The III International Theater Festival kick started in Ashgabat with the grand opening ceremony. The theater forum was organized by the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan. It brought together 14 theaters from 12 countries. Theater companies came to Ashgabat from Afghanistan, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, the USA, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Estonia.

The opening ceremony of the festival was held at the Main Drama Theater of Turkmenistan. The participating theater companies greeted the audience with the original mini-performances that reflected the artistic credo of their theaters.

The theater festival opened at Alp Arslan National Drama Theater with Magtymguly play dedicated to the great Turkmen poet and thinker. In the evening, spectators were invited to enjoy opera Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo performed by the combined Turkmen-Italian company at the Magtymguly National Music and Drama Theater.