The First edition of International Theatre Festival of Kerala Held from December 22 to 31, 2008, focused on Asian theatre. Opened with a spectacular show of Chinese opera, the festival showcased national and malayalam panorama; and plays from SAARC it turned out to be highly productive as was experienced not only through the performances but also through the seminars and interactive sessions and exhibitions. Theatre activists across the country descended on Thrissur in droves. The temporary auditorium in which the evening shows were held was inundated by theatre lovers of all hues. Not only the venue of festival, but the entire city of Thrissur wore a festive look for plays from China, Iran, Pakistan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal along with other plays from the country were part of the maiden edition of the event.
The second edition held from December 20 to 29, 2009, itfok '09 inaugurated by Padmabhushan Naziruddin Shah, was an exposition of afro-asian theatre panorama. Conceived on the same lines of the previous festival, it provided a rare opportunity to showcase the afro-asian cultural diversity, thanks to the increasing participation and attendance of theatre lovers also from neighboring states, such as tamil nadu, karnataka, andhra, and also maharashtra in the second edition, which proved that the popularity of the festival was soaring tremendously even outside kerala. International panorama featured plays form south africa, kenya and pakistan, several outstanding plays of contemporary indian directors were showcased the in the event.
The 3rd International Theatre Festival of Kerala held from 22 to 31 December 2010, has recaptured the imagination of theatre lovers from India and abroad and marked itself as one of the most prominent theatre festivals of south east Asia. Itfok, being a long cherished dream of theatre activists of kerala, blossomed into a vibrant annual event under the Ministry of Culture, and Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi. Inaugurated by Padmabhushan Girish karnad, on 22nd December, the festival explored wide and diversified horizon of world theatre with special focus on theatre from latin American countries. Most contemporary works from Chile, Brazil, Columbia,Bolivia, Mexico, Cuba, Spain, Japan and England ignited the imagination and teased the sensibility of unique combination of diversified tastes and cultural ethnicity of the festival crowd, probably a rare phenomenon. Itfok 2010 hosted 35 productions, 750 artists and several hundred academicians/observers. The festival witnessed a spectatorship of approximately 60,000. Two commissioned productions one with Latin American artistes and other one between school of drama, Thrissur and Casa de la India - Spain were the special events of the festival. Ammannur puraskaram, award introduced by KSNA, for lifetime achievements in indian theatre was conferred on legendary indian theatre person, Badal Sircar
The 4th international theatre festival of Kerala which held from1 to 8 February 2012, has recaptured the imagination of theatre lovers from India and abroad and marked itself as one of the most prominent theatre festivals of south east Asia. Itfok, being a long cherished dream of theatre activists of Kerala, blossomed into a vibrant annual event under the ministry of culture, and Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi. Inaugurated by four senior veteran artists Padmabhusahan Kalamadalam Ramankutty Nair, M.V. Devan, Parassala B Ponnammal and Thrippekkulam Achutha Marar on the pleasant evening of 1st February, 4th itfok explored wide and diversified horizon of world theatre with special focus on masters of the past and present. Most contemporary works from Poland, Italy,Llithuania, England, and some of the cutting edge productions from India ignited the imagination and teased the sensibility of unique combination of diversified tastes and cultural ethnicity of the festival crowd, probably a rare phenomenon. Itfok 2010 hosted 16 productions, 250 artists and several hundred academicians/observers. The festival witnessed a spectatorship of approximately 60,000.
Fifth itfok focused on contemporary theatre from Europe plus a few innovative and experimental works from India. This edition showcased a handful of works that rewrites the classic texts ,another bunch of totally new, devised performances and plays that explore the realms of physical,musical and dance theatre.also a cross section of contemporary indian theatre was included to represent the varied streams of theatre happening in different parts of the country.solo performances had also a prominent place in this edition.
The Sixth edition held from 27 January to 3 February 2014, focused on “transition” with performances from around the world including France, Poland, Italy, Norway, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Iran, and Sri Lanka. Also, in response to the heinous rapes and atrocities against women, children, transsexuals and homosexuals in India and elsewhere this edition also had a section of productions which deal with the issue of "gender".
The 7th itfok with the theme “Theatre of Resistance, Theatre of Today” held from 10 to 17 January 2015 presented plays from Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan, Singapor, Denmark and Germany. The 7th edition showcased 13 International plays, 5 National plays and 7 Regional plays along with Radio drama presentations and other traditional performances. Itfok 2015 believes that took a step towards to empowering the audience, inspiring the practice of our theatre and creates new avenues for artists.
Itfok 2016 brings together tales of our bodies as the theme “Body, Politics, The Body Politics” The festival opens on 10 January with legendary choreographer Chandralekha's last creation sharira (the body) and concluded on 16 January with Mallika Taneja's award winning thoda dhyaan se (be careful). In this journey there were 21 plays, 34 shows. The festival explored the multiple interpretations of body, political, and body political over these days and the performances from Malaysia, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Algeria among others. There were other entertainment programs like musical crossover, traditional arts, painting exhibition, drama film screening and live radio drama presentations those which highly appreciated by public.
The 9th edition held from 20 to 28 February 2017 was designed and executed in a large manner. The 9th Itfok focused on street performance interventions in public spaces by which the entire city became a venue of the festival. The event was packed with 30 plays with 50 shows apart from the other allied performances. There were two collaborative productions, colloquium, Seminars, Theatre workshop and Open forum. The important feature of 9th edition of Itfok is to bring back the ‘Ammannur Puraskaram’ instituted by the KSNA in 2010 to honour an eminent theatre personality from India but unfortunately not continued due to some technical reason. The 2nd ‘Ammannur Puraskaram’ presented to Smt. Sabitri Heisnam who is an Indian stage actor and one of the notable theatre personalities in Manipuri theatre. She has also acted in the critically acclaimed short film, ‘Scribbles on Akka’ (2000), which won the IDPA Award, best script award at Shanghai International Film festival and the National Film Award for Best Anthropological Film. She is a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award of 1991. The Government of India awarded her the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2008, for her contributions to Manipuri theatre. The festival Inaugurated by Sri. A K Balan, Hon. Cultural Minister, Goverment of Kerala and the Chief Guest were Mr. Shiv Visvanathan who is an intellectual, public secular eminent and social scientist in India.