Theatre of Nations

As a result of the work of ITI and those associated with it, the first season of the Theatre of Nations festival was held in Paris in 1957, 10 nations were represented by 16 companies in partnership with the French authorities. The Theatre of Nations was to remain in Paris, based first at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre and later at the Odeon Theatre up until 1972.

When it began, and during its fifteen year sojourn in Paris, it was the major showcase for international theatre in the world, the goals pursued being those of quality, plurality and diversity in contemporary theatre. The Theatre of Nations in Paris was where Peking Opera, Berliner Ensemble, Kabuki, and Moscow Art Theatre were first seen in the West after the war.

In 1975 the International Theatre Institute took the title back for review and decided to award the label to an applicant city. Held first in Warsaw in 1975 and then in a series of other cities, the Theatre of Nations has moved around the world. This international, universal festival has now found expression on nearly all continents. The last Theatre of Nations was organized by the China Theatre Association in 2008, in Nanjing, China.

If a city or location is interested in the label ‘Theatre of Nations’ the organizers should get in touch with the General Secretariat. The recent organizers of Theatre of Nations worked in collaboration with ITI and with the Centres of ITI. The genuinely universal and international character of this event is protected by the rules of procedure of ITI.

Currently ITI is creating a Think Tank for the Theatre of Nations in order to re-establish the event on a regular basis.

For further information, contact the General Secretariat ITI, info(at)