Culture

World Theatre Day & a look to theatre history in Afghanistan

March 27 is coinciding with World Theatre Day. More than 25 countries of the world formed International Theatre Institute (ITI) in 1948 when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) joined with world-renowned theatre experts to form an international non-governmental organization in the field of the performing arts.
The day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute ITI. It is celebrated annually by ITI Centers and the international theatre community. Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion.
The mission of ITI is to “promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in theatre arts in order to consolidate peace and friendship between peoples, to deepen mutual understanding and to increase creative cooperation between all people in the theatre arts.”
Today, ITI consists of approximately 90 Centers worldwide. An ITI Center is made up of professionals active in the theatre life of a country and representative of all branches of the performing arts. The annual message of the World Theatre Day is selected and shared by a figure of world stature. The first World Theatre Day Message was written by Jean Cocteau in 1962. 
In Afghanistan, the modern theatre was founded during the reign of King Amanullah Khan and Mahmoud Tarzi was the first person who promoted theatre in the country. Abdul Ghafoor Breshna, who trained lots of students in the field of theatre, was also one of the founders of new theatre in Afghanistan.
The first theatrical show was performed to members of kingdom family on the occasion of Afghanistan Independence Day in 1922 in Stoor palace of the ministry of foreign affairs. On the same year, other theatrical shows were performed by Ali Afandi in Paghman.
In role of woman, ‘Mother of the Country’ was the first play, which was written by Ghulam Hazrat Koshan, was performed and played in Paghman by a young man named Mir Mohammad Kazim Hashimi, who was cooperating with the then press and was a writer and poet.
Meanwhile, Abdul Ghayas and Mahmoud Farouk Afandi were other players who were playing the role of woman in that time.
Besides plays written by Afghan writers, sometimes some plays written by well-known writers of the world were performed by Afghan players in Kabul.
After years, Abdul Qayoum Bashid, Ustad Rafiq Sadiq, Ustad Mashal Hunaryar, Habiba Askar, Parween Sanatgar, Zarghona Aram and Muzaida Saroor did great jot in the field of theatre in Afghanistan.
The art of theatre faced with challenges due to civil war and arriving of the Taliban in the country as many theatre artists moved abroad.
Since 2001 and recent changes in Afghanistan, the art of theatre was revived by national and international cultural organizations as Kabul University’s theatre faculty and Kabul Theatre restarted their art operation.
Since 2004, Afghanistan National Theatre Festival has been annually held in Afghanistan in close cooperation of a number of world countries’ cultural organizations as lots of domestic and foreign artists show their performance in the festival.
Lailuma Noori

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