On the road for 36 days, the 8th Theatre Olympics reaches the city later this month for its last stop.

Mumbai: After traveling the length and breadth of the country since February 17, the 8th Theatre Olympics comes to Mumbai for its final stop. Plans for the drama extravaganza were unveiled in Mumbai on Friday. By the time it concludes on April 8, the world’s largest theatre festival, the 8th Theatre Olympics, being held for the first time in India would have covered 17 cities with over 25,000 artists performing 450 shows, 600 ambiance performances, and 250 youth shows.

Professor Waman Kendra, Director National School of Drama said,

“For the past three years, we had the dream to bring Theatre Olympics to India. This is a huge leap towards putting Indian theatre on the world map.”

From March 24-April 8, the city will play host to 28 performances all which fall under the theme: “Flag of Friendship.”

“Most of the plays are silent but the rest will be in various regional languages, and not just in Hindi,” said Professor Kendra.

At a press interaction, theatre artist Ashok Banthia, talked about the crucial support of a theatre-loving public,

“We have 450 productions, including both national and foreign. The audience is like god to us, and the success of the festival will be impossible without the support from audience,” he said.

Professor Kendra talked about the importance of culture,

“[While] atom bomb and ammunition are considered the strength of every nation, we often leave out culture, which is the most important aspect. The variety in styles, forms, and thinking prevalent in Indian theatre, is not present in any other nation. Through this festival, we seek to build a bridge between the Indian theatre and the world theatre,” he said.

The mega event will include eight specially invited plays from theatre directors like Waman Kendra (Mohe Piya), Sohag Sen (Sonata), Ravishankar Khare (Rashmakirathi), Soumitra Chatterjee (Phera); international productions including Shri 420 (Saba Zaidi and Atul Tiwari, Australia), Almost Alive (Sabine Molenaar, Belgium), Xuan Zang’s Pilgrimage (Wang Ziangyun, China).

“The festival began at the Red Fort in New Delhi and will end at Gateway of India. Because we want to promote the importance of theatre, the entries have been kept free of cost,” Professor Kendra said.

Established at Delphi, Greece in 1993, the Theatre Olympics has earlier been held at Japan (1999), Russia (2001), Turkey (2006), South Korea (2010), China (2014), Poland (2016).

This article originally appeared in The Hindu on March 17, 2018, and has been republished with permission.

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This post was written by Sneha Saraf.

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