Istanbul Theatre Festival pays homage to the Bard

Shakespeare-inspired works are set to feature prominently at the 19th Istanbul Theatre Festival.

Coinciding with the Bard’s 450th birthday celebrations this year, the Shakespeare portion of the line-up will include performances, Q&A events, discussion panels and workshops.

King (My Fool) Lear, a new production directed and adapted by Yiğit Sertdemir (and co-produced with the festival), will retell the great tragedy through the eyes of the Fool, played by Altıdan Sonra Tiyatro-Pangar.

The British-based Propeller will perform its versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (pictured) and A Comedy of Errors with an all-male cast.

Elsewhere on the programme are four performances organised as part of a nationwide celebration commemorating 600 years of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Poland.

Opole Theatre’s new work Proust-Pamuk-Bellek will have its world premiere at the festival as part of the focus. The production explores East-West relations through adaptations of famous European and Turkish literary works.

The festival is organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture & Arts, an independent, non-profit organisation. Whilst many of the country’s large arts companies are state-owned, organisers of the festival aim to push programming that reflects a more diverse range of work.

Chairman of the foundation, Bülent Eczacıbaşı, said: ‘The Istanbul Theatre Festival is presenting theatre lovers with a rich programme composed of plays, dance, performance, and events. We are pleased to present such a colourful selection to the festival audience. We believe our festival, which takes place every two years, brings a breath of fresh air to the theatre world in Istanbul with each new edition, and we would like to be able to put on our festival every year.’

Held every two years, the 19th edition will stage around 100 performances by 35 Turkish companies and seven international companies.

The festival will take place from 9 May to 5 June.