Video: Luis Alfaro & Jon Fosse Deliver International World Theatre Day Message 2024

Celebrate the 62nd World Theatre Day!

By: Mar. 27, 2024
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The Global Theater Initiative, a partnership between Theatre Communications Group and The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics (The Lab) at Georgetown University, is inviting all theatres, individual artists, institutions, and audiences to celebrate the 62nd annual World Theatre Day on March 27, 2024.

Each year, a renowned theatre artist of world stature is invited by the International Theatre Institute Worldwide to craft an international message marking the global occasion. This year the International message is given by Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse. The U.S. World Theatre Day message is given by performance artist, writer, theater director, and social activist Luis Alfaro, and a video of his address can be found below!

For the third time ever, GTI invited a U.S. Emergent Artist to pen the message, which this year is given by actor, director, and producer Caitlin Nasema Cassidy, and which can be found below!

The messages have been translated into multiple languages.

“TCG is proud to collaboratively serve as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute with our partners, the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics,” said LaTeshia Ellerson, interim chief growth officer, TCG. “At a time of rising international conflict and a global refugee crisis, the power of theatre to humanize and forge solidarity across borders is deeply important. We hope theatre workers will share these addresses widely and join us in celebrating World Theatre Day!”

“In these addresses, the artists articulate the power of theatre to both witness the pain of a world at war but also transform it,” said Karena Fiorenza, interim chief executive officer, TCG. “That transformation comes from theatre’s power to embody what Luis Alfaro named—tu eres mi otro yo. Caitlin Nasema Cassidy extends that connection to the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, now extinct, and all our more-than-human kin. We hope that theatre people across the globe will read these addresses and feel a renewed energy for their essential work.”

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 (2016). In 2023, the International World Theatre Message was given by Samiha Ayoub; Martyna Majok gave the U.S. World Theatre Message and Devika Ranjan gave the U.S. Emergent Artist Author Message. 

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.

Luis Alfaro

is a Chicano playwright born and raised in downtown Los Angeles. He was the Associate Artistic Director of Center Theatre Group at the Music Center of Los Angeles County (2021-2022), home of the Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson & Kirk Douglas Theaters, where he produced over one hundred new play commissions, productions, workshops, and readings. He is the only playwright in the history of the Kennedy Center to have received two ‘Fund for New American Play’ awards in the same year. An Associate Professor at the University of Southern California, he is the director of the MFA in Dramatic Writing program. He was previously on faculty at California Institute of the Arts (Cal-Arts), Writers Program at UCLA Extension and a University of California Regents Fellow at U.C. Riverside. He has received fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, popularly known as a “genius grant”, awarded to people who have demonstrated expertise and exceptional creativity in their respective fields. He is also the recipient of The United States Artists; Ford Foundation Art of Change; Joyce Foundation; Mellon Foundation; PEN America/Laura Pels International Foundation Theater Award for a Master Dramatist, among others. He was the inaugural Playwright-in-Residence for six seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (2013-2019); Playwright’s Ensemble at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre (2013-2020); Inaugural Imaginistas Latinx Playwrights at the Los Angeles Theatre Center (2021-); and served in numerous positions for the Ojai Playwrights Conference (2002-2022). His plays include Electricidad, Oedipus El Rey, Mojada, Delano, Body of Faith, Alleluia the Road, Black Butterfly, Bruja, and Straight as a Line, which have been seen at regional theaters throughout the United States, Latin America, Canada, and Europe. His most recent play, The Travelers, was produced at the Magic Theater in San Francisco and is the winner of the Bay Area 2024 Glickman Prize. The production traveled to the Los Angeles Theatre Center, where it was named one of the nine best productions of the year by the Los Angeles Times. Luis spent two decades in the Los Angeles Poetry and Performance Art communities, where he regularly presented at Highways Performance Space, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and Beyond Baroque Poetry Center. His book, The Greek Trilogy of Luis Alfaro, is the winner of the prestigious Greek & British Hellenic Prize, and licensed by Dramatists Play Service. He is a local Emmy winner, and Emmy nominated for his short film, Chicanismo, which was produced by PBS, named Best Experimental Film at the San Antonio CineFestival and Best Short at CineAccion in San Francisco. 

His recording, down-town, released on SST/New Alliance Records, was awarded Best Spoken-Word Release from the National Association of Independent Record Distributors. He was a student of playwright Maria Irene Fornes, performance artist Scott Kelman, and a product of the Inner-City Cultural Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Caitlin Nasema Cassidy 

(she/her) is an actor, director, and producer making experimental performance that is physical, collaborative, and poetic. Her practice is rooted in joy, embodied research, and (com)post-activism. Theatre includes NY Times Critic's Pick The Vagrant Trilogy at The Public Theater, the world premiere of Paradise at Central Square Theatre (2018 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actress), NY Times Critic’s Pick Pay No Attention to the Girl with Target Margin, and Ferry Tales at The John F. Kennedy Center. Caitlin is a Grist 50 List Fixer, Social Impact Community Partner at the John F. Kennedy Center, and recipient of a National Performance Network Creation and Development Fund Award. She holds the Artist-in-Residence position at Georgetown University’s Earth Commons Institute for the Environment and Sustainability and is Co-Artistic Director of LubDub Theatre Co. 

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