cross-cultural exchange and understanding. Through the alignment of programming and resources, the GTI partners serve as a hub of global exchange with three core areas of focus: connecting practitioners with resources, knowledge, and partnerships to strengthen their work; promoting cultural collaboration as essential for international peace and mutual understanding; and innovating new strategies to maximize the global theatre field’s opportunities and impact. GTI also serves as the collaborative leadership of the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute (ITI/U.S.).

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