March 27th – THE World Theatre Day 2024 Celebration.

The International Theatre Institute (ITI) is delighted to announce the World Theatre Day 2024 Celebration, set to take place from 27 to 29 March 2024 in Langfang, China. Since its inception on 27 March 1962, World Theatre Day has stood as the flagship event of ITI, uniting theatre enthusiasts worldwide in celebration of the intrinsic value of the theatrical art.

This year, ITI is privileged to have Jon Fosse, the Norwegian playwright and novelist, and last year´s Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature, crafting the Message for World Theatre Day 2024.

Message for World Theatre Day 2024 – 27 March

Art Is Peace
Every person is unique and yet also like every other person. Our visible, external appearance is
different from everyone else’s, of course, that is all well and good, but there is also something
inside each and every one of us which belongs to that person alone—which is that person
alone. We might call this their spirit, or their soul. Or else we can decide not to label it at all in
words, just leave it alone.
But while we are all unlike one another, we’re alike too. People from every part of the world
are fundamentally similar, no matter what language we speak, what skin color we have, what
hair color we have.
This may be something of a paradox: that we are completely alike and utterly dissimilar at the
same time. Maybe a person is intrinsically paradoxical, in our bridging of body and soul—we
encompass both the most earthbound, tangible existence and something that transcends
these material, earthbound limits.
Art, good art, manages in its wonderful way to combine the utterly unique with the universal.
It lets us understand what is different—what is foreign, you might say—as being universal. By
doing so, art breaks through the boundaries between languages, geographical regions,
countries. It brings together not just everyone’s individual qualities but also, in another sense,
the individual characteristics of every group of people, for example of every nation.
Art does this not by levelling differences and making everything the same, but, on the contrary,
by showing us what is different from us, what is alien or foreign. All good art contains precisely
that: something alien, something we cannot completely understand and yet at the same time
do understand, in a way. It contains a mystery, so to speak. Something that fascinates us and
thus pushes us beyond our limits and in so doing creates the transcendence that all art must
both contain in itself and lead us to.
I know of no better way to bring opposites together. This is the exact reverse approach from
that of the violent conflicts we see all too often in the world, which indulge the destructive
temptation to annihilate anything foreign, anything unique and different, often by using the
most inhuman inventions technology has put at our disposal. There is terrorism in the world.
There is war. For people have an animalistic side, too, driven by the instinct to experience the
other, the foreign, as a threat to one’s own existence rather than as a fascinating mystery.
This is how uniqueness—the differences we all can see—disappear, leaving behind a collective
sameness where anything different is a threat that needs to be eradicated. What is seen from
without as a difference, for example in religion or political ideology, becomes something that
needs to be defeated and destroyed.
War is the battle against what lies deep inside all of us: something unique. And it is also a
battle against art, against what lies deep inside all art.
I have been speaking here about art in general, not about theater or playwriting in particular,
but that is because, as I’ve said, 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

Jon FOSSE, Norway

Jon FOSSE, Norway
Norwegian writer, playwright

Jon Fosse is a renowned Norwegian writer born in 1959. He is known for his extensive body of work, which includes plays, novels, poetry collections, essays, children’s books, and translations. Fosse’s writing style is characterized by minimalism and emotional depth, making him one of the most performed playwrights in the world. In 2023, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his innovative plays and prose that give voice to the unsayable. Fosse’s work has been translated into over fifty languages, with productions presented on over a thousand stages worldwide. His minimalist and introspective plays, often bordering on lyrical prose and poetry, continue the dramatic tradition established by Henrik Ibsen in the 19th century. Fosse’s work has been associated with post-dramatic theatre, and his notable novels have been described as post-modernist and avant-garde due to their minimalism, lyricism, and unconventional use of syntax.
Fosse gained international acclaim as a dramatist with his play “Nokon kjem til å komme” (1996; “Someone Is Going to Come”, 2002), known for its radical reduction of language and powerful expression of human emotions. Inspired by artists like Samuel Beckett and Thomas Bernhard, Fosse combines local ties with modernist techniques. His works portray the uncertainties and vulnerabilities of human experiences without nihilistic contempt. In his plays, Fosse often leaves incomplete words or acts, creating a sense of unresolved tension. Themes of uncertainty and anxiety are explored in plays like “Natta syng sine songar” (1998; “Nightsongs”, 2002) and “Dødsvariasjonar” (2002; “Death Variations”, 2004). Fosse’s courage in delving into everyday life’s anxieties has contributed to his widespread recognition.
Fosse’s novels, such as “Morgon og kveld” (2000; “Morning and Evening”, 2015) and “Det er Ales” (2004; “Aliss at the Fire”, 2010), showcase his unique language characterized by pauses, interruptions, negations, and profound questioning. The trilogy “Trilogien” (2016) and the septology “Det andre namnet” (2019; “The Other Name”, 2020) further demonstrate Fosse’s exploration of love, violence, death, and reconciliation. Fosse’s use of imagery and symbolism is evident in his poetic works, including “Sterk vind” (2021) and his poetry collection “Dikt i samling” (2021). He has also translated works by Georg Trakl and Rainer Maria Rilke into Nynorsk. Overall, Jon Fosse’s works delve into the essence of the human condition, tackling themes of uncertainty, anxiety, love, and loss. With his unique writing style and profound exploration of everyday situations, he has established himself as a major figure in contemporary literature and theatre.