The events of the XIV edition of Europe Theatre Prize and of the XII Europe Prize Theatrical Realities, will take place in Russia, in St. Petersburg from 12th (late afternoon) to 17th April 2011. The Prize events will take place under the support and patronage of the Russian Government with its Ministry of Culture and the Government of the City of St. Petersburg. Furthermore, the “Fund Baltic International Festival Center” and the Baltic House Theatre commit themselves to host, finance and organize the events of Europe Theatre Prize in St. Petersburg.
The Europe Theatre Prize was established in 1986 as a pilot project of the European Commission, under the presidency of Jacques Delors and with Carlo Ripa di Meana as the first Culture Commissioner. Further support fo its creation was provided at that time by Melina Mercouri, patroness of the I edition, and by Jack Lang, French Minister of Culture at the time and current President of the Prize. Since 2002, the Europe Theatre Prize has been recognised by the European Parliament and Council as a “European cultural interest organisation”, for its specific activities and its overall role.
After nine editions in Taormina, the Europe Theatre Prize took to the road, giving even greater impetus to its international aspect. Thus the X edition was held in Turin (supported and hosted by the city of Turin in collaboration with the Teatro Stabile, and presented as part of the special cultural programme for the Winter Olympics). Next, the XI and XII editions were held in Thassaloniki and the XIII edition in Wroclaw, Poland (as part of the celebration of the year declared “Grotowski Year” by UNESCO).
Continuing in this direction, the 2011 Europe Prize will once again be an important meeting place of international theatre. Given the glorious theatrical tradition of Saint Petersburg and of Russia, this XIV edition promises a wealth of prize-winners, conferences, shows, previews and other opportunities for cultural exchange. It is from this splendid city on the Baltic that any number of major artists and cultural movements emerged, their fame and influence soon spreading throughout Europe and the rest of the world. The magic of art, theatre, literature and poetry can still be felt today in the air of Saint Petersburg, with its dynamic contemporary cultural scene.
The Union of European Theatres is an associate and supporting body, a union which was sponsored by François Mitterrand and founded by Jack Lang and Giorgio Strehler, who strongly wanted to cooperate with ETP since the foundation of UTE. The International Association of Theatre Critics, the Instituto Internacional del Teatro del Mediterraneo, the International Theatre Institute UNESCO and the European Festivals Association are associate bodies.
The Jury of the XIV edition of the Europe Theatre Prize and of the XII edition of the Europe Prize Theatrical Realities met in Rome on 4 July 2010 to assign the prizes.
The Europe Theatre Prize (ETP) of 60,000 € is awarded to individuals or theatrical institutions (theatres, companies) that have contributed to the realisation of cultural events which have promoted understanding and the exchange of knowledge between peoples. The prize is awarded to the career and the winner is chosen for the whole of his artistic path among notable personalities of international theatre considered in all its different forms, articulations and expressions
This year, the XIV edition Prize was awarded to Peter Stein, icon of contemporary European theatre. Stein ranks among the most important creators of German and European theatre of the second half of the twentieth century, particularly during the creative surge of the 70s, for his monumental projects, often performed in unexpected venues. In 1970, he founded the Schaubühne Company in Berlin, featuring extraordinary actors such as Bruno Ganz and Edith Clever. The group performed provocative, unconventional productions that revolutionised the structure of the theatrical space. In addition to “rewriting” ancient and modern classics, Stein mounted new shows that fearlessly explored languages and issues that challenged the values of the time, and to this day continues experimenting with the language of theatre in his scrupulous, prolific manner. Bold examples of this approach are the memorable nine-hour production of Oresteia (1980), restaged in 1993 in a Russian version with the Red Army Company, and the monumental twenty-one-hour Faust, realised for the 2000 Expo in Hanover. Last but not least are the 2009 Demons project with Italian actors and Maddalena Crippa in the role of Varvara Petrovna Stravogina, and Oedipus at Colonus, presented with Klaus Maria Brandauer at the Salzburg Festival in 2010.
In deciding the award of the XII edition of the Europe Prize Theatrical Realities, the nominations put forward by the Council (made up of almost 300 experts on European theatre) and the members of the Jury in an exercise preceding the meeting were examined by the Jury.
The Jury’s choice fell upon artists who fulfil perfectly the dictates of Art. 3 of the Prize Regulations:
“ [...]Since its second edition, the Jury of EPTR has indicated that the Prize should be an opportunity for meeting and confrontation between different modes of expression of European theatre. […]”.
The Europe Prize Theatrical Realities (EPTR) has been awarded alongside the Europe Theatre Prize since its third edition. The Europe Prize Theatrical Realities is aimed at encouraging emerging trends and initiatives in European drama, considered in all its different forms, articulations and expressions. The choice should take account of the candidate’s complete work, of its innovative character and originality. The Prize may be awarded to a company, an artistic ensemble, a theatre, or a single artist.
The XII Europe Prize Theatrical Realities was awarded to the following artists (listed here in alphabetical order):
Viliam Dočolomanský, candidate since 2008 (Slovakia/Czech Republic), Katie Mitchell, candidate since 1999 (United Kingdom), Andrey Moguchiy, candidate since 2008 (Russia), Kristian Smeds, candidate since 2001 (Finland), Teatro Meridional, candidate since 2007 (Portugal) and Vesturport Theatre, candidate since 2007 (Iceland).
The Europe Prize Theatrical Realities was raised permanently from 20,000 to 30,000 Euros, as had been approved for the last edition. The sum shall be divided into equal parts.
After its conscientious preliminary work to familiarise itself with the candidates for the Europe Prize Theatrical Realities, the Jury also awarded geographical areas that had never before received such recognition. With this gesture, they opened a new phase for EPTR, a breakthrough expressly encouraged by the previous Jury meeting.
Furthermore, under Art. 7 of the Prize Regulations: “[…]A Special Prize may also be awarded by European institutions, the Association Europe Theatre Prize, ETP President or ETP Board of Directors, also after suggestion of the Jury or of the hosting country, to those personalities who have distinguished themselves for their commitment in combining at the highest level their own cultural and/or political experience with the European ideals and with those ones of peace and civil coexistence among peoples […]”.
Furthermore, the Jury of the XIV edition of the Europe Theatre Prize unanimously awarded a Special Prize (awarded to Melina Mercouri in the I edition and to Vaclav Havel in the VI edition, among others) to the legendary Russian director Yuri Petrovich Lyubimov for his undisputed artistic stature and decisive role, along with the Taganka Theatre, in the delicate phase of perestroika, which marked the transition of the Soviet Union to the Russia of today.
Lyubimov has experienced a bit of everything in his life, it would seem, from magnificent, hugely popular productions to a ban on the performance of his work, from triumph around the world to political persecution in his own country. Despite the silence of the press, his theatre was overrun with crowds of eager spectators. He emigrated from the Soviet Union, only to return laden with honours. Creator of dozens of unforgettable productions with exceptional actors, Lyubimov is a true symbol of modern twentieth-century theatre to many people. Indeed, his lifetime artistic work even contributed to the definitive attainment of freedom in Russia.
Finally, we wish to communicate that a press conference was held today in Saint Petersburg announcing the winners and the preliminary programme of the XIV edition of the Europe Theatre Prize.
11 October 2010