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On 23 of September'1931 in "Kapitolijus" Cinema Theater in Siauliai, the curtain of Siauliai Drama Theater (the department of the State Theater then) was raised - "Princess Turandot" by Carlo Gozzi under Borisas Dauguvietis direction was performed.
In 1934, the theater's department in Siauliai was renamed - the North Lithuanian Theater and became independent from Kaunas Drama Theater but it was forced to remove to Klaipeda and returned to Siauliai after German occupation of the port in 1939. During 1934-1939, while Borisas Dauguvietis was working in the theater in Klaipeda, Antanas Sutkus came here, later on - Romualdas Juknevicius, the number of professionals and actors from the State Theater had increased. The North Lithuanian Theater cooperated with northern Latvian theaters, a lot of tours were made through Lithuania: during 1931-1939 there were performed 1095 plays in 53 regions. The guest performance in Kaunas during 13th - 16th of May'1937 were especially successful where one of the most interesting plays - "The Hope" by Heyerman staged by Juknevicius was performed.
The new period at Siauliai Drama Theater began in1960 after the graduates of Acting Mastery Department of the National Conservatoire came here. The vigorous stage-managing development is related with such names as Aurelija Ragauskaite - the director of the theater during 1974-1979, Saulius Varnas - with his creative searching during the period of 1980-1988, Gytis Padegimas's stagecraft during 1988-19? In spite of the theater's tradition linked to realistic scene art as comedy and melodrama, Aurelija Ragauskaite resolutely infused the theater with psychological but very poetic-lyric trends and combined it with constructive elements. In the repertoire of the stage-manager dominated the works by Lithuanian authors. Saulius Varnas turned the" wheel" of the theater to the intellectual dramaturgy and the rational, philosophic, conceptual stage-managing and acting. This stage-manager as if continued the tradition of Juozas Miltinis and Panevezys Drama Theater; anybody can't deny his educational contribution by staging original world dramaturgy. Jonas Jurasas' and Jonas Vaitkus' first performances were staged at Siauliai Drama Theater. Since 1996, the stage-manager Rolandas Atkočiūnas has leaded the theater; young stage-manager Cezaris Graužinis and others tried their skills hereas well. In 1997, graduates of the Music Academy (National Conservatoire) enlarged the group of the theater. At present the Art Director of the theater is its actor Sigitas Jakubauskas.
Address: Tilzes St. 155, Siauliai
The official date of Panevezys Drama Theater (Juozas Miltinis Drama Theater at present) establishment is thought the 15th of Mart'1940, when " A Silver Valley" by Pogodin staged by Juozas Miltinis was performed. The theater's main body was formed of the participants of the theater lover's troupe, which existed in the Workers' Cultural Palace Club in Kaunas and was established under the initiative of Juozas Miltinis. The first performance staged by Miltinis was naturalistic and ordinary without any artificial acting what was new at Lithuanian Theater's life of that time.
Panevezys Drama Theater became a studio - the laboratory of actors' training and preparation - that was a new and the first phenomenon in Lithuanian stage theater's history. For even thirty years Panevezys Drama Theater was the theater of one leader, who constantly realised his ideas in practice. The main accents in the theater's development were the training of actor's personality - a some kind of "philosophic acrobat" - by putting to practice improvisation elements and searching for modern means of acting; the psychological true and the concentrated attitude to the inner world of a character were of the main importance during the first year of the theater's existence. Panevezys Drama Theater was the beginner in staging the modern plays - the intellectual, philosophic, existential works, the realisation of them was a part of the theater's program.
The development of Panevezys Drama Theater can be devoted to several periods. The first two are linked with the name of Juozas Miltinis: 1940-1954 - the theater's formation and growth period which ended by the forced withdrawal of its leader (at the time the theater was leaded by the actor and stage-manager, the alumni of Miltinis - Vaclovas Blėdis); 1959-1980 - the period of the theater's maturity and general recognition, the best performances staged by Juozas Miltinis appeared at this period and glorified the name of the theater as the experimenting and new-fashioned theater all over the Soviet Union. The philosophic, intellectual theater of Juozas Miltinis with strict form and expressive acting has trained a great number of famous theater and cinema artists.
The third period of the theater is linked with the stage-manager Saulius Varnas' name, since 1988 he has staged the performances here and became its leader in 1993.Varnas didn't break the tradition of his predecessor but enriched it with the original staging decisions full of expressive, surrealistic, playful theatrical and at the same time aesthetic, abstract forms. But in 1996, the stage-manager was forced to leave the theater after an inner reorganisation, Rimantas Teresas- the actor and stage-manager of the theater became its leader.
Address: Laisvės a. 5, Panevezys
Kaunas State Musical Theatre is a national budgetary institution committed to organizing the creation of scenic works for musical theatre and assuring their public performance.
The theatre operates as an institution founded by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania.
The theatre palace on the central street of Kaunas was built in 1892. The original neo-renaissance building has been altered by several exterior and interior since reconstructions. The interior of the auditorium, designed by famous Lithuanian architect V. Dubeneckis in 1925, is of special value. It combines two tendencies in the art of the period; the Lithuanian pattern of tulips and lilies and European Art Deco, which was popular at the time. The auditorium seats up to 500 spectators.
Chief Conductor Julius Geniusas, Production Designer Janina Malinauskaite and General Manager/Artistic Director Gintas Zilys.
Lithuanian professional drama (1920), opera (1920) and ballet (1925) companies started in the present Theatre Palace. More than 80 performances were staged up to the Second World War.
When the Opera Theatre moved to Vilnius, the capital, in 1948, the Theatre Palace housed the Kaunas State Music Theatre, which had started operating on 27th November 1940. The latter company has been the only one in Lithuania producing operetta and showing the best works of the genre to its audience since the Soviet period. But when the Opera Theatre moved to Vilnius and left Kaunas, which used to be the cradle of professional Lithuanian opera without any opera, Kaunas Music Theatre sought to enrich its repertoire with this most important genre of the music stage.
Today Kaunas Music Theatre is the second largest theatre in Lithuania. Its repertoire includes all musical stage genres. Local people and visitors can see the most popular operas by Mozart, Gounod, Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti and von Flotow, operettas by J. Strauss, Lehar, Offenbach, Kalman, Abraham, and musicals by Loewe, Leigh and Bernstein. The theatre also arranges concerts.
The company is proud of its soloists, who have won international vocal competitions.
The company stages more than 200 performances and 3-4 premiéres annually, shown from September to June.
Kaunas Musical Theatre co-operates successfully with foreign artists. The theatre repertoire has benefited from the works of a number of German, Austrian, and Hungarian stage masters.
In recent years, Kaunas State Music Theatre has enjoyed the attention of an appreciative public.
Address: Laisves aleja 91, LT-3000 Kaunas
History and foundation
A|CH dance theatre was founded in 2000 by choreographer Anželika Cholina and her sister, the theatre’s current director Greta Cholina, with a mission to make an independent creative process possible. From the beginning the theatre has been dedicated to the creation of original works that celebrate the power of the human imagination and the scope of choreographic skill.During its 9 seasons, A|CH dance theatre has presented to spectators 14 dance performances:
1. “Songs of women”, set by the songs of Marlene Dietrich, (1998, 2005), choreographer A. Cholina
2. “Carmen”, by the music of G. Bizet, R. Shchedrin, (1998, 2004), choreographer A. Cholina
3. “The house of Bernarda Alba”, based on the play by F.G. Lorca, (2000, 2003), choreographer A. Cholina
4. “Tango in Fa”, by the music of A. Piazzolla, (2001), choreographer A. Cholina
5. “Love” by contemporary composers, (2002), choreographer A. Cholina
6. “Romeo and Juliet” by contemporary composers, (2003), choreographer A. Cholina
7. “The moonlight”, by the music of F. Schubert, A. Dvořák and Russian gypsy songs, (2004), choreographers Maria Saivosalmi (Finland) and Andrius Katinas
8. “Bolero”, by the music of M. Ravel, (2004), choreographer A. Cholina
9. “People:)”, by an arrangement of Lithuanian folk music, (2005), choreographer A. Cholina
10. “Othello” by contemporary composers, (2006), choreographer A. Cholina
11. “The fantasy for five elements” by contemporary composers, (2007), choreographer A. Cholina
12. “About the innocent Erendira” by contemporary composers, (2008), choreographer E. Stundytė
13. “Donkey Hot”, by the music of L.A. Minkus, (2008), choreographer O. Glushkov (Russia)
14. “ Men and Women”, by the classical ballet music, (2009), choreographer A. Cholina
Choreographer, Anželika Cholina
Anželika Cholina, born in Vilnius in 1970, began choreographing in 1991, while studying at the Moscow Theatre Academy (GITIS). Today, having become during her 18-year career one of the best-known choreographers in Lithuania, she continues her artistic work creating performances for the most prestigious stages in the country. A. Cholina was awarded the Kristoforas National Theatre Award for her choreography of the ballet performance “Medea” staged at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre (1996), and recently received the “Golden stage cross” Theatre award for the dance performance “Othello” (2006).The pupils of Vilnius Ballet School and Munich dance academy with great success presented A. Cholina’s choreographic miniatures at the international ballet competitions in Lausanne, Varna, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, New York, Stockholm, Munich and Helsinki. During her choreographic carrier she has produced 5 one act ballets, more than 50 choreographic miniatures and 12 dance performances. One of the latest works of Anželika Cholina – dance performance “The coast of women” (originally “Songs of women”, set to the songs of Marlene Dietrich), opened in August 2008 at E. Vachtangov Theatre, Moscow.
A|CH dance theatre today is the biggest dance theatre in Lithuania, with its privileged position earned through artistic merit. The theatre tours nationally, as well as internationally, having traveled to Hungary, China, Great Britain, Latvia, Poland, Russia, and Denmark in previous years. Under the inspired direction of choreographer Anželika Cholina, the theatre is recognized for its passionate, intelligent, visually stunning dance performances, which are a mix of ballet, modern dances and drama. A|CH dance theatre is also giving opportunities to talented choreographers to realize their creative ideas through working with A|CH troupe: the latest cooperation in this field happened in the spring of 2008, when the theatre invited a choreographer from Russia, Oleg Glushkov, docent of Moscow Theatre Academy. For A|CH he created an original dance performance “Donkey hot” based on the novel “Don Quixote” by M. de Cervantes, with music by L.A. Minkus.The company has had a profound influence on other dance theatres and individual choreographic works, as most of their founders/creators were or are the students of Anželika Cholina – since 1998 she leads the actors-dancers group in the Acting Department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre .
The theatre doesn’t have a fixed troupe. For each performance A|CH theatre chooses the artists according to the requirements of the performance. The core of the theatre’s troupe comprises 20 artists – students of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and ballet artists from the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Address: I. Šimulionio 4-103, LT-04331, Vilnius
Raganiukes Theatre (The Little Witch Theatre) for children was founded in 1995 in the center of the Old Town in Vilnius. It's a relatively young theater, but it already has its admirers among kids and their parents.
The main hero of the theater is the kind Little Witch. Kids love her and her friends - fairy-tales characters from all over the world. Actors dressed like fairy-tales heroes often play with children before the beginning of performances and during intermissions. Theater maintains warm and friendly relationships with the audience and provides opportunity for the kids to be in touch with fairy-tales character and believe in miracles.
The repertoires of the Little Witch Theatre include performances for pre-school and primary-school-aged children from 3 to 10 years old. The productions are based on works of world-famous authors, such as Alexander Dumas, Alan Alexander Milne, George Sand, Astrid Lingdren, Antony Pogorelsky and others. Kids especially appreciate performances "The new adventures of Piff", "Karlson and the Little One", "Winnie-the-Pooh", "Three musketeers". The theater has the biggest repertoire in Lithuania dedicated to little children. In some performances acrobats and jugglers participate, which is especially interesting for the little spectators.
The seating hall holds 200 seats; the stage is equipped with theatrical illumination system, which allows producing amazing light effects during the shows. Some performances are specially produced so that the kids and their parents can participate in the action along with the actors ("Theater Box of Tricks", "Meadow of the Blue Clover"). They develop children's imagination, apprehension and creative skills.
The Little Witch Theater is a very cozy place, where talented people are inspired with idea to make all the children coming to the performances happy.
„The Little Witch Theater's“ aim is to show professional, high quality and different genres performaces for children under thirteen. There is few especially original performances- games which help to develope child's fantasy and imagination, open gates to magical theater's world as they involve children and their parents to the creation of the show proccess. What is more, theater attends many projects. Performances are created by directors and actors from Lithuania and foreign countries. „The Little Witch Theater“ is very appreciated by Lithuanian children. Children and their parents come to the theater from different places in Lithuania every weekend. Every day spent at „The Little Witch Theater“ is like a little adventure as the Little Witch and her friends, characters from world's fairytales, can be seen not just on the stage but also playing with children in the foyer of the theater. Simple day becomes a miracle because of communication between the audience and the characters.
Address: S.Stanevičiaus g. 24, Vilnius
"Lele" is a Lithuanian word for a puppet or a doll. "Lele" - a puppet theatre in Vilnius, founded in 1958 - is one of the three professional puppet theatres in Lithuania.
In 1977 the Theatre settled in the former house of Duke Oginsky in Arkliu Street in the Old Town of Vilnius.
Two halls of the Theatre (of 240 and 70 seats) host about 35 000 spectators at about 300 performances annually.
"Lele" is proud to have had famous Lithuanian theatre people B. Lukošius, V. Mazuras and A. Ragauskaite as its producers as well as to presently have the cast of 15 professional actors the majority of whom graduated from Vilnius Academy of Music.
Vitalijus Mazuras – a painter and a theatre producer, one of the best known puppeteers of Europe, used to manage the Theatre for many years.
The list of the Theatre's performances extends to 24, the classical, world-wide known fairy-tales such as The Ugly Duckling, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio, Three Little Pigs, Cinderella among them.
The Theatre also stages Lithuanian folk tales and highly values its friendship with prominent Lithuanian playwrights and poets Sigitas Geda, Marcelijus Martinaitis who contribute to the success of the Theatre with their plays.
The Theatre performances are accompanied with music by the best Lithuanian theatre composers Feliksas Bajoras, Algirdas Martinaitis, Faustas Latenas and Vidmantas Bartulis.
The performances of the Theatre "Lele" are enjoyed by not only Vilnius audience as the Theatre travels a lot to other cities and towns of Lithuania. Its frequent visits abroad offered opportunities to German, Algerian, Ethiopian, Finnish, Danish, British, USA, Polish, Austrian, Indian, Kazakh, Latvian, Estonian, Russian, Slovak and other audiences to appreciate the Theatre's mastery. The Theatre also experienced the atmosphere of numerous puppet and children theatre festivals.
Currently Vilnius Theatre "Lele" is searching for novelties and new ways of expression. It does not limit itself to traditional puppet shows. The experienced puppeteers and drama theatre producers are invited to diversify the range of the Theatre's products.
Beside puppet and shadow theatre shows, there are performances where puppets act on the stage together with actors. Being capable of blending the scenery, puppets, masks, music, texts and plastics is the characteristic feature of the Theatre "Lele".
Leader of Vilnius puppet theatre "Lele" is Mr. Juozas Marcinkevichius.
Address: Arklių g. 5 LT-01129 Vilnius
Lithuanian National Drama Theater was founded in 1940. The repertoire of the theatre consists of the world classic dramatic art including Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Lorka, Beckett and works of modern dramatists including Lithuanian authors.
Works of Lithuanian famous directors and actors, masterpieces of world classics, uncommon decorations, and special atmosphere of creativity makes the National Drama Theatre very popular among the audience. The most famous performances are "Madame de Sade" by Mishima, "The Dream Play" by Strindberg, "The Day of Commemorating the Dead" by Mickievicz, "The Stepanchikov's Manor" by Dostoevsky. Productions on works of famous avant-garde writers Daniil Charms and Alexander Vvedensky have won a number of prizes at international theater festivals and continue to attract attention of Lithuanian and foreign audiences.
In 2001, the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre became the member of the European Theatre Convention. Gaining the honorable position, the theatre began a new life at the beginning of a new era. It started to work in new directions, which are staging the plays by the Lithuanian authors and supporting of young directors and actors. The performances of the theatre contain elements of experiment and innovation. The producers of the performances look for new forms and ideas in modern drama works such as "Stop Machine" by Charms, "The Guest" by Schmitt, and "Offending the Audience" by Handke.
The activities of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre include Christmas performances for children and participation in international festivals and contests.
Address: Gedimino av. 4, LT-01103, Vilnius
An outstanding actor of St.Petersburg Imperial Alexandrinsky Theater Pavel Vasiliev founded the first permanent troupe of the Russian Theater in Vilnius in 1864. It was a birthday of Russian Drama Theater. Its repertoire included performances of different genres based on works of Russian and foreign playwrights, including those of "the new generation": Chekhov, Ibsen, and Hauptman. In the end of the 19th centur,y the great Russian actress Vera Komissarjevskaya appeared on the scene of the theater.
During the World War I the theater ceased functioning, the troupe broke apart. Only in 1946 the theater opened for the public. Its second birth was celebrated by performing Ostrovsky's play "Innocent as Charged". From then on many talented persons worked in the Russian Drama Theater, including directors Roman Viktuk and Jonas Jurashas, actresses Monika Mironaite and Elina Bistrizhkaya, composer and musician Vyacheslav Ganelin and others. 60s and 80s of the 20th century became the Golden Age of the theater history, when the Russian Drama Theater played dominant role in the cultural life of Lithuania and was appreciated by the foreign critics.
In the middle of the 80s, the theater moved from the old house on Jogailos Street. Now it occupies the historical building where the famous Polish Theater on Pogylyanka used to be.
The repertoires of the Russian Drama Theater include "The Dog in the Manger" by Lope de Vega, "Years of wandering" by Arbuzov, "Young People" by Rodion Belezhky, "A Little Bit of Tenderness" by Aldo Nikolai, "George Danden" by Moliere and other performances based on the works of classis and modern authors.
Nowadays the Russian Drama theatre is the only theater in Lithuania performing not only in Lithuanian language. The building of the theatre is among culture monuments under the patronage of the UNESCO.
Address: Basanaviciaus St.1, Vilnius
Oskaras Koršunovas theatre (now OKT/Vilnius City Theatre) emerged in 1999. Since the very beginning it has made a decision to remain independent. The newly created entity took a risk not to be dependent on any subsidies, not to have permanent stage or accommodation. Such a step was made just because of a single reason: it was meant to cut all the connections with reality of the theatre of that time and to create a new one.
The theatre took the risk even further: by declaring that the new times have come and that these times must be reflected in a contemporary theatre, it started to produce the newest dramaturgy that was absent at the Lithuanian stage of those days. OKT began to seek for its’ own ways of communication with the audience, besides this it come to implementation of the new style management. Regardless of bitter reaction and controversial opinions the brave step deserved respect and appreciation. It may be affirmed that the artistic project of the young director has eventually gained a name of the most accepted and most “spectaculous” theatre.
OKT/ Vilnius City theatre is one of Lithuanian directorial theatre that mainly protected modern drama, modern staging of classics, and other conception of scenic metaphor and scenic action at the threshold of centuries. The theatre maintained its avant-guard positions for a long time, attracted young talents, and was very productive and toured in many famous world festivals. The main ambition of OKT/ Vilnius City theatre is the search for modern theatre language that would correspond with the rhythm of present life; that would analyze the myth of a modern man and would provoke the audience for the possibility of other action or life.
It’s important that by remaining independent theatre has appealed to the purposeful strategy of artistic program. OKT/ Vilnius City theatre hasn’t become just a producer of isolated projects. It has created a forceful repertoire that includes both the modern dramaturgy and the classics. The main credo of repertoire may be expressed by the following words: to stage classics as if it was modern dramaturgy and modern dramaturgy – as if it was classics. That’s why separate performances organically come one from another: Fireface by Mayenburg is somehow related to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream – to Crave by Kane. These performances don’t discord with Ravenhill’s Shopping and Fucking or Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, The Master and Margarita by the novel of M. Bulgakov, a good example of a collision of modern interdisciplinary arts and ancient Lithuanian folk traditions in Closed Party, W. Shakespeare’s Hamlet or one of Anton Chekhov’s masterpieces – Uncle Vanya.
Today the theatre is confident that in order to remain creative and up-to-date it is not possible to contain itself in local space. The further course of OKT is not only to go beyond the stage and the building, but also to exceed the limits of traditional concepts of theatre. The theatre, therefore, will keep on trying to create its own architectural vision in spectators’ minds.
OKT/Vilnius City Theatre is the initiator and organizer of the Vilnius’ International Theatre Festival SIRENOS and Druskininkai Theatre Festival, as well as the participant of the local and international cultural projects.
Address: Ašmenos g. 8, LT-01135, Vilnius
The World according to Keistuoliai
No irony please, is one of the tenets of a dynamic young theatre company
Their shows attract full houses. Their audiocassettes and CDs do not stay in the shops for long. And each show that they put on is guaranteed success.
They perform for children as if they were adults, and for adults as if they were children. They make the audience surprised at everything, and smile and love. They simply stop you growing old.
The Keistuoliai (“oddballs”) Theatre is a different, and so far the only private, theatre in Lithuania. It is not only that its members are all directors, actors, composers, poets, artists and artistic directors at the same time.
This is not somewhere people come to see overblown passions. It is a living theatre, where the spectator is always kept on the edge.
During its 15 years of existence, the company has put on over 30 new productions, television performances, and shows, made video films for children and grown-ups, and a multitude of audiocassettes and compact discs. In one year, it puts on about 200 performances for children and adults, visits about 30 cities in Lithuania and abroad (including Austria, Denmark, Germany and the USA) and participates in joint projects with foreign theatres.
One of its credos, which took shape at the very beginning, is to be extremely honest with children, and to talk to them in a very simple language that they will understand.
“Then there is sincerity, and children accept you,” says Aidas Giniotis, one of the founders and artistic director.
“I think that was the main reason why our theatre was born and has survived. Sincerity with children cannot be achieved through reasoning or by the idea alone. To achieve it, we ourselves must be open hearted.”
The idea of a different kind of theatre was born in 1982, when first-year drama students at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre were declared a miniature theatre class.
“While students, we had the idea of one troupe, one theatre,” says Giniotis.
“We wanted to be original and strong. The various actors were linked by a feeling of affinity, and came back to Vilnius, like the children of the same mother.”
The company was founded in 1989 as a cooperative. At the time, still Soviet times, there was no other way of establishing an independent troupe.
“Initially, even a suggestion like this looked ridiculous: a cooperative, like a bakery? But then, that was how our oddness showed. And we said, why not?!” Giniotis recalls.
The status of the company has been changing constantly since the beginning: from a cooperative to a closed joint-stock company, then to a non-profit organisation and finally to a public enterprise. Today it has 15 actors, a director, a set designer, a composer, a permanent rehearsal hall, and a smallish round hall suitable for close communication with the audience.
The first years of the theatre’s existence were not easy. To many, the first private theatre in Lithuania, trying hard to survive and without any financial assistance from the state, looked implausible and not very serious.
Rehearsals took place in clubs or in a former cinema, the sets were kept in a garage and carried around in a Lada car. All that, as well as the tours around country towns, selling tickets, putting up posters, observing rules and regulations, a quite “uncreative” accounting style, sleepless nights and other hardships did not put off the young company.
“We started from scratch, and nobody helped us,” Giniotis recalls. “Everything we received from ticket sales, we put back into the next production.”
Children were the company’s first audience. This happened because the theatre started with a repertoire for children.
Unlike other children’s theatres, they usually choose absurd (Bisset, Rodari) or nonsensical literature (Haks, Hopp, Maceurek) and, by adapting it to their style of acting and to the lyrics of their songs, they find a new way of talking to children.
“It is not easy to act for children. Managing them is an issue in itself,” says Giniotis. “If while acting for children you allow yourself to flag, they will sweep you off the stage literally in ten minutes and won’t want you anymore.
“As an audience, children are exhausting. When their eyes are staring at you, they neither listen, nor keep silent nor are tolerant. They just rob you of your energy.”
In developing the principles of their acting, the actors first of all rejected the infantile and simple characters that appear so frequently in theatre productions. They tried to avoid theatrical clichés and stereotypes. They gave up academic stage sets that both take up the space of the action and block children’s fantasy.
Children cannot stand dishonesty, especially on the stage. Therefore, the company decided to treat them like adult spectators.
In shaping their style of acting, and the genres and structures of their productions, they turned to the theatrical nature of man. The desire to imitate the surroundings, to evaluate them as a game full of music and permanent motion, makes it possible to be both an observer and a performer at the same time.
“Children don’t understand irony,” Giniotis points out. “They also don’t understand mockery and insincerity. However, they do enjoy puns, surprises and dynamism.
“They don’t appreciate the notion ‘unreal’, and that is why theatre as a game is part of their life, a natural condition. Children don’t imagine that they are being drawn into a game. They either get involved or they don’t join in. This makes the actors act with commitment.”
It is one thing to play a children’s character at the age of 20 or 30, and quite another to do it when you are 40.
“The longer you act, the more courage you need, and the more open you have to be, because the difference in age between you and the audience is getting bigger.”
The knight of the sad countenance
From the very beginning, the company has wanted to act for adults, too. Circumstances, however, made them put on 20 performances a month. Add to this the recording sessions, festivals and filming, and they started feeling that the workload was too heavy for a small company.
Then a plan was born to inject some fresh blood, that is, to establish a theatre studio. A group of actors was formed at Vilnius University especially for working at the Keistuolių Teatras. In addition to the humanities, they were taught all aspects of acting, and much attention was paid to music education and children’s literature.
One production, Liūdnojo vaizdo riteris (The Knight of the Sad Countenance), which is still in the repertoire, defined perfectly the direction of the company, their vision, and simply what they are to themselves and to others.
To have an impractical dream, to see what others cannot see, to defeat your sworn enemy, to dare to do what no one else would dare: these are themes that run through the production. As they are leaving, some members of the audience hum the songs.
“Sincere communication is, in my view, the theatre’s basic principle; and we always return to it, no matter how far we have strayed,” Giniotis says.
Along with drama for adults, children and the whole family, there is one more aspect, which started after its cooperation with the Grips theatre in Germany. This is educational productions oriented towards the social and psychological problems of a child and a teenager.
“I think it’s very important to help children solve problems which they are unwilling or too timid to talk about in public,” Giniotis says.
“The theatre is both public and private. The spectator gets involved in the play being performed. And by seeing himself in the characters, although not necessarily identifying them with himself, he no longer feels alone.
“We are glad that the response to our efforts is reflected in the faces of spectators who have been with us since the beginning, and in the simple fact that they keep coming to our theatre. We call them a generation of grown-up children.
“They are probably our most active audience. They encourage dialogue, and look forward to it. How can we not respond to such an invitation?”
Address: Laisvės pr. 60, LT-05120 Vilnius
Established in the new building located in the very centre of the Lithuanian capital in the autumn of 2005, the State Small Theatre of Vilnius is one of the most attractive not only among the theatrical spaces, but among city’s cultural spaces in general. Theatrical spirit, specifically linking the past and presents times, bygone ages and modernism, can be sensed in the architecture, the interior and in the performances.
Having had no stage for many years and probably enjoying more fame abroad than in Lithuania, the State Small Theatre of Vilnius today is known by many: students and businessmen, artists and people who have nothing to do with art. Because the motto of the State Small Theatre of Vilnius is An Open Theater, its essence is to make a contact with everyone coming to performances in this theatre, to speak a language everyone understands, and at the same time to use the language of top artistic achievement. Openness of the State Small Theatre of Vilnius has also a practical side: it is open for different artistic, cultural and other initiatives, educational and business events.
The State Small Theatre of Vilnius is located at 22 Gediminas Prospect, the main street in Vilnius, where at the beginning of the 20th-century a society Ruta, important for the Lithuanian culture, had functioned. Ruta was arranging concerts, lectures, also theatre performances. Most prominent cultural people of that time and signatories of Independence Act were taking part in the activities of the society. From the beginning the building was surrounded with the spirit of exceptionality, legend aura, related with famous names of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis – a most prominent Lithuanian painter and symbolist; also with other famous names like Czeslaw Milosz, Jaschos Heifetz. The architecture of the building is also exceptional: the auditorium has a unique glass block ceiling; only two ceilings of this kind have survived in all the Europe - here, in Vilnius, and in Prague. The stage of the Small Theatre of Vilnius is also unusual: different from any other theatre, it is not black but light. The interior of other premises of the theatre features a stylish connection between the authentic style of convergence of the 19th and 20 centuries, and modernism.
But the Small Theatre of Vilnius attracts its audience not only with its exceptional architecture or legends, but also with a repertoire of a high artistic realisation. Still having no home of its own, the theatre was travelling extensively, and has gained the international acclaim a long time ago. The productions staged by the director Rimas Tuminas The Cherry Orchard, Smile upon us, Lord , Masquerade, Madagascar have visited many countries - from Sweden to Italy, from South Korea to Mexico - and were awarded with numerous prestigious prizes. In 1999, after the Masquerade tour in Great Britain, the performing company of the State Small Theatre of Vilnius was lauded by English press as one of the best in the world. Certainly, not only the original direction skills and pedagogical talent of Rimas Tuminas but also an exceptional ensemble of actors having evolved over the course of many years, adds to this success.
The repertoire of the State Small Theatre totals to over ten performances, most of them were staged by the theatre manager Rimas Tuminas. The Open Theater, fostered by Tuminas, is a theatre of freedom, contrivance and ease. It is a theatre divergent by its faithfulness to the cultural memory and traditions, attentiveness to "old-fashioned” notions and feelings. “You must celebrate the life in theatre. You must open abysms to make a spectator giddy from life, to make him fall in love for at least a moment”, Tuminas says. His theatre is a meeting place for life feast participants.
Address: Gedimino pr. 22, Vilnius LT 01103
In 2006, the State You
th Theatre of Lithuania will celebrate anniversary season of its work. The theatre was founded in Vilnius in 1965. The first production, W.Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet directed by Aurelija Ragauskaite, was performed on May 27, 1966. This day is considered the official birthday of the theatre. The State Youth Theatre of Lithuania was meant to be a children’s theatre, but this name would have squeezed it into a certain frame. So it was a great achievement to get the name “Children’s” changed to “Youth”. The range of the theatre broadened immediately.
The theatre shows 250 performances a year and the approximate number of spectators is 60 thousand per year. The big hall contains 450 seats and a small hall so called “Hall 99” has a 100 seats. The Youth Theatre does not limit itself just with performances for both children and adults, but it is also engaged in other activities and projects, such as: public reading of different famous and unknown local and foreign dramatists, poets and writers, music evenings and all kinds of exhibitions.
Address: Arklių g.5, LT-01129 Vilnius
Arts Printing House or (Menų spaustuvė in Lithuanian) is a unique creative phenomenon in Lithuania, a vibrating performing arts venue and a meeting place for artistic souls. Established in a former printing house dating back to 1805, nowadays it produces a different kind of layouts, typecasts and linotypes – those that help develop a new understanding of creativity within the modern society.
Located in the old town of Vilnius, the premises of the Arts Printing House had previously been used as a printing house for books from 1805 and then converted into a communist printing house for main newspapers of the regime in 1965. After Lithuania gained independence, several performing arts NGOs used the premises for independent arts projects. In 2002 the Arts Printing House was established and a lease contract between Municipality of Vilnius and the newly founded organization was signed. Since then a number of theatrical, contemporary dance, interdisciplinary and educational projects take place in the building annually.
Transforming old into new
While harboring the unique history, at the same time the Arts Printing House strives to bring about change and become the first infrastructural complex for creative industries in Lithuania. It aims to foster creativity and support performing arts NGOs. In other words, our vision is to serve as a matrix-case, which collects different types of independent performing arts projects into one place and is a medium allowing them to share their artistic vision with the audience.
In November 2004 we joined one of the oldest European cultural organizations network, Trans Europe Halles, which unites cultural centres established in non-traditional, often post-industrial spaces.
Currently the premises of the Arts Printing House are undergoing a reconstruction, the main part of which has been funded by EU Structural Funds and Vilnius City Municipality. In the next few years the space of 3800 m2 will open up as a performing arts centre with 2 venues, 4 rehearsal spaces, non-commercial film cinema, offices, resource library, café-club and a guesthouse.
Infoteka is an information resource centre at Menų spaustuvė with a collection of paper and audio books, dvd's, periodicals on arts (with a special emphasis on performing arts) in Lithuanian and English. The core of the collection is made up from the books transfered here from the British Council library; others are given by various non-governmental Lithuanian performing arts organisations.
Infoteka is located on the ground floor, entrance is from Šiltadaržio street. View the map.
Tuesday - 13.00-19.00
Wednesday - 13.00 - 19.00
Thursday - 13.00 - 19.00
Friday - 13.00-19.00
Saturday, Sunday, Monday - closed
The resources are free to use at Infoteka. If in need to borrow books, videos or dvd‘s home, one needs to register and obtain a reader‘s card, which costs 20 litas and is valid for 12 months. For registration, a valid ID card or passport should be presented.
Black Hall is the main stage at Menų spaustuvė. It is a „black-box“ and has a mobile rise for audience seating, which can be folded for standing room only.
Number of seats: 203
Measurements of stage(with the audience seating unfolded):
width 13.7 metres
depth 9.8 m.
height 7 metres.
Pocket Hall is a performance venue at Menų spaustuvė, used for smaller scale performances, conferences, rehearsals and other events.
Number of seats: 60
Width 7.6 metres
Depth 8.5 metres
There are three currently operating rehearsal rooms of different sizes. One of them has a special floor for dance rehearsals, others are more used for theatre rehearsals, workshops and seminars.
our artistic greenhouse ... and what we cultivate in it
1. Emerging artists. We think their ideas are worth to reach your eyes and ears.
2. A new kind of society nurtured by culture. We believe that the ozone hole can decrease only if most of us are cultured enough.
3. Challenging ideas. There is a thin line between a stupid question and a challenging idea. We go for both.
4. Lithuanian theatre resources at www.menufaktura.lt. It’s fun and it’s not only for theater nuts.
5. Your creativity. _______________________________. Intentionally left blank. Use your ideas to fill the gap.
Arts Printing House/ Menų spaustuvė
Šiltadaržio skg. 6, Vilnius
The theatre aims to
* nurture, initiate and cultivate traditions of national musical theatre; develop traditions of contemporary musical theatre and present them to the wide community; seek for the artistic embodiment of values treasured in the world's musical culture;
* capacitate young talented and recognised artists and performers, both from Lithuania and abroad, to participate in the theatre's activities;
* shape the image of country's artistic culture by presenting the accomplishments of national musical culture abroad;
* cultivate, instigate and satisfy the need for professional scenic art in the wide society.
Opera in Lithuania goes back to the early 17th century. In 36 years after the genre had originated in Florence, an opera, Il ratto di Helena, written by an anonymous composer and set to a libretto by the then famous Italian librettist and musician, Virgilio Puccitelli, was first performed in Lithuania on 4 September 1636, at the court theatre of the grand duke in the Lower Castle in Vilnius.
From the second half of the 18th century to the early 19th century music and the arts, including opera and ballet, were taken under the patronage of influential noblemen from the stocks of Oginskis, Radvila, Tyzenhauzas, and others, who also held companies in their country mansions and city residencies.
In 1785 first public city theatres were opened in Vilnius and Klaipeda. From 1795 to the early 20th century Lithuania was under the domination of foreign powers - first, Poland and Germany, then Russia - which led to severe oppression of Lithuanian national culture. At that time Lithuanian theatres were run by Polish, German, Italian and Russian companies.
After the ban on Lithuanian press was lifted in 1904, the first Lithuanian opera Birute, co-authored by composer Mikas Petrauskas and playwright Gabrielius Lansbergis-Zemkalnis, was staged in Vilnius in 1906.
In 1918 Lithuania was proclaimed an independent state. However, Vilnius and its surrounding region were soon annexed to Poland. Thus Kaunas became Lithuania's provisional capital where the foremost energies of Lithuanian art, culture and sciences were consolidated for more than two decades. It was in Kaunas where the nation's first musical theatre - the Opera and Drama Playhouse - opened in 1920. With the addition of a resident ballet company in 1925, this theatre formed the basis for an institution presently known as the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre - an all-time largest and most influential establishment promoting opera and ballet in Lithuania.
To legitimate its national status, the LNOBT has always had national productions on its repertoire (over 20 in total). Among the most outstanding ones are Vytautas Klova's opera Pilenai (1956), Julius Juzeliunas' ballet On the Seashore (1953) and opera Insurgents (1957), Eduardas Balsys' ballet Egle, Queen of Grass-snakes (1960) and opera Journey to Tilsit (1980), Vytautas Barkauskas' opera The Legend about Love (1975), Antanas Rekasius' ballets (The Fading Cross, 1963; Passions, 1968; Alive Forever, 1982, Medea, 1996), Mindaugas Urbaitis' ballet Acid City (2002), and Bronius Kutavicius' recent stageworks, opera The Bear (2000) and stage diptych Ignis et fides (2003).
During the season (September-June) the opera company is usually engaged in around 15 current and 4 new opera productions. The average number of operas on repertoire per month is 10. The LNOBT's ballet company has roughly the same number of ballet productions, and usually presents 2 new ones every season. The average number of ballets on current repertoire per month is 15.
Address: A. Vienuolio g. 1, 01104 Vilnius
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Prepaid individual transfer :