The Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop has established the tradition of hosting International Cultural Events in the historic city of Lahore for over a decade now. It has successfully conducted thirteen International Performing Arts Festivals which have ranged from drama and puppets to music and dance. Since 1992, the festivals have seen more than three thousand nine hundred international delegates come into Pakistan from all across the globe representing seventy six countries. All of this reached an apex in 1996 when the Pakistan International Puppet Festival 1996 was covered internationally as the largest festival of performing arts in the world.
These festivals have toiled against all odds to build a truer image of Pakistan internationally through the field of performing arts; to show to the world a culturally rich and open country willing to embrace the heritages of the world, while being proud of its own, instead of an Islamic nation tottering on the dangerous edge of extremism. As part of its continuing efforts in holding these international festivals, Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop has combined all the various performing arts festivals under a singular banner bringing them together as the World Performing Arts Festival Pakistan 2003, scheduled in Lahore from the 17th to the 26th of October this year.
At a time when the west fears for its very life venturing into Pakistan, the World Performing Arts Festival Pakistan 2003 has insured the participation of a healthy number of renowned artists and companies from all across the world. This combined with the selective local artists chosen, promises to be a prominent showcase of art, cultures, expressions, and human experiences. This festival has performances of theater, dance, puppets, and music from all across the globe and has multiple performances of all these forms everyday.
The Rafi Peer Theater Workshop international festivals are unique in both that they have been completely an independent endeavor and that their diversity relies not only on in their multiplicity of cultural representation, but also in their art, art forms, genres, and expressions that are articulated from their platform. Also, their interactive structure allows for the artists to constantly come in contact with one another, exchanging ideas freely and often performing collaborations improvised within the festival.
These International Festivals of Pakistan have become globally projected forums that are covered by international media, art journals, and international happenings listings. They have gained a prestige and reputation to the effect that on numerous occasions foreign groups have had to be denied participation due to the festival’s humble limited resources. However, we strive to continue to weave this dream with as many bare threads as we have. Now, we leave it to everyone else to join and create a breathtaking tapestry for the world to marvel at.