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In its 45th year, Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) takes a step forward in realising a dream project: Starting with 2017, Istanbul Theatre Festival returns to an annual cycle after 15 years of being held biennially. The festival is familiar with opening its curtains once a year, as it was the case from its initiation by İKSV in 1989 until 2002. Istanbul Theatre Festival will once again enrich Istanbul's theatre life with its wide programme of international and local theatre and dance performances, and events every year, however this time, in November.

The 21st Istanbul Theatre Festival will be held between 13 and 26 November 2017 under the sponsorship of Aygaz, Opet and Tüpraş.

Director of Istanbul Theatre Festival, Leman Yılmaz, shared her excitement about their decision with the following remarks:“We have always carried the hope to return to making the festival annually at our hearts. Nonetheless, it was not an easy step to turn a festival that is quite costly in production to an annual cycle in a city like Istanbul. Regardless, the new stages popping up in Istanbul day after day, the increase in the amount of theatre productions, our witnessing of the joy of theatre companies when opening their curtains for, and observing a similar boost in the productions abroad encouraged us to think about the ways of doing the festival every year. As a matter of fact, we divided the festival’s existing programme and duration into halves. This formula allowed us to do the festival every year and to keep up with the burgeoning ‘creative spirit’ in the city. As a result, while carrying the festival to an annual basis, we shrank its duration to 12 days. Now that we were making the festival every year, changing its season emerged as a possibility and we decided to realise it every November. We will put our decision to practice starting from November 2017. We did not want to make the festival audiences wait any longer. Change at certain intervals is always good. Change brings transformation and progress along with it.

Since 1989, more than 441.000 people have watched the best productions of local and international theatre and dance ensembles. Until today, 700 performances of 5600 local and international artists have been hosted by the Istanbul Theatre Festival in its 20 editions. Started producing in addition to staging them with Nazım’a Armağan, designed and directed by Genco Erkal on the 100th anniversary of Nazım Hikmet’s birth in 2002, the festival supported 34 local and international productions as a co-producer until today.

The 21st Istanbul Theatre Festival programme will be including 4 international performances from abroad and 10 local companies from Turkey. In addition to these performances to take place in diverse venues, panels and workshops will also be held free of charge with the participation of instructors and experts in their field.

The "Showcase" organised within the festival for the first time in 2014 will continue in 2017 to ensure that successful local plays are included in the programmes of international festivals and theatres, and reach wider audiences. International festival directors, theatre professionals and theatre critics will be invited to see a special programme of theatre and dance performances and will get the chance to meet with artists and ensembles from Turkey. Attended by 15 international guests in 2014 and more than 70 in 2016, the “Showcase” made it possible for productions from Turkey to be performed in festivals such as Avignon Le Off, Edinburgh Fringe, Chantiers d’Europe and the most prestigious theatres of Europe. The “Showcase” will continue to grow in the 21st Istanbul Theatre Festival.

The complete programme of the 21st Istanbul Theatre Festival will be announced this September.

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