World Theatre Day

World Theatre Day

World Theatre Day is celebrated annually on the 27th of March in many countries. To mark this occasion various national and international theatre events are organized with the aim to promote the art of theatre to the world, make people aware of the value of theatre, and share the joy with others through live performances.

It is an international day for those, who are in the theatre and really celebrate what they do every day. It’s more than celebrating and promoting theatre in its varied forms across the globe.

World Theater Day has provided for the theatre community all over the world an occasion and a forum to underscore the diversity of this art form and to promote its importance in contemporary societies.


World Theatre Day (WTD) was instituted by the International Theatre Institute (ITI), an organization that has centers in more than 100 countries all over the world and seeks to promote the arts and communication and collaboration between artists across continents. The first WTD was celebrated on March 27th (date of the opening of the 1962 “Theatre of Nations” season in Paris), and its popularity has only grown since.

But the art of ‘Theatre’ has been around much longer and is one of the most fascinating aspects of the culture of ancient Greece, where spoken word, poetry, music, and religious festival, all form part of the art of theatrical production, indeed even the word ‘Theatre’ originates from the ancient Greek.

Then, if we fast forward up to the dawn of the early modern period, there are the productions of Shakespeare who wrote at least 37 plays, including many comedies, tragedies, historical and romantic plays, performed in front of Lords and Ladies, and even royalty of the late 16th and early 17th Century at The Globe theatre in London.

The meaning of the word Drama derives from the Greek “dran” which means “to do”… and the word theatre originates from the Greek, “Theatron”, literally meaning the “seeing place”. A place not only where we look, but where we see, we get, we understand.

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages,” said William Shakespeare

How the Day is celebrated

Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion. One of the most important of these is the circulation of the World Theatre Day International Message through which at the invitation of ITI, a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace.

The first World Theatre Day International Message was written by Jean Cocteau (France) in 1962. This day is a celebration for those who can see the value and importance of the art form “theatre”, and aims to bring awareness among 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.

Interesting Quotes about Theatre

  • “Theatre is the art form of the present: it exists only in the present, and then it’s gone.” -Simon McBurney

  • “All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” – Seán O’Casey

  • “Movies will make you famous; Television will make you rich; But theatre will make you good.” -Terrence Mann

  • “The mission of the theatre, after all, is to change, to raise the consciousness of people to their human possibilities.” – Arthur Miller

  • “Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to.” – Willem Dafoe

  • “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” ― Oscar Wilde

  • “Life is a theatre set in which there are but few practicable entrances.” – Victor Hugo

  • “An actor must never be afraid to make a fool of himself.” – Harvey Cocks

  • “The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation. The theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time. The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation.” – Stella Adler

  • “I believe that in a great city, or even in a small city or a village, a great theatre is the outward and visible sign of an inward and probable culture.” – Laurence Olivier

  • A theatre, literature, an artistic expression that does not speak for its own time has no relevance. – Dario Fo

  • “Theatre is a sacred space for actors. You are responsible; you are in the driving seat.” – Greta Scacchi

Suggested Read: Important Days In March

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.