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Helen Mirren and Olga Garay-English Deliver International and U.S. World Theatre Day Messages

Since 1962, World Theatre Day has been celebrated by the circulation of the World Theatre Day Message. The first message was written by Jean Cocteau.

Helen Mirren and Olga Garay-English Deliver International and U.S. World Theatre Day Messages

The Global Theater Initiative, a partnership between Theatre Communications Group and The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, is inviting all theatres, individual artists, institutions, and audiences to celebrate the 60th annual World Theatre Day on March 27, 2021. Each year, a renowned theatre artist of world stature is invited by the International Theatre Institute Worldwide to craft an international message to mark the global occasion. This year the International message has been written by British actress Helen Mirren, and the U.S. World Theatre Day message has been given by Olga Garay-English, global arts leader.

"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."

- Helen Mirren, stage, screen and television actress
International World Theatre Day Message

"As a refugee to this country, having fled the Cuban revolution in 1961, I have come to believe in the absolute power of the arts to build community between often disparate peoples. Artists can create human connection and understanding in a way that politicians cannot."

-Olga Garay-English, global arts leader
U.S. World Theatre Day Message

Both messages have been translated into multiple languages. Read all the World Theatre Day Messages here.

"Olga Garay-English has been a tireless champion for the arts and for cultural exchange, and we're thrilled to share her moving U.S. World Theatre Day message," said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. "After a year of social-distancing, border closures, and immeasurable human loss, these messages fill us with renewed hope, and remind us of theatre's power in working across both physical and virtual divides."

Since 1962, World Theatre Day has been celebrated by the circulation of the World Theatre Day Message. The first World Theatre Day international message was written by Jean Cocteau. Succeeding honorees have included Arthur Miller (1963), Ellen Stewart (1975), Vaclav Havel (1994), Ariane Mnouchkine (2005), Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi (2007), Augusto Boal (2009), Dame Judi Dench (2010), Jessica A. Kaahwa (2011) and Anatoli Vassiliev (2017). In 2020, the International World Theatre Message was given by Shahid Nadeem, and the U.S. World Theatre Message by Nicholas Viselli of Theater Breaking Through Barriers.

Born in Cuba, Olga Garay-English has dedicated herself to championing international cultural exchange and engagement throughout her career. She was the Founding Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, among other appointments. She has supported several theater-related projects during her career, including roles as co-founder of the 35 year-old Miami International Hispanic Theater Festival; co-conspirator in establishing the Under the Radar Festival in New York City and the Radar LA Festival; curator of Lincoln Center's 2007 Ibero-American Theater Festival; and Senior Advisor for International Affairs for Chile's Fundación Teatro a Mil and the Festival Internacional Santiago a Mil. For her work over the last three decades, Olga has received awards including The LA Weekly Theater Award for Special Achievement, the Queen of the Angels, for her contributions to LA's theater sector (2012). In 2006 she was awarded a "Bessie," the New York Dance and Performance Award, for sustained contribution to the field of dance. The Association of Performing Arts Presenters gave her its most prestigious award in 2003, the Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award, honoring individuals whose outstanding service, creative thinking, and leadership have had a significant impact on the profession of performing arts presenting. She was named a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 2012 to recognize her "significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields."

Helen Mirren is one of the best known and most respected actresses with an international career that spans stage, screen and television and has won many awards for her powerful and versatile performances, including the Academy Award in 2007 for her performance in The Queen.

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