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Baltic Transfer: Can Cultural Exchange Be Re-Imagined?


With: Valters Sīlis (Director; New Theatre Institute of Latvia, Riga), Jarmo Reha (Director, Performer; Vaba Lava, Tallinn), Eglė Švedkauskaitė (Director; Jaunimo teatras, Vilnius)

Moderation: Julija Reklaitė (Director of Rupert, Vilnius)

All theatre makers from the Baltic countries that are participating in POSTWEST were born or were children when a peaceful political demonstration named the Baltic Way or Baltic Chain (in Estonian: Balti kett; Latvian: Baltijas ceļš; Lithuanian: Baltijos kelias) occurred on August 23, 1989. Two million people joined their hands to form a human chain spanning 675.5 kilometres across the three Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—which were considered at the time to be constituent republics of the Soviet Union. It was a clear statement and a performative act at the same time.

The artists come from countries with a strong theatrical tradition, but they also have a need for their own voice to be expressed. How does this collective experience and history impact their artistic practices? The Baltic countries can be regarded as a “cultural zone” as defined by French historian Michel Espagne—a space of intercultural relations rather than a sole national culture. How does this manifest in the arts? How are ideas and projects transferred rather than circulated? Does “Baltic theater” exist? What are the benefits and challenges of creating a theater in the periphery, away from European theatrical centers? How can the autonomy of the theater be defended in the face of growing political expectations that its role is to build national identity and national community? What challenges and values does the new generation face from the rise of strongly expressed neo-nationalist ideas and a radically changing relationship with the audience?

Funded by the Baltic Culture Fund


The event will be streamed live here and the Facebook page of Volksbühne. If you would like to join the discussion with your questions via the Zoom Chat, just log in with this link.