The 8th Theatre Olympics, the world’s largest theatre festival being organised in India for the first time by National School of Drama was inaugurated by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu at the majestic Red Fort on February 17. A spectacular musical treat titled ‘Geet Rang’ fascinated the audience at the inaugural ceremony. The programme presented a bouquet of selected songs from different theatre forms, traditions, productions, and campaigns in India that epitomises importance of music in drama and music as a means to elevate, purify and enlighten human beings.
“The 8th Theatre Olympics will take Indian culture and heritage to the world and bring the world to us. Art has the power to unite people across the globe. India believes in the culture of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam which means the entire universe is one, which is an integral part of the Indian cultural and theatrical tradition,” said Naidu.
Also present at the inauguration ceremony were Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Raghvendra Singh, Artistic Director of 8th Theatre Olympics, Ratan Thiyam, and Acting Chairman of NSD Society, Dr Arjun Deo Charan, with Director of NSD Prof. Waman Kendre, who along with many other dignitaries, members of International theatre fraternity and hundreds of people, witnessed another history in making at the lawns of the 17th century Mughal era fort.
“Art gives the message of togetherness, brotherhood, and friendship, and portrays social issues to convey the message to common people. We have a rich and diverse theatre tradition since ancient times and I hope this Olympiad would bring people together to share and celebrate the unparallel bonding of artist fraternity,” said Dr Mahesh Sharma.
“Through the 8th Theatre Olympics, we meet the rich theatrical tradition of India and we encourage the articulation of a free and collective voice which will defend the value of the theatre tradition, research, and experimentation,” said Theodoros Terzopoulos.
The theme of the 51-day-long nationwide theatre extravaganza is “Flag of Friendship” and will bring together over 25,000 artists under one roof. The event will stage 450 shows from more than 30 countries performed across 17 cities, enthralling the audience for 51 consecutive days. Plays will be performed at Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Imphal, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi during the festival. Besides, the Theatre Olympics will include 600 ambience performances and 250 youth forum shows alongside thespians from 30 nations.
The festival will conclude on April 8, with a grand ceremony at the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai.