Competition Programme announced

Maribor, 3nd - 16th June 2024

29. januar 2024

Today, on the Small Stage of the Slovene National Theatre Maribor, a press conference was held to present the competition programme of the 59th Maribor Theatre Festival. The presentation was attended by the Festival's Artistic Director Aleš Novak and the Competition Programme Selector Blaž Lukan, PhD. From 3 to 16 June, the Maribor Theatre Festival will once again offer a selection of outstanding theatre productions by Slovenian and foreign producers, a varied accompanying programme with expert meetings, book talks and exhibitions, reflections on theatre events and interesting student content.

The main part of the festival is the competition programme, which will feature twelve productions selected by the selector Blaž Lukan, PhD, who saw approximately 100 productions in the calendar year 2023. The selected productions have, as much as possible, taken into account two criteria: the criterion of context and the criterion of questioning the theatrical expression. "I was interested in productions that try to articulate a world beyond the text or the production or theatre as such, as well as in productions that seek – and to a large extent find – new means of expression for this articulation, both partial signs and a complete performance system," the selector writes in his justification of the selection. 
Most of the productions focus on subjects that reflect modern man with a dispersed focus and a fundamental powerlessness in social roles. "And so the productions of this year's selection, whether subtly, directly or metaphorically, penetrate into social, familial and romantic relationships, into oppressive systems, into seemingly impenetrable corporate and media realities, and into the very hearts of various mechanisms of denial (racism, sexism, homo-phobia, xenophobia... ), exposing one of the most prominent themes of the selection, and partly of the whole assortment, the theme of violence," Lukan writes, and goes on to point out the meticulous theatrical language, which is "more often shaping than dramatic, more often very contemporary than classical or traditionally modern, and more often improvised than built, relying on primary allusion more than on complex and transparent signs, resorting to their clever entanglement and witty assortment rather than their pure invention."

Aleš Novak, the Festival's Artistic Director, said that the competition programme is already traditionally the most important and central part of the Festival programme. "This year's selection by selector Blaž Lukan brings twelve exciting productions by Slovenian producers, which at the same time represents the largest possible scope of this core segment of the Festival programme. As some of this year's competing productions are longer or more demanding in terms of staging, we have a challenging task ahead of us, which includes finding and equipping external venues and coordinating the Festival schedule. Alongside this main Festival section, we are also preparing other Festival content, from guest appearances by foreign theatre companies and Slovenian productions in the supporting programme to the student and expert programmes. We cooperate with many stakeholders in the field of thea-tre and culture in the implementation of the Festival, and this year we will focus our organi-sational efforts even more on the presentation and promotion of Slovenian theatre creativity to theatre professionals from abroad. We are planning to open the Maribor Theatre Festival on Friday, 7 June, with the performance Soul Chain, produced by Staatstheater Mainz, which we are coorganising with Cankarjev dom," Novak announces.

The Festival will close on Sunday, 16 June, with the awarding of the Festival awards and the Borštnik Ring Award, which this year will be awarded to a drama actor.


Competition Programme of the 59th Maribor Theatre Festival
(in order of premières)

1. Elfriede Jelinek: Women as Lovers. Directed by Nina Ramšak Marković; Mladinsko Theatre, 11 February 2023.

2. Dominik Smole: Antigone. Directed by Luka Marcen; Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica, 16 February 2023.

3. Milan Ramšak Marković: Rainy Day in Gurlitsch. Directed by Sebastijan Horvat; Prešeren Theatre Kranj and Ptuj City Theatre, 27 March 2023.

4. Shelagh Stephenson: Five Kinds of Silence. Directed by Maša Pelko; Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica, 19 April 2023.

5. Tony Kushner: Angels in America. A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. Part I: Millennium Approaches, Part II: Perestroika. Directed by Ivica Buljan; Mini Theatre Ljubljana, 3 May 2023.

6. Marko Sosič, Tadej Pišek: About Snow and Love. Directed by Tadej Pišek; Godot Institute and Slovene Permanent Theatre in Trieste,11 June 2023.

7. Jernej Lorenci, Dino Pešut and team: The Pohorje Battalion. An Attempt at Reconstruction. Directed by Jernej Lorenci; Ljubljana City Theatre and Ptuj City Theatre, 26 September 2023. 

8. Tjaša Črnigoj, Lina Akif, Sendi Bakotić, Nika Rozman, Vanda Velagić, Tijana Todorović, Barbara Kapelj, Tea Vidmar, Lene Lekše: Sex Education II. A Series of Lecture-Performances on the Sexual Pleasure of Women. Directed by Tjaša Črnigoj; Nova pošta (Mladinsko Theatre, Maska Ljubljana) and City of Women, 7. October 2023.

9. Based on the life and work of Karel Destovnik – Kajuh: Assault. Directed by Živa Bizovičar; Celje City Theatre, 9 October 2023.

10. Tony Kushner: Angels in America. Before the Millennium and Perestroika. Directed by Nina Rajić Kranjac; Mladinsko Theatre, 15 October 2023.

11. Rrose Sélavy: The Crack. Directed by Jan Krmelj; Ljubljana City Theatre, 26 October 2023.

12. Milan Ramšak Marković: Prometheus: A Beautiful Apocalypse. Directed by Sebastijan Horvat, Slovene National Theatre Drama Maribor, 24 November 2023.

Blaž Lukan, Competition Programme Selector