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Created in 1961 by UNESCO, World Theatre Day is celebrated annually on March 27 by theatre communities around the globe. The impetus behind World Theatre Day is to honour and further the goal of UNESCO’s International Theatre Institute (ITI) to celebrate the power of theatre to serve as an indispensable bridge-builder for mutual international understanding and peace as well as to promote and protect cultural diversity and identity in communities throughout the world.

Each year we celebrate World Theatre Day by bringing you a message from an outstanding playwright, actor, artistic director, story-teller or creator. However, this year we find ourselves celebrating this day under very unusual circumstances; a full year into the pandemic means that it’s been a full year since we have been able to experience live performance and our venues remain shuttered. So we chose to depart from tradition and instead asked our audiences, artists, and creators what they missed most about live theatre.

We received an overwhelming response and created this montage video to showcase the voices of Canadians from coast to coast to coast responding to the prompt, “I love theatre because…”

This video was produced in partnership with l’Association des théâtres francophones du Canada (ATFC) and the Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC).

Past Canadian World Theatre Day Messengers

  • 2011 – Michel Ouellette
  • 2012 – Daniel David Moses
  • 2013 – Micheline Chevrier
  • 2014 – Mélanie Léger
  • 2015 – Mieko Ouchi
  • 2016 – Sky Gilbert
  • 2017 – Gilles Poulin-Denis
  • 2018 – Nina Lee Aquino
  • 2019 – Sunny Drake
  • 2020 – Geneviève Pelletier

The International Theatre Institute (ITI) commissions an international message each year in celebration of World Theatre Day. Since 1962, World Theatre Day has been celebrated by ITI Centres, ITI Cooperating Members, theatre professionals, theatre organizations, theatre universities and theatre lovers all over the world on the 27th of March. This day is a celebration for those who can see the value and importance of the art form “theatre”, and acts as a wake-up-call for governments, politicians and institutions which have not yet recognized its value to the people and to the individual and have not yet realized its potential for economic growth.

The World Theatre Day message for 2021 is written by Helen Mirren. The message can be read here.

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