About an hour ago I got a tweet from a far-distant theatre mate, Travis Bedard in Austin, Texas. The 50th annual celebration of World Theatre Day is rolling round the globe as I tap away, and the North Americans and the Brits are starting to celebrate. Australia and New Zealand have marked the day in various ways today but, varying time zones being what they are, it means we get to go on enjoying the good wishes and thoughts about theatre for quite a while longer.
Like me, the other tweeters will understand what Travis means by ‘Happy Anniversary.’ This little band got together back in 2009 to kick off interest locally in what was, at the time, a fairly moribund day – as far as wider awareness was concerned – which had been set up by the International Theatre Institute back in the 1960s. All of us on the list are theatre-lovers and makers and geeks. We also live in Australia and Canada and the US. At the time we had well and truly got the whole point of social media, and thought it was worth trying to spread the word about the day using platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. And so, dear reader, we did.
Much to our delight back then, the whole thing got picked up by groups, individuals, and even the Mayor of Chicago that year, all of whom came to a big theatre party on March 27th. The day was marked in various ways, but almost always included a reading of the World Theatre Day address which, each year, is produced by a theatre luminary. This year it’s John Malkovich’s turn, and you can read it and lots more about WTD on the ITI website.
Since 2009 social media have gone into overdrive, so it wasn’t surprising this morning to find so many references to it across all of the platforms.
Earlier today I flipped back to the original post I wrote back then as reflection on how we did it all. Ah, memories …
And here’s the little video I made as the clock turned over to midnight on 27th March, 2009. We were celebrating at the after party for That Face which had opened for QTC that evening.
As I woke this morning to so many well wishes in the Twitter stream and on Facebook it occurred to me that maybe we happy little band had actually done something to raise awareness of a day that’s worth celebrating.
So, wherever you are in the world today, if you have been touched by theatre in some way, take a moment to reflect on the difference it has made to your life.