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The 18th Istanbul Theatre Festival kicks off!

The 18th Istanbul Theatre Festival started with the Opening Ceremony held at Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday, 9 May.

“Honorary Awards” of the Istanbul Theatre Festival were presented to the significant theatre actors during the Opening Ceremony of the 18th Istanbul Theatre Festival hosted by Demet Evgar, who is also the lead actress of Macbeth to be staged by Tiyatro Pangar in the festival.

Cüneyt Türel, who was deemed worthy of Honorary Award of the Istanbul Theatre Festival and was going to perform with Tilbe Saran in I Take Your Hand in Mine directed by Başar Sabuncu, bid farewell to stages and life on 1 May, 2012. Award of Cüneyt Türel, who is one of the unforgettable names of the Turkish theatre with the characters he played during his career longer than 50 years as well as his works at radio, cinema, television, and dubbing, was presented by actor Metin Deniz to Tilbe Saran and his daughter Elif Türel.

Second Honorary Award of the festival was presented to Başar Sabuncu, who directed more than 100 radio series and who is a director at Istanbul Municipal Theatres and also nationally and internationally awarded for film and theatre directing, script writing, translation, and stage design. Metin Deniz presented the award for Başar Sabuncu.

Another person awarded with the Honorary Award of the festival was Prof. Özdemir Nutku, who is the founder of Dokuz Eylül University Fine Arts Faculty Department of Theatre. Nutku contributed to Turkish theatre with his academic studies and is known for his Shakespeare translations and works on theatre. Journalist Zeynep Oral presented the award for Prof. Özdemir Nutku.

Fourth Honorary Award of the Istanbul Theatre Festival was presented to Prof. Sevda Şener who started her academic career as the first assistant of the Theatre Institute established at Ankara University in 1958 and is a significant academician of our theatre with her books, research, observations, and scientific articles on world and Turkish theatre. The Istanbul Theatre Festival Director Dikmen Gürün presented the award for Prof. Sevda Şener.

Final Honorary Award of the festival will be presented to Thomas Ostermeier, Art Director of Schaubühne Berlin and one of the prominent directors of the world theatre. Thomas Ostermeier will be presented the award before the staging of Hamlet on Saturday, 12 May at 20.30 at Harbiye Muhsin Ertuğrul Sahnesi within the festival.

After the Opening Ceremony, the 18th Istanbul Theatre Festival started with Genco Erkal’s opening performance Nâzim and Brecht, and a Bit Of Aziz Nesin.

Genco Erkal, who has been staging works of Brecht since 1971, Nâzım Hikmet since 1973, and Aziz Nesin since 1975, took the guests of the ceremony to musical journey composing of poems and stories by Nazım Hikmet, Bertolt Brecht and Aziz Nesin together with Tülay Günal, Evrim Özkaynak and pianist Yiğit Özatalay.

The 18th Istanbul Theatre Festival, which will continue until 5 June, will be a month full of theatre in Istanbul with more than 100 shows of 5 theatre and dance companies from abroad and 40 companies from Turkey as well as panel discussions, workshops, conferences, and exhibitions with the participation of worldly known theatre and dance groups.