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Message for World Theatre Day 2020 by Shahid Nadeem

Theatre as a Shrine


At the end of a performance of Ajoka Theatre’s play on Sufi Poet Bulleh Shah , an old man, accompanied by a young boy, came to the actor playing the role of the great Sufi , “My grandson is unwell, would you please blow a blessing upon him.” The actor was taken aback and said, “I am not Bulleh Shah, I am just an actor playing this role.” The old man said, “Son, you are not an actor, you are a reincarnation of Bulleh Shah, his Avatar ”. Suddenly a whole new concept of theatre dawned upon us, where the actor becomes the reincarnation of the character, he/she is portraying.


Exploring stories such as that of Bulleh Shah, and there are so many in all cultures, can become a bridge between us, the theatre-makers and an unacquainted but enthusiastic audience. While performing on stage, we sometimes get carried away by our philosophy of theatre, our role as harbingers of social change and leave a large section of the masses behind. In our engagement with the challenges of the present, we deprive ourselves of the possibilities of a deeply moving spiritual experience that theatre can provide. In today’s world where bigotry, hate, and violence is on the rise, our planet is plunging deeper and deeper into a climatic catastrophe, we need to replenish our spiritual strength. We need to fight apathy, lethargy, pessimism, greed, and disregard for the world we live in, the planet we live on.


Theatre has a role, a noble role, in energizing and mobilizing humanity to lift itself from its descent into the abyss. It can uplift the stage, the performance space, into something sacred. In South Asia, the artists touch with reverence the floor of the stage before stepping onto it, an ancient tradition when the spiritual and the cultural were intertwined. It is time to regain that symbiotic relationship between the artist and the audience, the past and the future. Theatre-making can be a sacred act and the actors indeed can become the avatars of the roles they play. Theatre has the potential of becoming a shrine and the shrine a performance space.

Osonó Theatre performs in Veresegyház and Budapest

Osonó Theatre's documentarist piece, "As water reflects the face" will be performed on three occasions during the end of February: on the 25th of February at 2 and 5 p.m. at the Innovation Centre of Veresegyház, organised by the Catholic Secondary School of Veresegyház; on the 26th of February at 12:20 p.m. in the Budapest Kövessi Erzsébet Baptist Secondary School and on the 27th of February at 1 p.m. in the Budapest Leövey Klára Greek Catholic Secondary School. The performance is followed by an audience discussion on each occasion.


The performances are part of the company's complex theatre education programme, supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary. The project's objective is to awaken and reinforce social sensitivity in the youngsters and the professionals who work with them, and develop their abilities to address complex problems at a personal or group dynamics level. The complex theatre education programmes create an opportunity to voice social problems and personal fates that bring the participants to a joint reflection. The project focuses on target groups for whom such type of training and experiences are hardly accessible due to economic or geographical obstacles.

Osonó Theatre performs in Târgu Mureș

The 21 of February at 4 p.m. the Deus Providebit House will be the venue of the documentarist performance "As water reflects the face. The performance will be followed by an audience discussion. The production directed by Fazakas Misi has been performed 566 times up until now, in 188 settlements of 24 countries of 3 continents, it has received 12 international festival invitations and 2 awards for best performance.

The event is part of a project supported by the Alba Iulia Caritas EEA Norway Grant and Renovabis, therefore entry is gratis, and due to the limited number of seats requires prior registration, which can be arranged by sending a mail to  

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