As the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) celebrates its golden jubilee in 2022, the Istanbul Theatre Festival organised by the foundation welcomes a brand new structure and adopts a curatorial approach. While the festival will continue its legacy of presenting international and local productions of the highest calibre to the Turkish audiences, this new structure will allow for new approaches and a dynamic and innovative programming in each edition. For every two years, a different curator will be chosen from the field of performing arts (an actor, director, dramaturg, or a playwright) to be responsible for the programming of the festival.

Festival announces the curator for its 26th edition: Işıl Kasapoğlu

The 26th Istanbul Theatre Festival will be curated by Işıl Kasapoğlu, a pre-eminent figure of the Turkish theatre of the last 40 years with over a hundred plays to his credit both as a director and playwright and with well-established companies he has founded.

Işıl Kasapoğlu studied drama at the Sorbonne University and following his graduation in 1981 worked with various companies across France as a director as well as establishing his own, Theatre à Venir in Paris, with which he toured extensively and appeared in festivals. He returned to Turkey upon the invitation of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Theatres to direct The Servant of Two Masters in 1987, which earned him the prestigious award of the Ministry of Culture’s Best Director. During his consecutive tenure as a director in the State Theatres, he staged numerous plays throughout Turkey. He is the co-founder of the Aksanat Production Theatre in Istanbul and the founder of the Izmit Municipality City Theatre, which opened with his production of full six-hour version of Hamlet in 1997. He founded his own independent company, Semaver Kumpanya, in Istanbul in 2002. Recipient of numerous coveted awards, he was honoured with the Muhsin Ertuğrul Special Award at the Yapı Kredi Afife Theatre Awards in 2017 and the Honorary Award of the Istanbul Theatre Festival in 2020.

The 26th Istanbul Theatre Festival curated by Işıl Kasapoğlu will be held in November 2022 under the sponsorship of Aygaz, Opet, and Tüpraş.

Festival Team

Having been directed respectively by Zehra İpşiroğlu, Dikmen Gürün, and Leman Yılmaz since its foundation, the Istanbul Theatre Festival converts to this new structure and starts working with curators as of 2022. While the curator is responsible for the artistic context and content of the festival, all matters pertaining to the programming and operations will be conducted by Programming & Operations Manager Handan Uzal Dündar ( and Programming & Operations Coordinator Gizem Aktepe (