2024 03 14

The upcoming summer at the seaside coincides with one of the most important theatre events in the western Lithuania. For the 8th time, the international theatre festival “TheATRIUM” will be held in May and June. A couple of months before the start of the festival, its organisers have revealed this year’s metamorphosis of Apollo, the patron of the arts, who has become the festival’s symbol, along with the accompanying slogan “Despite us”, and announced the first part of the programme.

“Many things in life happen despite us: catastrophes, natural disasters, epidemics, wars. We all wish they would not happen, but they do, and each time we are surprised all over again,” said Gintaras Grajauskas, the artistic director of the festival, regarding the feeling of inevitability that overtakes every person. “Is it really happening without our input? Maybe one of us did something wrong, and most of us simply did nothing when action was urgently needed? And suddenly, the dominoes began to fall, the world began to crumble. Despite us? Oh yes, when the great collapse begins, it no longer disregards anything; it no longer discerns between the guilty and the innocent.”

The enigmatic slogan of the festival is accompanied by an unexpected visual solution. Gediminas Pranckevičius, who has traditionally created the image of the festival symbol, has split Apollo this time. The rebellious gesture has revealed the gold shining with maturity beneath the marble polished by time. According to Grajauskas, Apollo’s shattered face contains a message of comfort, “if we take a closer look at the symbol of this year’s festival, we can discern another aspect: those pieces, those fragments of a crumbling civilisation can be readily reassembled. All it requires is diligence and patience. The Japanese have a distinct approach to repairing broken objects called kintsugi, which involves joining the pieces together with gold. Such items become even more valuable than they were in their original state”.
Nature can survive terrible cataclysms and bounce back, finding a new way to grow and flourish, just as human communities recover from their trials. In this case, “Despite us” can also be understand as a reference to a scale of space and time that is difficult for individuals to grasp, an uninterrupted flow of life woven together from all species and their time.
The slogan accompanying the festival is, as always, open to interpretation and can have a different meaning for each visitor.
“TheATRIUM” will traditionally consist of two parts: the Lithuanian theatre showcase and the international programme. A constellation of the strongest works created in various Lithuanian theatres will be presented from May 15th to 19th. The event schedule and tickets of the Lithuanian theatre week are already available in the Klaipėda Drama Theatre repertoire and on the festival website. This important week of networking attracts up to fifty theatre professionals from all over the world. They will watch performances, interact with the creators, and get to know Klaipėda in their free time. The international programme will start on May 24th and will include performances, followed by interviews with the creators.

The festival has been organised by Klaipėda Drama Theatre since 2017.