The 22nd İstanbul Theatre Festival to Raise The Curtain on 17 November

The 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festival will present a total of 52 performances by 24 theatre and dance ensembles 12 from abroad and 12 from Turkey – in 21 different venues. The festivalprogramme also features a number of events including panels, film screenings, master classesand workshopswith the participation of international guests and experts.
The programme of the 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festivalwas announced at a press conference held at Zorlu PSM Sky Loungeon the evening of 5 September. Hosted by Ceylan Saner, the night also saw the presentation of festival’s Honorary Awards.
The event featured talks by İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı, General Manager of Aygaz Gökhan Tezel, General Manager of Opet Cüneyt Ağcaand General Manager of Tüpraş İbrahim Yelmenoğlu from Koç Holding Energy Group Companiesand Director of Istanbul Theatre Festival Leman Yılmaz.
In his opening speech at the press conference, İKSV Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşınoted that the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts was entering the autumn season with a full program of activities. “The Istanbul Theatre Festival is now a yearly event like our other three festivals,”he said, “and this year we are pleased to present the public our 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festival. One of İKSV’s primary responsibilities, in our view, is encouraging greater public participation in our country’s cultural life; another is contributing to the development of both artists and audiences. In this regard, we have a number of initiatives like the İKSV Culture&Art Card project that aim to provide young people greater access to our festivals and other events. This year, like last, students will also be able to purchase Istanbul Theatre Festival tickets for only TL 10. I would like to take this opportunity, therefore, to convey my deepest gratitude to our festival sponsors Aygaz, Opet and Tüpraş for enabling us to continue offering these opportunities to young people as well as to all other institutions and individuals who support our festivals.”
General Manager of Aygaz Gökhan Tezel said: “From the beginning of our establishment as Aygaz, we have been operating with a firm belief that cultural progress is as equally important as economic development in the prosperity of a country. Therefore, we have been supporting long-running culture and arts projects for many years in our country which has a strong cultural heritage. We are proud to be partners of the Istanbul Theatre Festival, a most estimable project which turns our country into the centre of theatre for two weeks. We are related to be instrumental in young generations’ stimulating journey into contemporary theatre as we continue our support for discounted student tickets which enables more youth to attend the festival. We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who contributed in the realisation of the Istanbul Theatre Festival which is an invaluable event for our country’s culture and arts life and wish all theatre fans enjoy the show.”
General Manager of Opet Cüneyt Ağca said:“We are happy and proud once again to be sponsors of the biggest theatre event of the year; the Istanbul Theatre Festival organised each year by the Istanbul Foundation of Culture and Arts with great care. Our happiness grows knowing that our youth will get to see esteemed works by taking advantage of the discounted student tickets which we, as the Koç Energy Group, support. Nowadays, contemporary theatre produces exhilarating works incorporating dance, music, and performing arts, and thus, creating an utterly different relationship with audiences, and we are thrilled to see cutting-edge examples of such works being showcased in our city.”
General Manager of Tüpraş İbrahim Yelmenoğlu said:“As the leading company in Turkey’s energy industry we care, with a sense of responsibility, about providing a multi-faceted contribution to social progress. In all our endeavors, we work to create value for our country, society, and partners. In line with this mentality, we say “Our Energy for Theatre” and are happy to continue with our support for the ever-expanding, highly anticipated and internationally renowned Istanbul Theatre Festival. The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts has been successfully leading the Istanbul Theatre Festival and bringing esteemed plays and actors together with art lovers. With its copious program, the festival will be meeting audiences for the 22nd time and bring a fresh breath of life to the theatre stages. We would like thank the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts and everyone who contributed in the organisation of this esteemed event and cordially congratulate all the artists. I wish all theatre fans a joyous festival with ‘boundless energy’ in which we celebrate all the colours of the arts.”
Director of the Istanbul Theatre Festival, Leman Yılmaz, underlined the special projects in the 22nd edition of the festival in her speech about the performances featured in the  programme.Yılmaz said: “This year, our festival will take place between 25 November and 4 December. Various events will take place in 21 different venues in the course of 18 days. 12 local and 12 international productions are featured in the programme. We are further developing the collaborative relations that we have established with culture and arts institutions abroad. This year, we also started collaborating with the Flemish Ministry of Culture. The ‘International Platform’ that we established in 2014 will continue hosting foreign professionals this year as well. It has become a programme that festival directors, programme consultants, and theatres closely follow. Local productions showcased at the festival are getting included in festivals or theatre venues abroad.”
During the press conference and awards ceremony, gratitude plaques were also presented to each of the contributing organisations and institutions. The festival’s gratitudeplaques were presented to the founding sponsor of İKSV Eczacıbaşı Group; official sponsors DHLThe Marmara Collection, and insurance sponsor Zurich Sigorta;Istituto Italiano di Cultura Istanbul,Institut Français Istanbul, Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Istanbul, ENKA Foundation, Türk Tuborg A.Ş., Credit Europe Bank N.V., Tekfen Holding, and Zorlu Performing Arts Centre for their support.
The festival’s firstHonorary Award was presented to the screenwriter, director, stage designer and academician Zeliha Berksoy. After graduating from the Theater Department in the Ankara State Conservatory, Berksoyworked as a directing assistant in 1967 at the Schiller Theatre, one of the Berlin State Theatres. She also worked as an assistant at the Berliner Ensemble Theatre. During her career of 42 years, she played a leading role in the major national and international plays, has attended many international theatre festivals and received various awards. The 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festival’s Honorary Award was presented to the artist by İKSV Chairman, Bülent Eczacıbaşı.
The festival’s second Honorary Awardwill be presented to the Russian film and stage actor, and artistic director of the Theatre of Nations in Moscow Evgeny Mironov, following his performance in Hamlet | Collage, a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s renowned tragedy by director Robert Lepage, on 22 November at Zorlu PSM Main TheatreIn the play, Mironov singlehandedly takes on the roles of 11 characters from Hamlet.
The internationally acclaimed artist graduated from Saratov Theatre Academy in 1986, and from Moscow Art Theatre Academy (course master Oleg Tabakov) in 1990.Later he joined the company of Oleg Tabakov’s Studio Theatre, where he starred in a number of productions. Mironovstarred in several legendary productions staged by leading European masters, such as Peter Stein’s Oresteiaand Hamlet, Declan Donnellan’s Boris Godunov, and Eimuntas Nekrosius’ The Cherry Orchard. He is the co-founder of the Artists Support Foundation, the artistic director of the TERRITORIЯ International Theatre Festival and also Third Rome film studio, and a member of the Arts and Culture Council at the office of the President of the Russian Federation.
The 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festival performances and side events will bring theatre lovers together in 21 different venueson European and Anatolian sides of Istanbul. 
Festival plays will be staged at the Venue Sponsor with the Highest Contribution Zorlu Performing Arts Centre (Main Theatre, Drama Stage, Studio, Sky Lounge), Moda Sahnesi, Salon İKSV, DasDas, Oyun Atölyesi,Yunus Emre Kültür Merkezi (Turhan Tuzcu Sahnesi, Müşfik Kenter Sahnesi)MSGSÜ Bomonti Yerleşkesi, UNIQ Hall, Üsküdar Tekel Sahnesi, and the venues that will host the festival for the first time this year: Duru Tiyatro, Toy İstanbul, Adahan Istanbul, andAbud Efendi Konağı.
Festival’s free of charge side events will take place at Yapı Kredi Culture Centre, Goethe Institutand Zorlu PSM.
The 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festival will be hosting 12 theatre and dance companies from around the world. As previously announced, the festival will be presenting Hamlet | Collage, staged by the Canadian director Robert Lepagefeaturing the famed Russian actor Evgeny Mironov playing 11 characters from Hamlet, as well as the dance marathon that consists of four distinct choreographies by Nederlands Dans Theater I, one of the world’s leading companies in contemporary dance. 
At last year’s festival, the audiences got the chance to enjoy Encore, the concluding play in the trilogy by Theodoros Terzopoulos, the greatest living master of Greek theatre. This year, theatre lovers will get the chance to see Amorand Alarme, the first two pieces in the trilogy. Additionally, Il Teatro Comicoby Carlo Goldoni, one of the first names that spring to mind when it comes to the tradition of commedia dell arte, will hit the stage interpreted by Roberto Latini, who is known to bring classics to the stage with a contemporary view. PIXEL, choreographed by one of the iconic figures in the ‘90s hip-hop scene, Mourad Merzouki, will be pushing the boundaries of light and dance.
On the other hand, Pss Pssby Compagnia Baccala, the product of a fruitful collaboration between Camilla Pessiand Simone Fassari, is a highly entertaining, smartly constructed, and quite unusual show that blends theatre with circus acts and the genre of clown.
In collaboration with Platform 0090, an interdisciplinary and international workspace based in Belgium, the Istanbul Theatre Festival will present a selection of five productions that feature subjects, themes, and contexts related with Turkey and with the involvement of artists from Turkey. Presented under the title of “Choice from Flanders” and supported by the Flemish Ministry of Culture, the selection includes Fourfoldby Meryem Bayram; Icelandic choreographer and dancer Bára Sigfúsdóttir and Iranian artists Masoumeh Jalalieh and Seyed Alireza Mirmohammadi’s collaborative work beingWhite on Whiteconceived by Marc Vanrunxt for the modern dance artist and one of the most prolific names in the Western European dance scene Bahar TemizNocturnal Symposiumdirected by Mesut Arslanwho utilises a logic of installation while constructing the plays he directs; and YU, choreographed and performed by Gizem Aksu.
The 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festival will feature 12 local productions. Talk About the Passion, the intense play by the British playwright Graham Farrowwill be performed as a Duru Tiyatro production with direction from Emre Kınay. Contemporary dance artist and choreographer Tuğçe Tunawill be performing 45’sat Abud Efendi Mansion, which will serve as a performance venue at the festival for the first time. Haluk Bilginer, who has invested a tremendous amount of time and energy both as an actor and a translator to the works of Shakespeare, will be performing the titular character in King Learin a Oyun Atölyesiproduction directed by Muharrem Özcan. Produced by Talimhane Tiyatrosu, Zebercet, the main character in Yusuf Atılgan’s cult novel Motherland Hotel, will be brought to life by Halil Babür in a one-man play adapted by Firuze Enginand directed by Kerem Ayan.Boğaziçi Performing Arts Ensemble (BGST) will bring a contemporary take on Franz Kafka’s Mr. K to the stage in the play Artık Bir Davan Var written by Cüneyt Yalazand İlker Yasin Keskin; while DasDas will perform the topical British comedy writer Tom Basden’sCrocodileinspired by Dostoyevsky’s story of the same name.
Written by Gülce Uğurlu through a collective production method, Guestwill be performed under the direction of Ata Ünsal. The other companies that are on the roster of this year’s festival are: GalataPerformwith their original production of House of Hundredabout a mansion and its occupant, a woman who witnesses the history of Turkey from 1919 to the present; Bakırköy Municipality Theatreswith Wolfram Lotz’s The Ridiculous Darknessdirected by Nurkan ErpulatMovement Workshop Company withRuhiye;Taldanswith Do Ku Manwhich was born ten years ago when the company transformed the workings of a textile factory in Linz to movement, sound, and rhythm; Istanbul State Theatres with His Master’s Voice that carries influences from all segments of one of Turkish literature’s most idiosyncratic voices, author Sevim Burak’s life and work, directed by İskender Altın.
The festivalprogramme also features more than 10 free of charge events including reader’s theatre, panels, film screenings, master classesand workshopswith the participation of international guests and experts.
The renowned Swedish choreographers Alexander Ekman, Pär Isberg, Pontus Lidberg, and Joakim Stephenson, with principal dancers from the Royal Swedish Ballet interpret Ingmar Bergman, who was a choreographer as well as being a stage and film director, through four unique dance performances reflecting on human relations and intense feelings in Ingmar Bergman Through the Choreographer’s Eye. Following the first screening of the film on 25 November, Joakim Stephensonwill be available for a Q&A session. 
There will be two master classes as part of side events, first of which will be given by Theodoros Terzopoulos, the masterful living interpreter of Greek tragedies. Terzopouloswill be sharing with participants his acting methods which have inspired countless actors around the world. In the second master class, given by the world renowned Dutch contemporary dance company Nederlands Dans Theater 1, dance students will get the chance to work on some of the extensive repertoire of the company and improve their skills.
As for the workshops, the PIXELteam will be giving a workshop in which participants will have the opportunity to learn various styles and techniques of hip-hop dance, and work on short choreographies. The following day, there will be another workshop, which will prove to be quite popular, where participants will get the chance to experience the digital aspect of the PIXEL’s choreography realised by Adrien M. / Claire B. by applying a few dance scenes under the guidance of a dancer and video director.
Another workshop, Where is the Sight?moderated by Roberto Latini, the director of the play Il Teatro Comico, will focus on the theory and practice of stagecraft, while The Criticism Workshop, the first of which was held last year, will be moderated by author, critic, and journalist Christine Wahl
Özen Yula’s For Rent, which has never been staged in Turkey before, will be presented to theatre lovers moderated by Melis Tezkanand Okan Urunand feature subtitles in English.
As usual, there will be an array of panels which theatre lovers will find to be quite satisfactory. The recipient of this year’s Honorary Award, renowned Russian actor Evgeny Mironov, who will also be seen in Hamlet I Collagebringing 11 characters to life from Shakespeare’s play, will be sharing his acting experiences. Professor at Gerasimov State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK), theatre critic, theatre expert and curator Kristina Matvienkowill be talking about the different techniques of acting and directing in the Russian theatre in the 20th century, whereas professor at the Russian Academy of Theatre Art (GITIS), theatre critic and historian Alyona Karaswill focus on how theatre directors’ ideas evolved and transformed in Russia in the first three decades of the 20th century. Lastly, the panel on The View of Contemporary Theatre moderated by Kadir Has University Department of Drama faculty member Özlem Hemişwill feature discussions on how the theatre stage is influenced by the new states of reality in which we live through an evaluation of the plays in the festival’s programme.
The "International Platform" of the festival, which was organised for the first time in 2014, will continue in 2018 to ensure that successful examples of the local theatre stage are included in the programmes of various festivals and institutions abroad and reach a wider audience. The professional meeting and showcase programme will be on 29 November – 2 December within the scope of the festival. A number of theatre professionals from abroad will attend the showcase, get the chance to watch eight plays in the festival programme and meet the artists and communities of the festival plays.
This year, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV)added a new award to the array of awards it presents in various disciplines in order to support the development of culture and arts and the production of topical and quality works in Turkey. Realised with support from Gülriz Sururi, the Gülriz Sururi – Engin Cezzar Theatre Encouragement Award will be presented to theatre companies or individuals that contribute to the development of theatre in Turkey with their progressive approaches. The award will be in the summary of 100 thousand Turkish Lirasand will be given to young thespians in order to finance their next projects. The recipient project will be included in the programme of the following Istanbul Theatre Festival. The selection committee, headed by Gülriz Sururi, includes actor, screenwriter, and entrepreneur Mert Fırat, actor and educator Tilbe Saran, translator, theatre critic, writer, stage and costume designer, journalist, and educator Seçkin Selvi, the director of the Istanbul Theatre Festival Leman Yılmaz, and actor Selçuk Yöntem. Recipient of the 2018 Gülriz Sururi – Engin Cezzar Theatre Encouragement Award will be announced in October.
As well as the main festival sponsors – the Koç Holding Energy Group Companies Aygaz, Opet and Tüpraş– the 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festival is supported by Zorlu Performing Arts Centre,the Venue Sponsor with the Highest Contribution. The festival’s performance sponsors are the ENKA Foundation, Türk Tuborg A.Ş., Credit Europe Bank N.V.,andTekfen Holding.
The festival acknowledges the kind collaboration of IstitutoItaliano di Cultura Istanbul, Institut Français Istanbul, andConsulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Istanbul.
The 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festival is also supported by the Republic of TurkeyMinistry of Culture and Tourism, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality as well asBakırköy, Beşiktaş, Beyoğlu and Kadıköy Municipalities.
All festivals organised by İKSV are supported by theLeading SponsorEczacıbaşı Holding, Official Carrier DHL, Official Hotel Sponsor The Marmara Collection, and Insurance Sponsor Zurich InsuranceGroup.
The publicity campaign for the 22nd Istanbul Theatre Festival was developed by TBWA / İstanbul.
Ticket sales for the festival begins on Saturday, 15 Septemberat 10.30and are available from the following sales points:
·               Biletix sales counters,
·               Biletix Call Centre (+90 216 556 98 00), 
·               Biletix web site (,
·               İKSV box office (open 10.30-18.00; closed on Sundays except 16 September)
·               Moda Sahnesi (open on 15 and 16 September between 10.30-18.00)
On the day of the performance, tickets purchased through Biletix Customer Service, Biletix app and Biletix web site, can be collected from the event venue, two hours before the performance. Tulip Card holdersreceive special discounts of up to 25%on festival tickets. White and Black Tulip members can purchase advance tickets on 10and 11 September, Red and Yellow Tulip members can purchase advance tickets on 12, 13and 14 September.
As part of İKSV’s target of increasing and facilitating easier access for students to culture and the arts, student tickets for all plays will be on sale at 10 TLwith the support of Aygaz, Opet and Tüpraş.
The student tickets are available from the following sales points:
·               İKSV box office (open 10.30-18.00; closed on Sundays except 16 September)
·               Moda Sahnesi (open on 15 and 16 September between 10.30-18.00)

To follow Istanbul Theatre Festival on social media:
For detailed information: