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India, for the first time, will be host to the Theatre Olympics since the event's inception in 1993, the Ministry of Culture in association with National School of Drama (NSD) announced here today. Running from February 17 to April 8, the eighth edition of the international event will see over 500 plays and 700 ambience performances by artistes from across the globe. Celebrating the cultural and lingual diversity of the participating countries, the theatre event is expected to host over 50 international and 150 Indian theatre groups over the span of two months. Speaking at the event, minister of culture Mahesh Sharma said that theatres can be used to address social issues and also play a major part in awakening the society's consciousness. "Since ancient times we have used plays as a medium to convey messages of social importance even in villages. Today there are several burning social issues that face us, these issues cannot be resolved only by the government's initiatives or laws. "They can only be resolved by society's consciousness, and theatre plays a major part in awakening that consciousness.
And we hope theatre becomes a means to address social issues not just in India but also on a global level," the minister said. Ratan Thiyam, chairperson of NSD Society, informed that the theme for the upcoming event will be 'Flag of Friendship'. "With this theme for the Theatre Olympics, we expect to reach a global level of friendship and compassion with theatre artistes. "The 8th Theatre Olympics will hoist the flag of brotherhood and friendship across the globe," Thiyam said. Taking pride in hosting the event, director of NSD, Waman Kendre said India would put her best foot forward in the field of theatre. "This is for the first time India is trying to showcase and exchange theatre with the world. When it comes to theatre, it doesn't get any bigger than the Theatre Olympics. "NSD is all geared up to play the perfect host as India will be the cynosure of the theatre world and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure the event is a grand success," Kendre said. In addition, there will be allied activities like exhibitions, seminars, symposia, interactive discussions and workshops with well-known academicians, authors, actors, designers and directors. With the inaugural ceremony scheduled to be held here on Feb 17, the event will come to a close in Mumbai on April 8 with a gala function.
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