The idea to found an international theatre association was born at the 1947 June UNESCO Congress as an initiative of UNESCO President Sir Julien Huxley and writer-playwright JB Priestley. Finally, the International Theatre Institute came to life in 1948, three years after the end of World War II, at the beginning of the Cold War. The founders hoped that ITI would promote the networking of theatres, artists and theatre schools in different countries of the world, facilitating mutual understanding as a principal aim of UNESCO. Today ITI has centres on all continents in 90 countries altogether, being the most prominent theatre “network”. From the beginning, the exchange of information and experience, the promotion of guest performances stood at the core of ITI’s activities. ITI centre has been located in Paris from the onset until very recently, when it was moved to Shanghai.
Hungary became an ITI member in 1957, on the initiative of Ferenc Hont. Endre Marton was the first President. He was followed by director, theatre manager György Lengyel, who, between 1981-1999 was not only the leader of the Hungarian centre but also member of the ITI Executive Council. For this achievement he was awarded the title of Honorary Member at the 2017 ITI Congress.
At present, the Hungarian ITI centre is a professional NGO of public interest the purpose of which is to promote networking and communication between Hungarian and international theatres. Beyond this a regular task of the ITI centre is to convey the World Theatre Day Message to the Hungarian theatres. The Hevesi Sándor Prize, awarded by the cultural ministry and ITI, is also announced on March 27. The prize honours the activity of those Hungarian theatre personalities (artists, cultural managers), who have great merits in the international dissemination of the Hungarian culture abroad.
We believe it our main task to inform the international theatre professionals about the important events of the Hungarian theatre life, its main events and artistic teams. For several years we published an English language Hungarian Theatre Bulletin but in 2014 we transitioned to issuing online English newsletters. We usually distribute two newsletters in a season to festivals and foreign theatres, based on the international network of ITI. We prioritize the activity of the member theatres of ITI Hungarian centre, but we also try to send out more general news: for instance about the POSZT National Festival of Theatre. Lately, thanks to the possibilities offered by the National Cultural Fund grants, we also managed to organize workshops. We also find it important to promote the contemporary Hungarian plays, trying to help the orientation of international experts in the Hungarian theatre world.
Main sponsor: NKA