18th Istanbul Theater Festival kicks off

18th Istanbul Theater Festival kicks off

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
18th Istanbul Theater Festival kicks off


The 18th Istanbul Theater Festival will question issues, states, and realities around human life including human rights, migration, war, and violence, under the theme of “Freedom – Questionings.” A total of five foreign and nearly 40 theater and dance ensembles from Turkey will meet with the audience for more than 100 performances.

The event will also host a particularly special project this year. World renowned contemporary artist Kutluğ Ataman is inviting everyone to complete their “dream sky” with his new project, created especially for the festival: “SILSEL, Letters to Turkey.” His project will take place between May 12 and June 5 at the Galata Greek Primary School.

The “Year of Chinese Culture in Turkey” events, which aim to reinforce cultural and political relations between Turkey and China, will herald the beginning of the festival. After shows by the Shanghai Song and Dance Ensemble and the Beijing Opera at Fulya Sanat Merkezi on May 5, a colorful street parade by Beijing Dragon and Lion Street Theater on May 8 is set to take place on the İstiklal Street.



Program of the event

The program of the festival was announced at a press conference at Salon İKSV in March. İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı, Istanbul Theater Festival Director ProfessorDikmen Gürün, and Tüpraş Communications Manager Seval Kızılcan participated in the press meeting.

The festival will also host five world-famous international ensembles from Germany, France, Holland, United Kingdom and Switzerland. Belgium and Sweden will also produce works with the participation of artists from Turkey.

Hamlet, staged by Schaubühne Berlin, one of Europe’s most significant theatres, with the interpretation of the artistic director Thomas Ostermeier will meet the audience on May 12 and 13 at Harbiye Muhsin Ertuğrul Stage. Lars Eidinger stars as Hamlet in a production where more than 12 characters will be played by only six actors.

The festival will also welcome the prestigious French choreographers José Montalvo and Dominique Hervieu’s interpretation of Orphée, hailed as a “multi-coloured alchemy.”

Kafka’s Monkey adopted from the short story A Report to an Academy by Franz Kafka and based on the monologue of a monkey which has learned how to speak and behave like a human being, will be staged on May 19 and 20 at Kenter Theater.

Hans Was Heiri, a show extending from drama to dance, circus to music by Martin Zimmermann and Dimitri de Perrot, will be staged on May 26, 27 and 28 at Harbiye Muhsin Ertuğrul Stage with three special shows.

Renowned playwright Eugène Ionesco’s text, Rhinocéros, which reflects the historical and political turmoil of the 1950s is being restaged by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, Director of the Théâtre de la Ville and the Paris Festival d’Automne, with bold references to the present and the distinct discoveries of the of the young director.

The play describes on a rhino attack on a city, followed by the panic experienced and caused by people turning into rhinoceroses, will be staged on June 1 and 2 at Harbiye Muhsin Ertuğrul Theater.

Local productions at the 18th Istanbul Theater Festival

The 18th Istanbul Theatre Festival program includes more than 30 plays set to be presented to audiences for the first time, as well as four different plays staged by Dostlar Tiyatrosu, Kenter Tiyatrosu and Oyun Atölyesi.

Genco Erkal’s new play, I am Bertolt Brecht, is an adaptation by the veteran actor from the great playwright’s poems, songs and stories.

“Let this be Brecht’s comeback!” says Erkal, hailing the return of the playwright who aimed to awaken consciousness, widen his audiences’ horizons, and provoke with questions.

Genco Erkal shares the stage with actress Tülay Günal in a play that offers a journey on issues like the global order, the position of women in society, and war. The play is to be accompanied live by pianist Yiğit Özatalay. I am Bertolt Brecht can be seen on May 23 and 24 May at Kenter Theater.

This year’s festival will pay its respects to Kenter Tiyatrosu, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2011.

“Love Letters” by Müşfik Kenter and Kadriye Kenter on May 11 and “Queen Lear” on May 13 by Yıldız Kenter at Kenter Theater will be worthy tributes to 50 years of history.



The greatest love in history as told by Shakespeare will be staged for the first time in Turkey since 1947. Zerrin Tekindor stars as Cleopatra while Haluk Bilginer plays as Antonius. The production, directed by Kemal Aydoğan, will represent Turkey at London’s Globe Theater’s 2012 International Shakespeare Festival on May 26 and 27 in London, before meeting its audience at the Istanbul Theatre Festival on June 1 and 2 at Oyun Atölyesi.