Mumbai: With participation of 30 countries and 25,000 artistes from across the globe, National School of Drama (NSD) is set to host the "biggest theatre celebration" for the first time in India here.
The 8th edition of Theatre Olympics, touted as the largest international theatre festival, will be inaugurated by vice president Venkaiah Naidu on February 17 at the Red Fort, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma announced today at a media briefing.
The 51-day theatre extravaganza will see 450 shows including 65 shows by international artistes, 600 ambient performances and 250 youth forum shows.
"Through the Theatre Olympics we will be able to showcase the Indian arts and culture in front of people of the world.
It is a huge event where 65 foreign shows will take place in 17 cities across the country. Folk artistes will also present their arts there," the minister said.
Among theatrical performances, the event will also see activities like 'Living Legends' series, 'Master Classes', symposia, 'Interface' and workshops. It will also include two international seminars and six national seminars.
The event will see eminent Indian theatre personalities like Shabana Azmi, Paresh Rawal, Manoj Joshi, Seema Biswas, Ratan Thiyam, Alyque Padamsee, M K Raina, Bansi Kaul and Usha Ganguly among others.
The festival will play host to international theatre artistes such as Theodoros Terzopoulos (chairman, International Committee of Theatre Olympics), Liu Libin (China), Sahika Tekand (Turkey), Jan Fabre (Belgium), and Pippo Delbono (Italy).
Speaking at the event, NSD director Waman Kendre said that with the theme of "Flag of Friendship" the objective of the event was to "create a platform for conversation between Indian and global artistes".
"With this international event, we wish to express our theatre practices, its variations, philosophies and the sheer strength of our texts, narratives and ways of presentation in front of a global audience.
"In return, we extend our arms to welcome the practices, ideologies and philosophies of visiting performers," he said.
The theatre event will see participation of countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, and Greece.
The plays will be held at Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Imphal, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi.
The festival will conclude with a grand ceremony at the Gateway of India in Mumbai on April 8.