World Theatre Season

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The World Theatre Season was a festival of foreign plays held annually at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Aldwych Theatre in London from 1964 to 1973, with a final season in 1975.[1] It originated as a one-off celebration in 1964 organised by Peter Daubeny and the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of the celebrations for William Shakespeare's quatercentenary.[1] In the 1950s, Peter Daubeny had presented foreign theatre companies, which gave him a knowledge of foreign theatre and served as a prelude to the World Theatre Seasons.[2] Seven companies appeared at this initial World Theatre Season: Comédie Française; Schiller-Theater; Peppino de Filippo's Italian Theatre; Abbey Theatre; Polish Contemporary Theatre; Greek Art Theatre; and Moscow Art Theatre.[2]

The season's success led to it becoming an annual event, with more than forty theatre companies appearing in total.[1] Nevertheless, the seasons continued to be organised by Peter Daubeny without support from the Arts Council or any other official body.[3] Theatrical companies visited from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including evenings dedicated to Japanese and kabuki. Appearances at the World Theatre Season sometimes led to little-known plays achieving international acclaim, as was notably the case with Welcome Msomi's Umubatha, a Zulu version of Shakespeare's Macbeth, which was presented in 1972.[4] Peter Daubeny's involvement in the World Theatre Seasons led to him winning the Evening Standard special award in 1972.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Chambers, Colin (2002). Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre. Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-4959-X. 
  2. ^ a b Michael Denison, ‘Daubeny, Sir Peter Lauderdale (1921–1975)’, rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  3. ^ a b "History of the Aldwych Theatre". Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Broich, U (1975). "Present-day versions of Macbeth in England, France and Germany". German Life and Letters.