ITI / IIT (International Theatre Institute / Institut International du Théâtre)

The ITI was founded in 1948 in Prague. Membership in the ITI is through national centres or associations of centres, and at present there are national centres in approximately 99 countries. The ITI insists on a formal associate relationship to UNESCO and it is its basic partner among international non-governmental theatre organisations in the field of the performing arts.

The ITI is an international non-governmental theatre organisation whose objective is to support international exchanges of theoretical knowledge and practical experience in the theatre arts, doing so by organising and supporting theatre festivals and initiating professional seminars and workshops. The ITI conducts its work through eight specialised committees or project groups.


  • To support the international exchange of knowledge and best practices in the field of the performing arts
  • To stimulate the formation and growth of cooperation between theatre artists
  • To increase public awareness of the need for artistic creativity and support for it with respect to the advancement of the field
  • To further understanding and contribute to strengthening peace and friendship among nations
  • To join in upholding the ideals and goals of UNESCO
  • To fight and take a stand against all forms of racism or social and political discrimination

The General Secretariat of the ITI is based in the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris. The General Secretary is Tobias BIANCONE. The international President of the ITI is currently the Bangladeshi dramatist and professor Ramendu MAJUMDAR.

The directive body of the ITI is the Congress of members, which is assembled at the plenary meeting. In the period between Congresses the work of the ITI is directed by the Executive Committee and the General Secretariat. The Congress is made up of official representatives of the national centres.

The Congress determines the basic guidelines of the ITI’s work, approves expenditures for the past two years and the budget for the next two years. The Congress elects the members of the Executive Committee. All decisions are adopted by a majority of present members, and each centre has just one vote; no centre can vote by proxy.

The ITI works to fulfil its own goals and those of UNESCO by means of various activities, such as colloquia, conferences, symposia, workshops, training courses, publications, and the dissemination of international information on the theatre. Some of its most important activities have been:

In 1962 the ITI announced the International Day of Theatre, which since then has been celebrated each year on 27 March around the world.

In 1982 the Dance Committee of the ITI for the first time declared 29 April the International Day of Dance.

The Theatre of Nations Festival – from 1957 to 1986, since then the ITI only rarely lends this logo to selected events

Albert Botbol – University of the Theatre of Nations – in Tunisia and Venezuela as a permanent base for workshops for young theatre professionals, especially in developing countries

In 1998 the UNESCO-ITI Chair ‘Theatre and Culture of Civilisations’ was created in Bucharest – a basis for regular workshops, seminars, study stays, and festivals for young artists.

Each year the ITI in cooperation with the Japanese national centre hands out the Uchimura Prize in recognition of work and activity related to Japanese theatre.

The ITI World Congress takes place every two years.

Basic publications of the ITI:

  • The information brochure of the ITI in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic -
    NEWS (news from the General Secretariat) is published twice annually.
  • The World of Theatre – is published every two years in English, French, and Arabic, and contains analyses of recent theatre seasons in individual countries; it is available in the Library of the Theatre Institute.
  • The World Theatre Directory – an internet portal updated every two years that presents basic information and contacts (a directory of theatres, festivals, schools, etc.).
  • Review of Theatre Periodicals – the contents of theatre periodicals published around the world.
  • WECT – World Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Theatre (Vol. I – Europe, Vol. II – America, Vol. III – Africa, Volume IV – Asia/Pacific, published by the ITI in cooperation with other international NGOs: AICT, FIRT, SIBMAS, with the support of the Participation Programme of UNESCO as part of the World Decade for Cultural Development, published by Routledge).

The ITI currently has 11 international committees or project groups and international fora, each with its own programme

  • Communication Committee
  • Committee for Cultural Development and Identity
  • Drama Theatre Committee
  • International Dance Committee
  • International Festival Forum
  • International Monodrama Forum
  • International Playwrights‘ Forum
  • Musical Theatre Committee
  • New Project Group
  • Educational Committee (theatre education and professional training)
  • Young Practitioners Committee

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