“Theatre is Peace” on World Theatre Day 2024

“Theatre is Peace” on World Theatre Day 2024
Jon Fosse; courtesy of World Theatre Day.
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Over the past year, we’ve come to a point in the arts and entertainment industry where the heavy hitters of the modern world are in dire straits. Both the video game and film industries have fallen on bleakly hard times for their workers, for the first time in a while bringing some real kinship with their estranged cousin—the theatre industry. But today, on World Theatre Day 2024, we revel in the fact that while consistently at odds with the industry framework around it, theatre is a nigh-invulnerable medium.


World Theatre Day 2024, as it has every year since 1962, is encapsulated by a message from a renowned theatre practitioner from across the globe. This year’s message is delivered by Jon Fosse of Norway, a playwright and writer who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2023. Second only to Henrik Ibsen for most produced Norwegian playwright, Fosse’s minimalist and lyrical style has spanned a long and active career, from his prose and poetry of the 80s to the biographical fiction of Melancholy and his first forays into theatre in the 90s, all the way up to present day where he is still creating new and impactful works.


“Art Is Peace,” states the emphatic title of Fosse’s message. “I know of no better way to bring opposites together. This is the exact reverse approach from that of the violent conflicts we see all too often in the world, which indulge the destructive temptation to annihilate anything foreign, anything unique and different, often by using the most inhuman inventions technology has put at our disposal. There is terrorism in the world. There is war. For people have an animalistic side, too, driven by the instinct to experience the other, the foreign, as a threat to one’s own existence rather than as a fascinating mystery.”


Theatre is one of our earliest art forms. It is one of the most connective forms of storytelling that exists at the core of so many other mediums. It is something primal and ethereal, and in having these qualities, it has the power to transcend danger. While the entirety of the theatre industry could fall, unlike with film or gaming or tech, theatre would still exist. This is the power we can revel in on World Theatre Day 2o24, and in a world wrought with conflict, Jon Fosse states its importance better than anyone.


“War and art are opposites, just as war and peace are opposites—it’s as simple as that.”


Click here to read the entirety of Jon Fosse’s message for World Theatre Day 2024.