KONYA - Anadolu Agency
The 2016-17 theater season has seen a “substantial increase” in the number of theatergoers, according to Erdal Küçükkömürcü, the deputy director general of Turkish State Theaters.
“We reached 1.5 million viewers in the season’s first six months. This number hit 1.7 million in the first eight months, and we’ll reach 2 million viewers by the end of the season [in May] with the festivals we organize,” Küçükkömürcü told state-run Anadolu Agency.
The State Theaters had hosted around 1.77 million viewers in the 2015-16 season.
“Brand value and quality of actors/actresses” has made the number sour to such figures, according to Küçükkömürcü.
“We are always staging unique works. That is why audiences are showing interest,” he said.
The Turkish State Theaters, which opened its 2016-17 season on Oct. 4, is the official directorate of national theater companies in Turkey.
It is bound to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and financed by the state to promote performed arts and enhance the public interest they receive.
Küçükkömürcü said the Turkish State Theaters was the only theater organization in the world that was able to hold stage productions across 62 cities in one day.
The State Theaters’ repertoire is so extensive that it appeals to every generation, he said. Emphasizing that it holds various activities to encourage younger generations to become more interested in theater, he said they organized a kite festival in the terror-stricken southeastern province of Diyarbakır
on April 23 to mark Turkey’s National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.
“We are organizing workshops during festivals and teaching children how to make puppets. This year we organized a kite festival on the Gözlü Köprü [Dicle Bridge] in Diyarbakır
on April 23, with the slogan of ‘Let the kites fly, let Sur be filled with happiness,’ and 500 children attended,” Küçükkömürcü added.
The State Theaters has organized an international children’s theater festival titled “Little Ladies, Little Gentlemen” in the capital Ankara
for the past 13 years every April 23.
Within the context of festivals organized in Ankara, State Theaters officials visit children be treated at hospitals and present them with gifts, Küçükkömürcü said, adding that they would add a “Reading Theater” activity to their upcoming agenda for visually impaired children.
With such festivals, the state body aims to contribute to the development of theater and the arts in the country, and build cultural exchange programs.