World Theatre Day 2012

World Theatre Day

2012 Message by John Malkovich

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), which serves as the US Center of the International Theatre Institute (ITI-US), invited all theatres, individual artists, institutions and audiences to celebrate the 50th annual World Theatre Day on March 27, 2012.

Created in 1961, World Theatre Day, is celebrated annually on March 27 by ITI Centers around the world and the international theatre community. Each year, a renowned theatre artist of world stature is invited to craft an International Message to mark the global occasion. In 2012, ITI Worldwide, headquartered in Paris, asked award-winning actor, director and producer, John Malkovich, to write the international message. 

How to Celebrate

  • Submit an essay to the Generation Without Borders Essay Competition;
  • Create an I AM THEATRE Video;

  • Participate in SHINSAI: Theaters for Japan March 11th;

  • Promote your WTD activities on the official Map of WTD 2012 Events;

  • On March 27, share the WTD statement from John Malkovich with your audience, community and students, or incorporate it in your theatre’s opening curtain speech;

  • Disseminate Malkovich’s message through email, Twitter and Facebook to help raise awareness of World Theatre Day
  • Include a special insert with this year's message in your program
  • Follow WTD updates on Twitter, and tweet about World Theatre Day using hashtag #WTD12 with a message like, “Celebrate World Theatre Day 2012 on March 27 through the following activities: #WTD12”
  • Follow the International Theatre Institute on Facebook, and post your own messages like this one, “Join us as we celebrate World Theatre Day 2012 leading up to the 50th Anniversary on March 27. There are many ways to get involved, so please help us champion the power of theatre to strengthen cultural exchange and mutual understanding across borders!” (Include link:
  • Share news from your World Theatre Day events on the TCG Circle, and join the conversation sparked by the Generations Without Borders essays. Email Gus Schulenburg at to share your events
  • Register with the Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) and take action by contacting your elected officials regarding the need for: Improved visa processing for international guest artists (Issue Brief / Advocacy Letter); Increased funding for the Cultural Programs Division of the State Department (Issue Brief / Advocacy Letter)
  • Organize special programming events centered around the idea of Generation Without Borders
  • Host a round table with your community to discuss the themes related to World Theatre Day
  • Offer ticket discounts in celebration of the day
  • Make your backstage space available for audiences to tour

Participate Beyond WTD 2012

  • Register with the Human Rights Watch to learn about human rights issues from around the world;
  • Consider applying for a Fulbright to conduct theatre research, training, and teaching —our world needs more creative solutions and leadership to resolve many of our challenges, and the Fulbright is making an effort to include more artists and theatre scholars in their programs;
  • Set a goal to work with your local community and Sister Cities International to create a reciprocal cultural exchange or project with your sister city;
  • Purchase a copy of the World of Theatre, published by ITI Worldwide, which serves as the best reference guide available to explore the diversity of the current global dramatic scene.

Map of World Theatre Day 2012 Events

Enlarge the World Theatre Day 2012 map for more detail.

View World Theatre Day 2012 Events in a larger map

2012 World Theatre Day Message

International Message by John Malkovich

On March 22, 2012, John Malkovich will deliver his international message at UNESCO in Paris at a gala event that will include readings of play excerpts with Malkovich and other theatre artists.

I'm honored to have been asked by the International Theatre Institute ITI at UNESCO to give this greeting commemorating the 50th anniversary of World Theatre Day. I will address my brief remarks to my fellow theatre workers, peers and comrades.

May your work be compelling and original. May it be profound, touching, contemplative, and unique. May it help us to reflect on the question of what it means to be human, and may that reflection be blessed with heart, sincerity, candor, and grace. May you overcome adversity, censorship, poverty and nihilism, as many of you will most certainly be obliged to do. May you be blessed with the talent and rigor to teach us about the beating of the human heart in all its complexity, and the humility and curiosity to make it your life's work. And may the best of you - for it will only be the best of you, and even then only in the rarest and briefest moments - succeed in framing that most basic of questions, "how do we live?" Godspeed.

- John Malkovich

John Malkovich is a founding member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company and has worked on 33 productions with the company since 1976. In 1983 he won an Obie for his performance in Sam Shepard’s True West. The following year, he appeared with Dustin Hoffman in the Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman, which earned him an Emmy in 1985 when it was made into a television film. He rose to fame in cinema with his interpretation of Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons by Stephen Frears, alongside Michelle Pfeiffer and Glenn Close. After this role he acted in more than 70 movies internationally, receiving Academy Award nominations for Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire and playing a version of himself in the films Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. He has periodically returned to Chicago to act and direct, and was recently seen in the international tour of The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a serial killer. This production traveled to nearly 20 countries and received its New York premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November 2011. He also directed his third theatre production in Paris, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, at the Théâtre de l'Atelier following the success of Hysteria (2002) and The Good Canary (2007) for which he was awarded the Molière Award for best staging.

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