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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.

Since 2011, PACT, together with l’Association des théâtres francophones du Canada (ATFC) and the Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC), has commissioned a message each year to promote and celebrate World Theatre Day from a distinctly Canadian perspective.

In 2018, this message has been written by Nina Lee Aquino and translated into French by Djennie Laguerre.

Nina Lee Aquino is an award-winning director and dramaturge. She is the current Artistic Director of Factory Theatre.

Nina is the editor of Canada’s first Asian-Canadian 2-volume drama anthology love + relasianships and the co-editor of the award-winning New Essays on Canadian Theatre Volume One: Asian Canadian Theatre (Playwrights Canada Press).

Awards for her work include: the Ken McDougall Award 2004, the Canada Council John Hirsch Prize 2008, and two Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding Direction.

Nina Lee Aquino’s message has also been translated into the following languages:

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

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.

To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the International Theatre Institute and to underline the cross-cultural and international aspect of theatre, ITI has selected five message authors to write a message – one from each of the five UNESCO Regions: Africa, the Americas, Arab Countries, Asia Pacific and Europe.

2018 International World Theatre Day Messages

Ram Gopal Bajaj, India

Sabina Berman, Mexico

Wèrê Wèrê Liking, Ivory Coast

Simon McBurney, United Kingdom

Maya Zbib, Lebanon

Visit the International Theatre Institute’s World Theatre Day website for more information and materials, including translations of these messages.

Join the Conversation!

For World Theatre Day and World Theatre Day for Children and Young People we want to hear why theatre is important to you. We invite you to print out one the glossy prompt sheets below, write down your answer, take a selfie with it and share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us (@PACTtweets)!

These celebrations are also great opportunities to connect with elected officials and other arts advocates in your community. Visit our Advocacy Tools & Resources page for ideas. Our Engagement Toolkit has some social media tips to help you get started.

As well, there are plenty of ways to take the celebration into your theatre! Some companies read the messages from the stage or post them in the lobby. You could also offer special events such as artist talks or backstage tours, or link your ongoing engagement events to the occasion.

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