Encore, another encore

The 11th International Youth M@rtContact Theatrical Forum demonstrates its artistic essence
This year, around 4,500 tickets were sold to the Mogilev forum, while the first event attracted just 2,500 visitors. Every year, M@rtContact is gaining momentum, strengthening its position. Culture Minister Boris Svetlov noted at the opening ceremony, “The Mogilev forum has become a key venue for young and talented theatrical figures of Belarus and foreign states. The most modern and original shows are staged here.”

Performances on Vasily Shukshin’s stories were presented at М@rt.Contact forum by Moscow drama theatre “Sphera”

The number of participants is also growing annually.  Six performances were presented at the first festival and there were 20 this year, from theatres across Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Bulgaria, Armenia and Belarus. Most presented classical pieces but actors and directors continue to surprise audiences. The youth event is always full of fresh interpretations, and experimentation. Poland’s ‘Master and Margarita’ (based on Bulgakov’s work) was no mere presentation of plot, while the Warsaw theatre also used elements of the novel.

M@rtContact invites the new and unusual. With this in mind, famous actors, directors and art critics come to Mogilev from various cities and countries. Andrey Moskvin, from Poland, is already a permanent participant. He comments, “I come, knowing that I’m guaranteed pleasure. Almost every show brings a burst of emotions. M@rtContact is of special interest, as most of the performances are new to me. I have a wonderful surprise, as do the other visitors.” 

Mr. Moskvin’s colleague, a famous theatrical critic from Hannover, Nina Mazur, is also willing to travel many kilometres to attend. “I can hardly imagine my spring without M@rtContact. I hurry to Mogilev, and love seeing everyone. We live across various countries but this forum unites us. Unlike some other international festivals, it teaches you to appreciate beauty, kindness and humanity,” she says.

Warsaw theatre presents ‘Master and Margarita’

Theatrical critics came to regional centre despite the absence of a professional jury this year. Organizers decided not to award a Grand Prix, first prizes, or awards for the best director or male or female actor (unlike in previous years). Instead, the event was held as a celebration of theatre, and ticket prices remained unchanged.

The main advantage of the forum is that not only young but also venerable critics, actors and directors can learn much here, notes famous Belarusian theatre critic Tatiana Orlova. She tells us, “M@rtContact enjoys a very good reputation in the Belarusian theatrical sphere. We don’t just present performances; we offer something new, inspiring the development of Mogilev theatre and theatrical art in general. This is an artistic laboratory, testing new means, methods and forms.”

Critics and audiences particularly enjoyed ‘Dreams of Love, or Balzaminov’s Marriage’, staged by St. Petersburg’s Masterskaya. Director Grigory Kozlov, who has Belarusian roots, participated in the forum some years ago and returned this time, noting that he wishes to become ‘acquainted with the artistry of colleagues’. “This is important. I’m interested in young Belarusian directors and, in Belarus, I attended a show by your modern playwright Dmitry Bogoslavsky, and was impressed,” he asserts.

This year, the Ethnography Museum even hosted a performance. 

By Olga Kislitskaya



Students invited to show their talent

Art-Vacation Youth Artistic Creativity Festival, held since 2003, remains popular

The project has moved with the times, retai-ning its appeal with the younger generation. This time, the event united 53 universities, showcasing song, dance, circus mastery, literary creativity, photography, painting, film-making, and stand-up comedy.

Tatiana Grishkevich, of the National Centre of Child and Youth Artistic Creativity, headed the jury, noting that Art-Vacation is a unique project within the post-Soviet space. As a rule, focus is on festivals of singing or dancing in neighbouring states. She underlines, “Our forum presents all manner of creativity, as a multi-faceted event. Entrants first compete at their universities, then at the regional level and then attend finals, held at Minsk’s Sports Palace on May 14th. We now have interactive performances, including Internet voting for the best entrants, allowing colleagues from other universities to assess levels of mastery.”

Students from several universities, in Minsk, Mogilev and the Belarusian State Agricultural Academy in Gorki, have already demonstrated their mastery. Now, Gomel is hosting its Art-Vacation.

By Olga Ponomareva

Photo BelTA
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