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Publicity image for World Theatre Day, featuring a headshot of Helen Mirren and Olga Garray-English.

Helen Mirren, Olga Garay-English to Deliver World Theatre Day Messages

Garay-English is a global arts leader working on California-based, national, and international projects.

NEW YORK CITY: The Global Theater Initiative (GTI), a partnership between Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (the Lab) at Georgetown University, invites all theatres, individual artists, institutions, and audiences to celebrate the 60th annual World Theatre Day on March 27.

Each year, a renowned theatre artist of world stature is invited by the International Theatre Institute (ITI) Worldwide to create an international message marking the global occasion. This year, the international message has been written by British actress Helen Mirren, and the U.S. message has been given by global arts leader Olga Garay-English. Read the World Theatre Day messages here.

“Olga Garay-English has been a tireless champion for the arts and for cultural exchange, and we’re thrilled to share her moving U.S. World Theatre Day message,” said TCG executive director Teresa Eyring in a statement. “After a year of social distancing, border closures, and immeasurable human loss, these messages fill us with renewed hope, and remind us of theatre’s power in working across both physical and virtual divides.”

Photo of Olga, wearing red and sitting in front of green trees and other plants.
Olga Garay-English.

Born in Cuba, Olga Garay-English has dedicated herself to championing international cultural exchange and engagement throughout her career. She was the Founding Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, among other appointments. She has supported several theater-related projects during her career, including roles as co-founder of the 35 year-old Miami International Hispanic Theater Festival; co-conspirator in establishing the Under the Radar Festival in New York City and the Radar LA Festival; curator of Lincoln Center’s 2007 Ibero-American Theater Festival; and Senior Advisor for International Affairs for Chile’s Fundación Teatro a Mil and the Festival Internacional Santiago a Mil. For her work over the last three decades, Olga has received awards including The LA Weekly Theater Award for Special Achievement, the Queen of the Angels, for her contributions to LA’s theater sector (2012). In 2006 she was awarded a “Bessie,” the New York Dance and Performance Award, for sustained contribution to the field of dance. The Association of Performing Arts Presenters gave her its most prestigious award in 2003, the Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award, honoring individuals whose outstanding service, creative thinking, and leadership have had a significant impact on the profession of performing arts presenting. She was named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 2012 to recognize her “significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields.”

“As a refugee to this country, having fled the Cuban revolution in 1961, I have come to believe in the absolute power of the arts to build community between often disparate peoples,” says Garay-English in her World Theatre Day message. “Artists can create human connection and understanding in a way that politicians cannot.”

In celebration of World Theatre Day 2021, GTI recommends sharing the international and U.S. messages on or around March 27 through online media, championing the power of theatre to strengthen cultural exchange and mutual understanding across borders.

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