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Jon Fosse, Luis Alfaro, Caitlin Nasema Cassidy.

Jon Fosse, Luis Alfaro, Caitlin Nasema Cassidy Deliver World Theatre Day Messages

This year’s statements emphasize peace, truth, and resourcefulness.

“All good art, deep down, revolves around the same thing: taking the utterly unique, the utterly specific, and making it universal. Uniting the particular with the universal by means of expressing it artistically: not eliminating its specificity but emphasizing this specificity, letting what is foreign and unfamiliar shine clearly through. War and art are opposites, just as war and peace are opposites—it’s as simple as that. Art is peace.”
Jon Fosse, International Message Author

“This is a difficult time for the world. Violence, poverty, hunger, war, fueled by the lies that support such actions. We artists must stand in truth, both our own, but also in yours. In La Kech. Tu eres mi otro yo. You are the other me.”
Luis Alfaro, U.S. Message Author

“We are writing new worlds
With our bodies and our words
Building cultures of care
On a budget
Crafting cardboard castles
Making the best of plastic chairs
We are (re)storying the future.”
Caitlin Nasema Cassidy, U.S. Emergent Artist Author

WORLDWIDE: 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 62nd annual World Theatre Day, today, March 27. Each year, a renowned theatre artist of world stature is invited by the International Theatre Institute (ITI) Worldwide to craft an international message marking the global occasion. This year the International message is given by Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse, who recently won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The U.S. World Theatre Day message is given by performance artist, writer, theatre director, and social activist Luis Alfaro; a video of his address can be found here. For the third time ever, GTI invited a U.S. Emergent Artist to pen the message, which this year is given by actor, director, and producer Caitlin Nasema Cassidy and can be found here. The messages have been translated into multiple languages.

“TCG is proud to collaboratively serve as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute with our partners, the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics,” said LaTeshia Ellerson, interim chief growth officer, TCG, in a statement. “At a time of rising international conflict and a global refugee crisis, the power of theatre to humanize and forge solidarity across borders is deeply important. We hope theatre workers will share these addresses widely and join us in celebrating World Theatre Day!”

“In these addresses, the artists articulate the power of theatre to both witness the pain of a world at war but also transform it,” said Karena Fiorenza, interim chief executive officer, TCG, in a statement. “That transformation comes from theatre’s power to embody what Luis Alfaro named—tu eres mi otro yo. Caitlin Nasema Cassidy extends that connection to the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, now extinct, and all our more-than-human kin. We hope that theatre people across the globe will read these addresses and feel a renewed energy for their essential work.”

Since 1962, World Theatre Day has been celebrated by the circulation of the World Theatre Day Message. The first World Theatre Day international message was written by Jean Cocteau. Succeeding honorees have included Arthur Miller (1963), Ellen Stewart (1975), Vaclav Havel (1994), Ariane Mnouchkine (2005), Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi (2007), Augusto Boal (2009), Dame Judi Dench (2010), Jessica A. Kaahwa (2011), and Anatoli Vassiliev (2016). In 2023, the International World Theatre Message was given by Samiha Ayoub; Martyna Majok gave the U.S. World Theatre Message and Devika Ranjan gave the U.S. Emergent Artist Author Message. 

To celebrate World Theatre Day 2024, GTI recommends sharing the international and U.S. messages on or around March 27 through online media; tweet about World Theatre Day using the hashtag #WorldTheatreDay; following TCG, The Lab, The Global Theater Initiative, and ITI on social media platforms for updates and sharing World Theatre Day-related posts; and posting your own message to your network about World Theatre Day, championing the power of theatre to strengthen cultural exchange and mutual understanding across borders. Social handles for GTI: Facebook; for TCG: FacebookTwitter, Instagram, LinkedIn; for The Lab: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Jon Fosse is a renowned Norwegian writer born in 1959, known for an extensive body of work, including plays, novels, poetry collections, essays, children’s books, and translations, for which he won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Luis Alfaro is a Chicano playwright born and raised in downtown Los Angeles. He served as associate artistic director of Center Theatre Group at the Music Center of Los Angeles County (2021-2022), and is the only playwright in the history of the Kennedy Center to have received two “Fund for New American Play” awards in the same year. He is also an associate professor at the University of Southern California, where he directs of the MFA in Dramatic Writing program. 

Caitlin Nasema Cassidy is an actor, director, and producer making experimental performance that is physical, collaborative, and poetic. Her practice is rooted in joy, embodied research, and (com)post-activism. Theatre includes The Vagrant Trilogy at the Public Theater, the world premiere of Paradise at Central Square Theatre, Pay No Attention to the Girl with Target Margin, and Ferry Tales at the John F. Kennedy Center. 

The Global Theater Initiative (GTI) was launched in February 2016 by Theatre Communications Group, the publisher of American Theatre, and the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (the Lab), based in Washington, D.C. at Georgetown University. Dedicated to humanizing world affairs through theatre, the Global Theatre Initiative (GTI) fosters interconnectedness among theatremakers worldwide in pursuit of a just and thriving global theatre ecology.

International Theatre Institute (ITI) was formed in 1948, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) joined with world-renowned theatre experts to form an international non-governmental organization in the field of the performing arts. The mission of ITI is to “promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in theatre arts in order to consolidate peace and friendship between peoples, to deepen mutual understanding and to increase creative cooperation between all people in the theatre arts.”

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