After a glorious run of 51 days across 17 cities of India, the historic event 8th Theatre Olympics drew to a colourful close in Mumbai today. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis was the Chief Guest at the closing ceremony. Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Culture, Dr. Mahesh Sharma and eminent theatre and film personality Shri Nana Patekar were Guests of Honour.
Addressing the gathering, the Union Culture Minister said that the 8th Theatre Olympics aimed to showcase the rich heritage and culture across the length and breadth of the country. He expressed satisfaction at the success of the event, which he recalled witnessed 450 shows from more than 30 countries performed across 17 Indian cities. He said that given the immense diversity of the country, how India remains united is a matter of wonder for many other countries. The Minister said that the power which keeps India united, despite its immense heterogeneity, is its rich heritage and culture.
Speaking of the power of theatre and culture, Dr. Sharma said that life is like theatre. He said that theatre has the power to unite the past, the present and the future, and to connect cultures ranging from tribal, folk and urban cultures. The Minister said that the Government aims to use the power of our culture in uniting the entire nation and in realizing the Prime Minister’s dream of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’. He said that the goal is to take the glory of Indian culture to all corners of the world.
Dr. Sharma said that around 400 artists from various parts of the country have come to put up a very colourful show at the closing ceremony. Speaking of the venue of the closing ceremony, the Minister said that the Mumbai city is nothing less than a microcosm of India. He appreciated Mumbaikars for the enthusiasm they showed in attending the cultural shows held as part of the theatre festival, all of which were houseful.
The Minister said that the medium of theatre is very powerful, capable of gifting us very powerful messages, whether it be that of Swachh Bharat or of preventing foeticide. He said we need to realize this power through which we can give the invaluable messages drawn from the psyche of a great nation.
The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis said that theatre is a place which brings together all sectors of the society. He said that while the film industry is moving ahead with the help of technology, bringing in various new visual effects, theatre is a medium which gives us all such effects even without employing technology. He said that theatre will continue to keep generations and the society together. He also expressed happiness that Mumbai was chosen as the host city for the closing ceremony of the Olympics.
The closing ceremony was honoured by the gracious presence of Artistic Director, 8th Theatre Olympics, Shri Ratan Thiyam and presided over by Acting Chairman, National School of Drama Society, Dr. Arjun Deo Charan. Chairman of the International Committee of Theatre Olympics, Shri Theodoros Terzopoulos and popular theatre and film personality Shri Nawazuddin Siddiqui were special guests at the closing ceremony. Director, National School of Drama, Prof. Waman Kendre, was also present on the occasion.
‘Rang Shikhar’, a vibrant collage of tribal, folk and theatre performances, followed the closing ceremony. Renowned actors Shri Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shri Manoj Joshi, Ms. Himani Shivpuri, Shri Sachin Khedekar, along with well-known ventriloquist and puppeteer Shri Ramdas Padhye, famous Bharatnatyam dancer Ms. Sandhya Purecha and famed Lavani dancer Ms. Vaishali Jadhav, performed at the presentation.
The 8th Theatre Olympics was inaugurated by Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu on 17th February 2018 at the majestic Red Fort in New Delhi. This edition of Theatre Olympics brought together around 25,000 artists under the theme “Flag of Friendship”. The event witnessed 450 shows from more than 30 countries performed across 17 cities such as Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Imphal, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram, and Varanasi during the festival.
The 51-day long 8th Theatre Olympics, the biggest international theatre festival held in India for the first time, staged more than 400 plays and hosted 78 allied events including 34 Living Legend series, 29 Master Classes, 7 Interfaces, 6 national and international seminars and 2 workshops across 17 cities. Besides, about 600 ambiance performances and 250 youth forum shows took place during the nationwide event.