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Polish theatre community marks World Theatre Day

27.03.2023 14:30
March 27 is World Theatre Day, a celebration of actors, directors, stage designers and audiences, highlighting the importance of theatre and the need to maintain the age-old tradition.
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World Theatre Day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI) to commemorate the first season of the Theatre of Nations festival, which took place in Paris in 1957.

The day is celebrated annually by the international theatre community.

The celebration aims to increase public understanding of the importance of theatre and "show the power of the theatre scene over any other performance," says Piotr Gruszecki from the Katharsis, a Polish theatre group founded in the UK.

"We see actors on the screen, in advertisements, in TV series," he adds. “But it is only on stage that the performance is immediately assessed. Only in theatres, do we have this prompt reaction of the audience, which actors instantly feel."

World Theatre Day promotes the importance of theatre to the public and encourages people to participate in theatre events. It serves as a reminder of the significant role that theatre plays and how it contributes to our cultural heritage.

The day seeks to educate people about the importance of theatre and show that theatre is a way of expressing emotions, including for people with disabilities, as demonstrated by the actors of Warsaw's Theatre 21, most of whom have Down's syndrome.

World Theatre Day is also a celebration of radio theatre, a special kind of theatre art. Audio plays are more than just storytelling and much more than audiobooks.

The Polish Radio Theatre company has for almost 100 years been producing adaptations of timeless classics and works of contemporary artists. Its audio plays centre on words both spoken and sung, making use of radio techniques with rich music and acoustic effects. The effort is linked to the beginnings of public radio in Poland in 1925, and has continued to develop artistic radio traditions over the decades.

The company produces around 160 premieres annually, says director Janusz Kukuła. “We have adaptations of radio dramas every week, like the Matysiakowie and Jeziorany sagas, which have been with us for over 60 years, with hundreds of fantastic Polish actors taking part. With the passage of time, the generations in the dramas are changing, like our audiences, but I know that they will last because the spoken word is invaluable."

On World Theatre Day, an outstanding figure in theatre is invited every year to share his or her reflections. The international message for the day is translated into more than 50 languages, and this year it was presented by Egyptian actress Samiha Ayoub.

In Poland, the Polish branch of the International Theatre Institute also selects the author of the message every year. This year's message was delivered by Svitlana Oleshko, a Ukrainian theater director who has been living in Poland since Russia invaded her country in February last year.

Oleshko is now working at the Arnold Szyfman Theatre in Warsaw.


Click on the audio player above to listen to a report by Radio Poland's Agnieszka Bielawska.