Theatre in Lithuania

More than 400 years ago first theatre shows appeared in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Then the first theatre was formed in the Low Castle in Vilnius. Since the second half of the 16th century foreign theatre troupes showed their performances there. In 1570 the first Lithuanian spectacle was showed in the Palace of Grand Dukes in Vilnius by Vilnius college, which was reorganized into Vilnius university in 1579. Theatre appeared to be a very interesting and really glamorous art branch which soon got sympathies of Lithuanian grandees. Drama, opera and ballet troupes were often invited to perform in palaces when in 1875 in Vilnius and Klaipėda first city theatres were opened.

In the end of the 19th century, the first public evening of amateur dramatics was held in Palanga where the famous comedy by Keturakis “America in the bath” was shown. It was the first public spectacle during the years of press ban. In 1918 first official professional folk art institutions were established in Vilnius and Kaunas. 2 years later theatres flourished in Vilnius and Kaunas.

The Drama theatre in Kaunas and the Opera theatre in Vilnius became national institutions that united in 1925 and became a National theatre. Since 1940 new various theatres in bigger cities in Lithuania started appearing and nowadays in Lithuania there are more than 30 different theatres and approximately 1500 theatre troupes. It is well known that theatre art is alive only when it is proceeding. Because of that preservation of various relicts reminding of past spectacles like programs, information publications, scenarios, decorations, costumes and other is very important.

Nowadays the most famous theatres in Lithuania are Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, “Keistuolių teatras” ( Theatre of Freaks) Theatre of Oskaras Koršunovas,  Ceasar troup theatre,  Theatre of Gytis Ivanauskas, theatre troups of universities like, “Minimum” from Vilnius university, “The Loft” (“Palėpė” lit.) from Vilnius Gediminas Technical university , Miltinis Drama Theatre in Panevėžys, “The Doll” theatre, Russian Drama Theatre and others. The figures dominating in Lithuanian theatre world are Adolfas Večerskis, the general director of Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, actor and director, also directors like Eimuntas Nekrošius, Oskaras Koršunovas, Cezaris Graužinis, Jonas Vaitkus, Rimas Tuminas, number of talented actors like Rimantas Bagdzevičius, Vytautas Rumšas, Saulius Balandis, Marius Jampolskis, Vaiva Mainelytė, Rimantė Valiukaitė and many others.

Theatre art in Lithuania is very popular and appreciated. Various theatre festivals like “Sirenos” (Sirens) are held there annually. Theatre, as the most social art, cannot be written down, cannot be painted ore recorded as this is an alive dialog between actors and spectators. It is a playful relation between performed and real life which involves public into emotional contemplation and discussions. Thus it is alive in Lithuania and will be a well-liked creation by thousands forever.