After a glorious run of 51 days across 17 cities of India, the historic event of the 8th Theatre Olympics drew to a colourful close in Mumbai on 8 April, with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma and eminent theatre and film personality Nana Patekar and Nawzuddin Siddiqui in attendance.

Arjun Deo Charan, acting Chairman, National School of Drama Society presided over the ceremony in the presence of Ratan Thiyam, Artistic Director, 8th Theatre Olympics. Theodoros Terzopoulos, Chairman of the International Committee of Theatre Olympics, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Culture, M L Srivastava were special guests at the ceremony along with Director, National School of Drama, Prof Waman Kendre.

“We get many chances to show our strength and potential, but the 8th Theatre Olympics gave us unprecedented opportunity to show the power of our culture, that could not have been possible without the inspiring support of the government. NSD is proud to have organised an event that has shown the cultural stature of India,” said Kendre.

“I wish that Indian theatre, with support of the Indian government dominates the world. The 9th Theatre Olympics will be jointly organised by Russia and Japan,” informed Chairman of the International Committee of Theatre Olympics, Shri Theodoros Terzopoulos.

“I am really happy that Prof Kendre has taken theatre on to an altogether another platform. I appreciate your work and thank you for promoting and keeping theatre alive; thank you also for being associated with theatre for so long in every possible manner,” said eminent theatre and film personality, Nana Patekar.

“Our rich heritage and culture is the reason that India stands united today despite the diversity. Theatre is like life, and like life, it goes on ~ only time, settings and people change. Like our city of Mumbai too, carries on in all situations. Through Theatre Olympics, we have commenced our journey towards the goal of weaving the entire nation into a common yet diverse cultural fabric,” said Minister of State for Culture, Mahesh Sharma.

The Chief Minister appreciated the selection of Mumbai for the final phase of the Theatre Olympics, as much before becoming a centre for cinema, Maharashtra has been the centre for theatre. Without the technical aspects of cinema, he observed, theatre is able to create the effect through acting, and hence it will never die.

Acting Chairman, National School of Drama Society, Arjun Deo Charan thanked the students and faculty of NSD for their single-minded support through the event, as also the coordinators in all 17 cities, who worked untiringly to make a success of the mega event.

Rang Shikhar, a vibrant collage of tribal, folk and theatre performances, followed the closing ceremony. Renowned actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manoj Joshi, Himani Shivpuri, Sachin Khedekar, along with well-known ventriloquist and puppeteer Ramdas Padhye, famous Bharatanatyam dancer Sandhya Purecha and famed Lavani dancer Vaishali Jadhav, performed at the presentation.

The 8th Theatre Olympics was inaugurated by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu on 17 February at the majestic Red Fort in the Capital. 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 mammoth 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, seven Interfaces, six national and international seminars and two workshops across these 17 cities.

Besides, about 600 ambience performances and 250 youth forum shows took place during the nation-wide event. One wishes for NSD to gain such heights with regular Theatre Festivals of significance, fetching accolades and establishing India’s National School of theatre among the leading theatre training and research institutes of the world.