March 27th is World Theatre Day!

Even with translations, theatre festivals like the World Stage in Toronto, and theatre companies touring the globe, it’s sometimes possible to get a glimpse of the theatre that is happening around the world.

But theatre is a live event, and you have to actually be in a place, during a time, to experience it. And thing is, with the Internet, we know what shows we’re missing in the places we are not.

So it got me thinking: if I were somewhere else in the world on March 27th, which play would I attend to celebrate World Theatre Day?

Here are a few of my picks (turns out the world is big and there’s a lot going on).  Maybe one of you could go check these out for me and report back?

I’m going to start with my top pick (because it’s a festival of international theatre, so I’m totally cheating) and the rest is in no particular order.

BOGOTÁ, Colombia
Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro
The Latin American Theatre Festival is like the best of the entire world of theatre crammed into one city. Theatre will literally be spilling out of traditional theatre spaces and into the streets. 33 countries are represented, but Romania is featured this year, which should mean there’ll be a lot of bold, theatrical stuff out there. Such as:

BROOKLYN, United States of America
‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore  by John Ford, directed by Declan Donnellan
At the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Harvey Theater
Because it’s a 17th century play about incest (ie: controversial), produced by one of the coolest large theatre companies in the UK, Cheek by Jowl.

Lydia Wilson and Jack Gordon in ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, at BAM
Photo by Richard Termine

LONDON, England
Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical  by Dennis Kelly (book) and Tim Minchin (music+lyrics)
At the Cambridge Theatre
Because I adored the book so much as a child and that my doubts about this one were squashed by people who know what they’re talking about. It’s got swings! And it doesn’t seem to have washed out too much of Roald Dahl’s irreverence and joy.

The RSC Production of Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical. Photo by Manuel Harlan

BERLIN, Germany
Lulu by Frank Wedekind, directed by Robert Wilson.
At the Berliner Ensemble
Because I don’t know where would be better to see this twisted, gritty, expressionist play about the rise and fall of a femme fatale than at the theatre founded by Brecht in 1949.  And with the legendary Robert Wilson at the helm and music by Lou Reed, I’d be there in a heartbeat (knowing full well I wouldn’t understand a word). Just look at it:

Photo © Lesley Leslie-Spinks

Peninsula by Gary Henderson, directed by Jane Waddell
At Circa Theatre
Because it’s about a kid who sleeps on a volcano.


SYDNEY, Australia
Every Breath written and directed by Benedict Andrews
At Belvoir St Theatre
Because I’m obsessed with Benedict Andrews (check out the production photos on his website and you’ll see what I mean) and I’d be curious to see a show written by such an imaginative, innovative, courageous director.

Every Breath

NEW YORK, United States of America
Once– the musical. By Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová (music+lyrics), Enda Walsh (book), directed by John Tiffany
At the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
This is a Broadway musical based on one of the most subtly romantic, charmingly unpretentious films, so my initial reaction upon hearing this play existed was a terrified guffaw. I love the movie. But then I saw that the book was written by Enda Walsh.  So it couldn’t be too bad. I’d go because it could be good.

Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Mary’s Wedding by Stephen Massicotte, directed by Bob White
At Martha Cohen Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects
A beautiful script full of things Canadians love (horses, weddings, the First World War…), staged at one of Canada’s most exciting theatres (which I have never been to).

CAPE TOWN, South Africa
Brothers in Blood by Mike van Graan, directed by Greg Homan
At Artscape
This one looks explosive, taking on as many taboo topics as will fit in one award-winning play: xenophobia, religious arrogance, the drug trade, fatherhood…

Brothers in Blood

Midsummer (une pièce et neuf chansons)  by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre, translated by Olivier Choinière, directed by Philippe Lambert
At La Petite Licorne/La Manufacture 
This “play and nine songs” was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe a few years ago, and that it’s being staged at my favourite theatre in Montreal (which happens to have a long history of staging amazing translationsof new Scottish, Irish, and British plays), so it’s bound to be awesome.

Isabelle Blais and Pierre-Luc Brillant
Photo credit: Suzane O'Neill

PARIS, France
The Suit by Peter Brook and Marie-Helène Estienne, based on the story by Can Themba
At Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord
Because it’s a musical by Peter Brook.

TOKYO, Japan
Condors “Hungry Like a Wolf” directed and choreographed by Ryohei Kondo
At the Setagaya Public Theatre
A children’s show that combines dance, theatre, skits, and puppetry. I’m in, if a kids’ show looks like this:

photo by HARU

VIENNA, Austria
Das blinde Geschehen by Botho Strauß, directed by Matthias Hartmann
At Burgtheater
I can only get so far with Google translate, so I’m not too sure what this is about, but it’s really just the images of this play that make me want to jump on a plane and go to Austria.

Alexandra Henkel, Christiane von Poelnitz, Adina Vetter, Regina Fritsch, Hermann Scheidleder, and Sabine Haupt.
Photo copyright: Reinhard Werner, Burgtheater

Photo copyright: Reinhard Werner, Burgtheater

Diving in the Moment directed by 張藝生
At the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre
I’m not sure exactly what this play is, but it looks cool. [Stay tuned for more fascinating and informed insights like this one- subscribe to my blog.]

Diving in the Moment

Krishnan’s Diary by Jacob Rajan
At  the Singapore Repertory Theatre
Apparently this play takes two of the most universal Indian clichés – the Taj Mahal and the corner store – and fuses them into a funny and touching love story. An Indian play about a couple who moves to New Zealand, staged in Singapore: perfect for World Theatre Day!

Krishnan's Diary

Dybet by Jon Atli Jonasson
At Teater Får302
Because “The Deep” is an Icelandic play based on a true story of  the sinking of a fishing boat being staged in Denmark. I have a think for Danish acting.

ROME, Italy
I Masnadieri by Friedrich Schiller, directed by Gabriele Lavia
Teatro di Roma
Because why not see a Schiller play in Rome?

Photo: Il Rossetti

I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the exciting theatre happening in the world this week. What will you be doing to celebrate World Theatre Day on Tuesday?