History and Background

The International Theatre Institute was officially inaugurated during the meeting of its first World Congress in Prague, 1948, organized on the initiative of UNESCO and a group of international theatre experts.

It was just after World War II that the growing feeling that peace needed to be constructed above all in the minds of men though exchange, international cooperation and dialogue gave the impetus that led to the birth and influence of the various United Nations’ organizations.

UNESCO came into being in 1946, and a sub-committee on Arts and Letters which included distinguished writers and dramatists met at its First General Conference. It soon became clear that there was a need for an international clearing-house for theatre arts, a non-political, non–commercial association in which theatre artists and administrators of all countries could work out a practical program to facilitate exchange and circulation of play scripts, current theatre information, performing companies, and young artists.

The first ITI Congress met in Prague in June 1948, with 12 Centres in operation: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, UK and USA.


  • - To promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in the domain of the performing arts
  • - To stimulate creation and increase cooperation among theatre people
  • - To increase public awareness of the need to take artistic creation into consideration in the domain of Development
  • - To deepen mutual understanding and contribute to the consolidation of peace and friendship between peoples
  • - To join in the defence of the ideals and aims of UNESCO
  • - To combat all forms of racism or social and political discrimination


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