Why 20th century cultural institutions aren’t always best for 21st century cultural advocacy – World Theatre Day


I love theatre, national or international and believe that new plays, in particular, have a vital role to play in the national conversation and international exchange.

I also like a good party and so the idea of a World Theatre Day as a celebration of theatre internationally appeals to me as a thing.  The problem we have is that World Theatre Day, last celebrated on 27 March 2009  has been a bit of a damp squib in most of the world.  In Ireland there was a coffee morning.  In the UK it was reported but not celebrated.  This is sort of worse than nothing at all.

Its probably because World Theatre Day is organised by a 20th century international cultural institution, the International Theatre Institute.

“What is the ITI? In brief: The International Theatre Institute (ITI), an international non-governmental organization (NGO) was founded in Prague in 1948 by UNESCO and the international theatre community. A worldwide network, ITI aims to promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in theatre arts (drama, dance, music theatre, any of the performing arts) in order to consolidate peace and solidarity between peoples, to deepen mutual understanding and increase creative co-operation between all people in the performing arts.

The ITI does its work through:
– its Regional Bureaus, its Centres and its Cooperating Members;
– its Committees and Working Groups;
– its Executive Council and Executive Board;
– its headquarter at UNESCO: the General Secretariat;
– its individual members of the network”


So it was created in 1948 and its neworks are organised by committees and top down structure.  I know that the ITI has done and continues to do good work but the world has changed.  Because of the internet revolution most of our networks are now those we create and operate ourselves, harnessing the power of the group and so we dont need top down networking structures. 

The global disparity reflected in the digital divide though means that World Theatre Day is more relevant and more celebrated in countries and nations without broadband

So if you google World Theatre Day you do get new coverage for Angloa and Mysore. And until we conquer the digital divide, maybe we need those 2oth century cultural intitutions




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: