For three months, the theatre will be the main attraction in Hungary: the 10th Theatre Olympics, which starts on 1st April, will offer a various range of international productions and performances from transborder Hungarian theatres by 400 companies from more than 50 countries. With special performances, festivals, exhibitions, and professional programmes taking place all over the country, the organisers hope that everyone will be able to be part of this year’s biggest cultural celebration.
The final programme in numbers
The event series which lasts from Easter to Midsummer’s Night is not only international in its name: companies and performers from 58 countries are coming to participate in the event, with theatres from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK, as well as companies from the Republic of South Africa, China, Japan, and Mexico. The three-month programme will include 750 performances by 400 companies in 70 venues, all over Hungary. More than 20 festivals have also joined the 10th Theatre Olympics, including the jubilating V4 Festival, the Danube Theatre Festival in Győr, the Karinthy Theatre’s Storytelling Festival, and, of course, the 9th Madách International Theatre Meeting (MITEM), organised by the National Theatre, which is the main event of the Olympics. The festival, which ends on 1 July, will welcome 7 500 performers from all over the world to Hungarian stages.
Oscar-winning actress at MITEM
On 7th June, Oscar- and BAFTA-winning actress Juliette Binoche will give a special reading performance entitled The Matter of Light at the National Theatre in Budapest. The French artist’s production is a ‘dress rehearsal’ for a play in progress, based on the book called Talking with Angels. At the turn of 1943-44, amidst the inhumanity of the Second World War, four young artists hungry for truth begin to talk and ask each other questions to which they receive unexpected answers; they are given teachings over seventeen months in Budaliget (Budapest), then in Garay Street and the military sewing workshop converted from the Katalin Home for Girls. Gitta Mallasz, the sole survivor of the group, transcribes these dialogues, which turn into the book Talking with Angels, now available in 25 languages. Juliette Binoche is a long-time fan of the book, and after many readings, she now presents it to us on stage. The evening session will also feature actor-director Wajdi Mouawad and Nelli Szűcs of the National Theatre.
Ukrainian performances are also attending
Spring 2023 is a historic time when it is not certain that a theatre company from a neighbouring country will be able to join the international programme. In this light, it is a special pleasure to welcome two productions by the Ivan Franko Ukrainian National Drama Theatre of Kyiv to the 9th MITEM: Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, directed by Dmitro Bogomazov, on 12th May on the main stage of the National Theatre, and Camus’ Caligula on 14th May on the Gobbi Hilda Stage, directed by Ivan Urivsky. Both artists are outstanding and prominent directors of their generation. The young talent, Ivan Urivsky will also be the director of the closing performance of the 10th Theatre Olympics: Shakespeare’s eternal classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed by the company of the National Theatre in Budapest and will be presented on 24th June at the Margaret Island Open-Air Stage.