This Saturday, March 27, get ready for theatre to come out of the theatre and into your world. It's a quintessentially Austin way of celebrating World Theatre Day, a tradition established by the International Theatre Institute in 1961 to draw attention to the work of the stage in all countries and cultures. Every year, the ITI asks a notable theatre artist to share some thoughts on the art form with the international theatre community. This year, that artist is Dame Judi Dench, and her message will be read publicly in Austin that day, but not before more than 50 actors present some guerrilla-style performances in public places across the city – around City Hall, at Auditorium Shores, inside Whole Foods Market, on the Pfluger Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge, and on buses (with permission from Cap Metro). The folks behind these "theatrical acts for random audiences in everyday settings" – the Exchange Artists, Cambiare Productions, and the Greater Austin Creative Alliance – are calling the event Spect-actor, borrowing the term coined by the author of the 2009 World Theatre Day address, the late Augusto Boal, who used it to redefine the engagement of audience members with performers. "Theatre is not just an event," Boal wrote last year. "It is a way of life! We are all actors." For a schedule of all the Spect-actor events with descriptions, locations, and times, visit www.exchangeartists.org
, or www.austinonstage.com
. The performances will take place between 10am and 6pm, with a party to follow at 7pm at the Greater Austin Creative Alliance, 701 Tillery. There, Dench's message will be read by Hyde Park Theatre Artistic Director Ken Webster, Austin Live Theatre blogger Michael Meigs will speak about local theatre from the audience perspective, and yours truly will deliver a State of the Arts in Austin address. Video of that day's Spect-actor activities will be screened, and Cambiare Productions will stream the event live online, linking to World Theatre Day celebrations across the globe. All events, including the party, are free.