National School of Drama set to host the 8th Theatre Olympics from February 17

The 8th edition of the global theatre festival will have 17 Indian cities hosting 450 shows, 600 ambience performances, and 250 youth forum shows, with the participation of 25,000 artists from across the globe, making it the biggest theatre celebration in the world

Theatre lovers in India have a reason to rejoice! The country is set to host the largest international theatre festival – the 8th Theatre Olympics – for the first time, with participation from 30 countries in a series of performances to be held across India. The 51-day-long event will be inaugurated at the majestic Red Fort on February 17 at 6:30pm by Vice-President of India Venkaiah Naidu. The festival will travel to 17 Indian cities with 450 shows, 600 ambience performances and 250 power packed youth forum shows with the participation of 25,000 artists from the globe. The festival will conclude on April 8, with a grand ceremony at the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai.

Union Minister of State for Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma, unveiling the 8th edition of Theatre Olympics at the National School of Drama, New Delhi

Union Minister of State for Culture (IC) Dr Mahesh Sharma, unveiling the 8th edition of the global theatre festival at a press conference in the national capital said, “This is a grand opportunity for India to host the largest theatre festival of the world and cultural strength on the global platform.”

“For the past 3 years, we had the dream to bring Theatre Olympics to India. The dream that we had seen has come true. This is a huge leap towards that direction of putting Indian theatre on the world map,” said Prof. Waman Kendre, Director, National School of Drama.

The theatrical extravaganza is being hosted in India by the National School of Drama under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, Government of India.The theme of the 8th Theatre Olympics is ‘Flag of Friendship’ that aims to bridge borders and bring people of different cultures, beliefs and ideologies together through the medium of theatrical art.

The foreign invitees for the grand festival are Theodoros Terzopoulos (Chairman, International Committee of Theatre Olympics, Greece), Liu Libin (China), Jaroslaw Fret (Poland), Sahika Tekand (Turkey), Eugenio Barba (Denmark), Romeo Castellucci (Italy), Pippo Delbono (Italy) and Jan Fabre (Belgium). Among the Indian, theatre maestros are Ratan Thiyam, Alyque Padamsee, Rudraprasad Sengupta, M.K.Raina, Raj Bisaria, Bansi Kaul, Prof. Tripurari Sharma, Maya Rao and Soumitra Chatterjee.

The festival is considered to be the biggest international celebration of theatre in terms of plays, participants, performances and number of days. During the festival, plays will be held in Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Imphal, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi.

Participants from 30 countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mauritius, Nepal, Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and U.S.A. would showcase their acumen in theatre.

Theatre and film veterans of the likes of Shabana Azmi, Paresh Rawal, Manoj Joshi, Himani Shivpuri, Seema Biswas and Saurabh Shukla will also take part in this grand theatrical treat.

Numerous allied activities like seminars, symposia, ‘Interface’ and workshops with well-known academicians, scholars, authors, actors, designers and directors are also scheduled to take place across 17 cities. The allied programs would boast of 60 ‘Living Legends’ series and 50 ‘Master Classes’.

The 8th Theatre Olympics would also include 2 international seminars in Delhi and Mumbai with 6 national seminars in Bhopal, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kolkata and Varanasi. Through the youth forum of National School of Drama, “Advitiya 2018”, a competition for short playwriting will also be held, with cash prizes of Rs 25,000, Rs50,000 and Rs1 lakh.

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