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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 2019, this message has been written by playwright Sunny Drake and translated into French by Mishka Lavigne.

Sunny Drake is a playwright, theatre creator and performer. His theatre works have been presented in 55 cities across Canada, Australia, the US, and Europe, bringing transformative and inventive work to a wide range of audiences from elderly ladies in regional theatres to queers in underground warehouses. His plays have been translated into 4 languages. He has been in residence with/ created work with numerous companies including the Stratford Playwrights Retreat (2018), the National Arts Centre’s The Collaborations (2018/19), Theatre Passe Muraille (2018/19), Nightswimming (2018), Factory Theatre (2017), Yaddo (New York, 2018), Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (2016) and Playwrights Theatre Centre’s WrightSpace (2016). He was born in Australia on Jagera-Turrbal land (Brisbane), and since 2011, he has lived in Toronto as a settler on the land of the Mississauga of New Credit, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and others.

The message is read in French by Ottawa based actor Louis-Philippe Roy.

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

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 2019 is written by Carlos CELDRAN from Cuba, director, playwright and theatre educator. The message can be read here.

Join the Conversation!

We’d like to hear from folks, whose voices aren’t often heard, to tell us about the positive impact that theatre has had on their lives. To do that we need your help! All you need is a phone and anyone (kids, board members, volunteers or the general public) who loves/likes/appreciates live theatre.

Film a 5-20 second clip of anyone who can finish this sentence, “I love theatre because…” and post it on Twitter or Facebook and tag us @PACTtweets.

OUR 2019 MESSAGE – “I love theatre because…!”

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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