International Theatre Festival of Kerala kicks off

Fest returns after two years with the theme 'Humanity Must Unite'


The Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi (KSNA) is back with the 13th edition of the International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK) after two pandemic years. The festival which began on February 5 will go on till February 14. KSNA organises the International Theatre Festival of Kerala along with the Department of Culture, Government of Kerala, India.

The festival returns after two years with the curatorial theme 'Humanity Must Unite', proclaiming the need to embrace the human spirit after long solitary times. Anuradha Kapur, Deepan Sivaraman, and B Ananthakrishnan are the curators of the 13th edition. This reclamation edition features productions from masters of theatre like Peter Brook, Eugenio Barba, Romeo Castelucci, Brett Bailey, etc. Colloquium, workshops, public lectures, and allied events like performance poetry and traditional art performances are the other highlights of this year’s festival.

A total of 10 international plays, four Malayalam plays, and 10 plays from the rest of India will be performed at the ITFok. The 13th edition of ITFok is a massive event with International plays from Italy, Denmark, Palestine, Taiwan, France, South Africa, Lebanon and the UK. One of the highlights is the play Tempest Project, directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne, which will be staged in India for the first time.

Eugenio Barba’s Ave Maria is a play dedicated to Chilean actress Maria Cànepa, who passed in 2006. The whole play itself is like a liturgy and funeral dance in her honour. Another play to watch out for is Samson, a work deeply invested in the socio-politics of South Africa, directed by Brett Bailey. Then there are plays by contemporary legends such as Romeo Castellucci from Italy, Eugenio Barba from Denmark and Palestinian playwright and director Bashar Markus. There are two plays for children – Hero Beauty, an opera from Taiwan, and Maya Bazaar, staged by Telangana-based Surabhi. The grand finale will be Royston Abel’s Manganiyar Seduction, which has toured 33 countries.

The festival is enhanced by introducing a platform to discuss various issues of social importance. Professor of Philosophy Sundar Sarukkai, Theatre director Neelam Mansingh, Academic Shiv Viswanathan, Theatre activist Mangai and MK Rania will be presenting a series of talks that will focus on different aspects of theatre and its practice.

There will be also a public lecture session featuring artist-poet Ghulam Mohammed Shiekh, Poet Satchidanandan, South African sociologist Ari Sitas, Actor Prakash Raj and Author Mukund Rao, GN Devy as some of their main speakers.

ITFoK is also organising a Master class theatre workshop for women in association with the Kerala Institute of Local Administration and Kudumbashree at KILA.

The curatorial team of ITFoK will conduct a Theatre Pedagogy session to discuss the study of theatre, and its academic curriculum as an interaction with 15 leading theatre practitioners.