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This year's message for the World Theatre Day was written by South African playwright Brett Bailey

27.03.2014, 27:3

Brett Bailey has been connected with the Prague Quadrennial for a long time. He won a Gold medal at the PQ 2007, in 2011 he was also chairman of the international jury.

World Theatre Day is celebrated on the March 27th annually since 1961. On this occasion various national and international theater events are organized – the World Theatre Day message is one of the most important - on the initiative of the International Theatre Institute some of the world renowned theater personalities are selected to write it. In addition to Jean Cocteau, Arthur Miller and Peter Brook we can also find Vaclav Havel on the list.


Wherever there is human society, the irrepressible Spirit of Performance manifests.

Under trees in tiny villages, and on high tech stages in global metropolis; in school halls and in fields and in temples; in slums, in urban plazas, community centres and inner-city basements, people are drawn together to commune in the ephemeral theatrical worlds that we create to express our human complexity, our diversity, our vulnerability, in living flesh, and breath, and voice.

We gather to weep and to remember; to laugh and to contemplate; to learn and to affirm and to imagine. To wonder at technical dexterity, and to incarnate gods. To catch our collective breath at our capacity for beauty and compassion and monstrosity. We come to be energized, and to be empowered. To celebrate the wealth of our various cultures, and to dissolve the boundaries that divide us.

Wherever there is human society, the irrepressible Spirit of Performance manifests. Born of community, it wears the masks and the costumes of our varied traditions. It harnesses our languages and rhythms and gestures, and clears a space in our midst.

And we, the artists that work with this ancient spirit, feel compelled to channel it through our hearts, our ideas and our bodies to reveal our realities in all their mundanity and glittering mystery.

But, in this era in which so many millions are struggling to survive, are suffering under oppressive regimes and predatory capitalism, are fleeing conflict and hardship; in which our privacy is invaded by secret services and our words are censored by intrusive governments; in which forests are being annihilated, species exterminated, and oceans poisoned: what do we feel compelled to reveal?

In this world of unequal power, in which various hegemonic orders try to convince us that one nation, one race, one gender, one sexual preference, one religion, one ideology, one cultural framework is superior to all others, is it really defensible to insist that the arts should be unshackled from social agendas?

Are we, the artists of arenas and stages, conforming to the sanitized demands of the market, or seizing the power that we have: to clear a space in the hearts and minds of society, to gather people around us, to inspire, enchant and inform, and to create a world of hope and open-hearted collaboration?


Brett Bailey
is a South African playwright, designer, director, installation maker and the artistic director of THIRD WORLD BUNFIGHT. He has worked throughout South Africa, in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UK and Europe.
His acclaimed  iconoclastic dramas, which interrogate the dynamics of the post-colonial world, include BIG DADA, IPI ZOMBI?, iMUMBO JUMBO, medEia and ORFEUS. His performance installations include EXHIBITs A & B.
His works have played across Europe, Australia and Africa, and have won several awards, including a gold medal at the Prague Quadrennial (2007). He headed the jury of the Prague Quadrennial in 2011, and was a juror of the International Theatre Institute’s ‘Music Theatre Now’ competition in March 2013.
 He directed the opening show at the World Summit on Arts and Culture in Johannesburg (2009), and from 2006-2009 the opening shows at the Harare International Festival of the Arts. From 2008-2011 he was curator of South Africa’s only public arts festival, ‘Infecting the City’, in Cape Town. In 2014 he will deliver the International Theatre Institute’s World Theatre Day message to UNESCO.

Authors of the message:
1.  1962:  Jean COCTEAU
2.  1963:  Arthur MILER
3.  1964:  Laurence OLIVIER – Jean-Louis BARRAULT
4.  1965:  Anonym
5.  1966:  René MAHEU, Director-General of UNESCO
6.  1967:  Helen WEIGEL
7.  1968:  Miguel Angel ASTURIAS
8.  1969:  Peter BROOK
9.  1970:  Dimitrij ŠOSTAKOVIČ
10.  1971:  Pablo NERUDA
11.  1972:  Maurice BEJART
12.  1973:  Luchino VISCONTI
13.  1974:  Richard BURTON
14.  1975:  Ellen STEWART
15.  1976:  Eugene IONESCO
16.  1977:  Radu BELIGAN
17.  1978:  national message
18.  1979:  national message
19.  1980:  Janusz WARMINSKI
20.  1981:  national message
21.  1982:  Lars af MALMBORG
22.  1983:  Amadou Mahtar M´BOW, Director-General of UNESCO
23.  1984:  Michail  CARJEV
24.  1985:  Abndré-Louis PERINETTI
25.  1986:  Wole SOYINKA
26.  1987:  Antonio GALA
27.  1988:  Peter BROOK
28.  1989:  Martin ESSLIN
29.  1990:  Kirill LAVROV
30.  1991:  Federico MAYOR – Director-General of UNESCO
31.  1992:  Jorge LAVELLI – Arturo USLAR PIETRI
32.  1993:  Edward ALBEE
33.  1994:  Václav HAVEL
34.  1995:  Humberto ORSINI
35.  1996:  Saadalla WANNOUS
36.  1997:  Jeong Ok KIM
37.  1998:  50th anniversary of  ITI – special message
38.  1999:  Vigdís FINNBOGADÓTTIR
39.  2000:  Michel TREMBLAY
40.  2001:  Iakovos KAMPANELLIS
41.  2002:  Girish KARNAD
42.  2003:  Tankred DORST
43.  2004:  Fathia  EL ASSAL
44.  2005:  Ariane MNOUCHKINE
45.  2006:  Victor Hugo RASCON BANDA
46.  2007:  His Majesty Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed AL-QASIMI
47.  2008:  Robert LEPAGE
48.  2009:  Augusto BOAL
49.  2010:  Judi DENCH
50.  2011:  Jessica A. KAAHWA
51.  2012:  John MALKOVICH
52.  2013 : Dario FO
53.  2014 : Brett BAILEY


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