🌍 Vilnius, LTU
🗓 23 – 27 October 2020
Labas! Festival 2019 in Vilnius Lithuania remains a unique event in the cultural life of the city and returns for its fifth edition in October 2019! Very much a boutique festival with a big heart, this year, the theme is “Building Bridges – Our Heritage and the Future”.
Labas! is a collaboration between Teatriukas, one of the first independent theatre companies set up after the fall of communism in Lithuania and Acting Up! Arts – a latecomer to the world of theatre for young audiences and the brainchild of Irish artist Cliodhna Noonan, who has travelled extensively in the past 20 years, looking at the arts for early childhood in many different cultural contexts.
This year, Labas! will welcome international artists from Ireland, Greece, Belgium and Germany with messages for the future. Not necessarily based on technology. Rather based on a message of intercultural awareness and a celebration of being together while recognising that our global reality is shifting all the time and that diversity brings new challenges to every community.
With a focus on ability and communication, we welcome Aisling Byrne who is artistic director of Run of the Mill Theatre in Ireland. Aisling specialises in working with audiences of children with special needs and she is a wizard at telling stories and bringing everyone the magic of the storytelling experience through her charisma and charm!
Joeri Wens from Flanders in Belgium is a percussionist who specialises in Persian instruments and rhythms of elsewhere. His technique is not to use any words once the workshop performance begins, but to establish connections with the young children he is performing for and their carers, to allow the audience in a way to lead the performance.
Lithuanian theatre for babies has had a huge growth spurt since the first edition of Labas! in 2015. When we began our journey, the first challenge was to open the sector to the idea that theatre can be produced for babies and children up to 7 years old as an audience in its own right. Now, after much research and experimentation with the new genre, Teatriukas collaborates with „Theatre of Senses”, „Labaiteatras”, and young independent artists all of whom have embarked on this journey to a new kind of theatre experience. In the past, interactive theatre was not so commonplace on the stages of Vilnius – today The Story of a Drop of Water, recently returned from its debut performance at Grasshoppers festival in Balbriggan, Ireland, celebrates that the audience can be at the centre of the performance experience. Awakening the senses of the audience, helping them to feel present and alive, adding their voice to the cultural event is truly building a bridge from a silent past as observers to a vocal and present future as a society. Labas! celebrates this concept from the very youngest citizens and their carers with a view to creating an open and confident future generation.
Labas! 2019 is funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture, Embassy of Ireland in Vilnius, Embassy of Flanders in Lithuania, the Goethe Institute in Vilnius, National M.Mazvydo Library Vilnius, Culture and Education centre „Teachers’ house” and Molėtai region Municipality.
Info from organisers Dalia Mikoliūnaitė (theatre „Teatriukas” Lithuania), Cliodhna Noonan (Acting up! Ireland) members of Small size network
Foto from LABAS archives