ISTANBUL, TURKEY, April 24, 2006 – Istanbul will once again showcase some of the world’s best theatrical performances during the 15th International Istanbul Theatre Festival, this year in association with the 4th International Theatre Olympics. Taking place May 10 – June 5, 2006, the ancient city will host the collaboration, themed “İstanbul: Encounters In Theatre”, which will focus on Turkish productions and emerging talent, while introducing world-renowned groups and performers, as well as their plays and adaptations to Turkish audiences.

The International Istanbul Theatre Festival and the International Theatre Olympics will begin the season with an opening day performance of the tragedy of “Aeschylus: the Persians,” a Turkish-Greek co-production directed by Theodoros Terzopoulos.

Throughout the festival, 16 exciting Turkish theatre companies and dance groups will be performing. Highlights include: “The Tempest” by Semaver Kumpanya, “Timon of Athens” by Oyun Atölyesi, “Antigone” by Studio Oyuncuları,” “Waiting for Godot” by Izmit Municipal Theatre, “3,2,1” by Beşinci Sokak Tiyatrosu, and“Amadeus” by Istanbul State Theatre. Additional performances include those by Emre Koyuncuoğlu, Bülent Erkmen, Beyhan Murphy, Zeynep Tanbay, Nihal Geyran Koldaş and Mustafa Kaplan-Filiz Sızanlı.

Since 2004, the Festival has centered its focus on “Young Theatre” to encourage youthful artists’ enthusiasm for the performing arts. Active and professional Turkish directors, along with young, emerging choreographers are granted a unique opportunity to premiere new work during the Festival. Six performing artists, yet to be announced, have been invited to take part in this year’s “Young Theatre” performances.

One of the missions of this year’s event is to bring together young Turkish artists and students with the masters of film, dance, and theatre. Alla Demidova, Theodoros Terzopoulos and Tadashi Suzuki are among the masters who will provide workshop sessions, along with instructors from Russia’s Meyerhold Center, the acclaimed international center for theatre research. Famed writer and director Jan Fabre is scheduled to lecture, while screenwriter Jean Claude Carrier and director Peter Brook will host educational workshops.

The first Theatre Olympics was held in Greece (Athens-Epidaurus-Delphi) in 1995 under the theme of “Tragedy.” In 1999, the second Theatre Olympics was held in Japan (Shizuoka) with the theme “Creating Hope” and the third Olympics was held in Russia (Moscow) in 2001, embracing the theme of “Theatre for the People.” Each year, the Theatre Olympics brings together the past with the future to create an international network of different cultures while training and encouraging young artists, affirming the indisputable significance of the performing arts in the development of humankind. For a complete schedule of performances and additional information about the Theatre Olympics, visit www.iksv.org.

Tickets will be on sale beginning in April at all Biletix Sales Points, Biletix Call Center by phone (+90 216 556 9800), at www.biletix.com , and at the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts.

For information about travel to Turkey, call 1-877-FOR-TURKEY or contact the Turkish Culture and Tourism Offices in New York at 212-687-2194, in Washington D.C. at 202-612-6800, or in Los Angeles at 323-937-8066 and visit www.tourismturkey.org or www.kulturturizm.gov.tr.