Today is the 60th annual World Theatre Day. As we await the reopening of physical theaters throughout the world, British actress Helen Mirren delivers the annual International World Theatre Day Message — in 2021, short and bittersweet:
“This has been such a very difficult time for live performance and many artists, technicians and craftsmen and women have struggled in a profession that is already fraught with insecurity.
Maybe that always present insecurity has made them more able to survive this pandemic with wit and courage.
Their imagination has already translated itself, in these new circumstances, into inventive, entertaining and moving ways to communicate, thanks of course in large part to the Internet.
Human beings have told each other stories for as long as they have been on the planet. The beautiful culture of theatre will live for as long as we stay here.
The creative urge of writers, designers, dancers, singers, actors, musicians, directors, will never be suffocated and in the very near future will flourish again with a new energy and a new understanding of the world we all share.
I can’t wait!”
Created in 1961, World Theatre Day is celebrated annually on March 27. With much of the world still in lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, we may not quite yet be able to enter these gorgeous buildings to see a show, but we can celebrate theater in our hearts — and, as Mirren says, online.
And this year, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts wants to help — with its Tech Kits for Performing Artists
After all, theater is more than a group of buildings, beautiful as they are. This is not to dismiss their power. On a tour of (the outside of) Broadway theaters, architect and set designer David Rockwell (author of “Drama”) recalled his first visit as a child to Broadway for a show (“Fiddler on the Roof”), which included dinner in the theater district (Schrafft’s), as a fully integrated and awe-filled experience: “The combination of movement, storytelling and design — it changed my life, especially this feeling of being welcomed, into a restaurant, a theater, becoming part of a larger drama. That seemed deeply human. It’s what you can feel coming to Broadway. These theaters still thrive, I think, because of this human need to come together and celebrate.”
As we await the reopening of theaters worldwide, we can still celebrate theater’s 2,500 years of history, and literature, and tradition. We can celebrate the way theater helps us understand the world, and discover ourselves.
10 Facts about Theater
(via the Daily Express)
2. The word ‘tragedy’ comes from a Greek expression meaning ‘goat song’…
3. …and ‘theatre’ comes from a Greek verb meaning ‘to behold’.
4. Ancient Greek audiences stamped their feet rather than clapping their hands to applaud.
5. World Theatre Day has been held on March 27 every year since 1962 when it was the opening day of the “Theatre of Nations” season in Paris.
6. The longest continuous dramatic performance was 23 hours 33 minutes 54 seconds, achieved by the 27 O’Clock Players in New Jersey, USA, on July 27, 2010.
7. They performed The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionescu, a play written in a continuous loop and said to be totally pointless and plotless.
8. According to Aristotle, the plot is the most important feature of a dramatic performance.
9. Walt Disney World, Florida, has a record 1.2 million costumes in its theatrical wardrobes.
10. The oldest play still in existence is The Persians by Aeschylus, written in 472 BC.