In Vilnius, from May 6th to 11th, the international university theater forum “Crossroads of Vilnius” will take place

In Vilnius, from May 6th to 11th, the international university theater forum “Crossroads of Vilnius” will take place, dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of Lithuania’s membership in the European Union. From May 6th to 11th, the XXV International University Theater Forum “Crossroads of Vilnius” returns to the capital’s universities to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Lithuania’s accession to the European Union. The program includes performances by 11 Lithuanian and foreign university theater troupes, discussions, interdisciplinary discussions of educational and cultural communities, creative workshops, and street theater actions. All events are free of charge.

The program of the XXV International University Theater Forum will invite a review of the past two decades of Lithuania’s existence, discuss the changes that have taken place, newly emerging opportunities and challenges, and talk about current issues and the future. “The majority of the participants of this forum are a generation that grew up in an atmosphere of freedom of thought and creativity, which is ensured by the university and the cultural activities and discussions taking place within it. This is not only a generation of young Vilnius residents and Europeans, but also citizens of the world who boldly forge cultural ties,” says Vilnius University (VU) Rector Prof. Rimvydas Petrauskas.

During the forum – more than 15 free events

During the XXV International University Theater Forum, more than 15 performances, creative workshops, a round table discussion “Small Creative Communities in European Universities,” and a street theater action will take place at various capital universities. Student troupes from not only Lithuanian universities – VU, VILNIUS TECH, European Humanities University (EHU), Mykolas Romeris University (MRU), Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), and Klaipėda University (KU), but also from Tartu University in Estonia, Santiago de Compostela University in Spain, and the Norfolk theater troupe “Core” from the United States will take to the forum’s stages. Therefore, the forum is a great opportunity not only to see the theatrical achievements of Lithuanian youth but also to get acquainted with student theater traditions from other countries. Among the performances shown at the forum are four premieres. On May 9th, the VU Kinetic Theater will present the movement performance “Hommo in Maxima.” “This performance is an experiment trying to review the development of moral values in society after Lithuania’s accession to the European Union,” says director, VU Kinetic Theater director, and one of the members of the forum’s organizing committee, Andrius Pulkauninkas. Three more premieres will also be presented during the forum by Lithuanian university theaters: the KU student theater – the play “Lozorius” based on the postmodernist playwright Kostas Ostrauskas’ play; KTU Theater Studio “44” – the play “Silence of Cicadas” examining themes of alienation, humanity, fear, and choices; MRU Theater – the play “The Little Prince” based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s allegorical tale, which has become a classic of literature.

Street theater action “Crossroads of Vilnius” during the forum

“The current generation of Lithuanian students are young people who grew up and formed themselves while Lithuania was already a member of the EU and NATO,” says Olegas Kesminas, director and artistic director of the VILNIUS TECH theater studio “Palėpė” and a member of the forum’s organizing committee. “The last 3-4 years have not been easy: studies, work took place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, threats arose from totalitarian regimes in neighboring Eastern countries, war broke out in Ukraine, and streams of refugees from war flooded into Lithuania. This poses a number of social, religious, psychological challenges, forcing us to seek peaceful opportunities for multicultural coexistence, understanding, and tolerance. It is for these opportunities that we dedicate our action, and there is certainly much to draw from the multicultural history of Vilnius.” The street action “Crossroads of Vilnius” will take place on May 9th – theatrical improvisations involving passers-by, resisting situations and places where actors find themselves. There will be no spoken word in this performance, but letters will be written, sounds will be spread, choreographic etudes will be performed, and live music will be played. Actors will travel through the crossroads of Vilnius, and everything they need to survive will be in their suitcases. If they lack anything, they will try to survive together, exchanging, learning, and helping each other.

More information about the XXV International University Theater Forum and its detailed program can be found here.

About the forum

The International University Theater Forum is an annual event that unites the university theater community, which has been in existence since 2000 and will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year. It brings together academically interested youth in theater for common theatrical activities, organizes performances to draw public attention to socially, culturally, and heritage-relevant issues, and provides an opportunity to meet each other, communicate, and exchange experiences. It is a stage for aspiring actors, students of various fields of study united by the magic of theater and the need for self-expression. University theater is always youthful, its stage often becomes a platform for student creativity, and for the audience – a new acquaintance with the coming generation.

Forum organizers

The XXV International University Theater Forum is organized by the VU Cultural Center, VILNIUS TECH Theater Studio “Palėpė,” the University Theater Association in collaboration with 5 Lithuanian universities and colleagues from abroad. The project is financed by the Vilnius City Municipality and the State Studies Foundation.