The Theatre Olympics, one of the biggest theatre celebrations globally that is to be held in India in 2018, has run into trouble as the International Committee on Theatre Olympics has said it will not participate in the event and will not allow the title “Theatre Olympics” to be used for the event.
The letter of the committee chairman Theodoros Terzopoulos has been sent to the National School of Drama. The festival is scheduled to be held from February 17 to April 8, 2018, in 17 cities across India.
The Indian Express is in possession of the letter, dated October 4 and addressed to Waman Kendre, the current director of the NSD.
The letter said the committee’s decision to “not participate” in the event and to not allow the use of its logo is “final, irrevocable and unnegotiable”.
The International Committee on Theatre Olympics is responsible for the branding of the event and also international participants. The partner in the host country, in this case the NSD, generally funds the event.
The registrar of NSD, P K Mohanty, said: “I have heard this (about the committee’s letter). We are going to meet on Monday on this matter.” He said there should not be any problem as the approval for this event from the ICTO was unconditional.
The India event would be the eighth edition of the Theatre Olympics and the annual theatre festival of the NSD, Bharat Rang Mahotsava (BRM), has been merged with the Theatre Olympics for next year.
The only Indian member of the ICTO, Ratan Thiyam, was the artistic director for this event. He was the chairman of NSD and his tenure ended last month. After his tenure ended, his involvement in the Theatre Olympics also came to an end. The ICTO has 14 internationally renowned theatre directors, including Thiyam.
The letter of the ICTO chairman said: “I am in the unpleasant situation to announce (to) you that the members of the International Committee of Theatre Olympics will not participate in the theatre event you are organising on 2018 and that we do not allow you to use the title ‘Theatre Olympics’ for this event.”
It said: “Reasons for our decision are very serious and severe. More particularly — the invitations sent to the members of the International committee of theatre Olympics and to other theatre companies are not signed by the artistic director Ratan Thiyam, as they should be, according to the principals of Theatre Olympics. They are signed only by you. This is not acceptable, since it is the mission of the artistic director to sign and address those invitations…. Due to this vague and inexplicit situation, our decision is final, irrevocable and unnegotiable.”
On July 12, Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister for Culture, had announced in a joint press conference with Thiyam and Kendre that there would be 500 plays and 700 ambience performances from across the world.
Established in 1993, the Theatre Olympics is the foremost international festival of its kind, presenting the finest productions of well-known theatre practitioners from around the world.