Woo hoo! Finally, World Theatre Day again! I don’t know about you, but I thought it would never come. I’m so excited, and there’s so many things to do before tomorrow! Let’s see, put together a costume of a great historical theatre actor or playwright, decide which World Theatre Day house parties to make an appearance at, bake some theatrical goodies, and of course, decide which play to enact for everyone this year. Crap, that’s always a tough one, isn’t it? Everybody gets so competitive on WTD, I really need to choose something with extra gravitas this year, maybe a Beckett or a Mamet…
Okay fine, I’ll come clean. Up until today I had no idea that there was such a thing as “World Theatre Day”. None. It has gone completely unnoticed by me for the past 36 years (and there’s been one every year since 1962, eight years before I even got here), and I consider myself a member in good standing of the theatrical community. Did you know about this? Nobody that I know has ever sent me a Happy WTD card, or asked me what my WTD plans are, nothing. If not for a little article about it on vancouverplays.com, I’d still be ignorant. I just think it’s weird that’s it’s not a bigger deal for us because as it turns out, after doing a little research on it, this World Theatre Day thing is hella-cool.
It was declared by the International Theatre Institute in 1961 that the 27th of March of every year be set aside to celebrate stagecraft the world over, and each year a random person of note in the world of theatre is asked to prepare an International Message on the subject of Theatre and and a Culture of Peace. Past authors include Arthur Miller, Olivier, Vaclav Havel, Edward Albee, and Richard Burton. Richard Burton! And if that wasn’t cool enough, this year’s guy is His Highness Sheik Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Sharjah. Apparently His Highness Sheik Dr. Sultan really likes his theatre. You can read just how much here.
All over the world today, hundreds of cities in dozens of countries are hosting events to do nothing other than honour the importance of theatre, and Vancouver is no exception. There is seriously cool stuff going on, a veritable mall parking lot fair of fun stagecraft stuff for theatre geeks like me. Come on, local actors reenacting the most memorable death scenes from their career? That is just cool. Major companies offering open rehearsals, to anyone, just so you can see how it all works? This World Theatre Day thing is awesome. Next year I really am dressing up, baking, and putting on a play.