THE NATION-WIDE festival of contemporary drama celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2014. The festival, called Nová Dráma (New Drama), takes place between May 12 and 17 and will offer nine plays within a competition, two Hungarian performances within the “Hungarian Focus” (as well as screenings of two films by Hungarian directors and a lecture on documentary theatre) and a host of accompanying events.

“It could be said that the leitmotif connecting all competing and non-competing performances is identity and grappling with the past, and also capturing modern life in Slovakia,” Miroslav Švoňava of the organising Theatre Institute told The Slovak Spectator.

Theatres vying for the main award are the drama section of the Slovak National Theatre (two pieces), The Slovak Chamber Theatre from Martin, the Astorka Theatre from Bratislava, Pôtoň Theatre – Centre for Art and Creativity from the municipality of Bátovce, the Košice State Theatre, the Prešov National Theatre, the Puppet Theatre on the Crossroads from Banská Bystrica and Bratislava’s SkRAT theatre. These were selected by a team of theatre reviewers and theoreticians consisting of Elena Knopová and Zuzana Uličianska and dramatic advisor Marek Godovič.

The festival programme offers the most outstanding pieces of contemporary drama premiered within the last year in theatres around Slovakia. Interest in the festival continues to grow.

“For the first time, theatre experts from Europe contacted us in advance, six months ahead, saying that they would very much like to visit our festival, as they had heard about it,” festival director Vladislava Fekete told the SITA newswire, adding that getting Slovakia’s current drama to European festivals is one of New Drama’s goals.

“It is a good sign that we have been seeing in the last five to seven years that theatres are increasingly staging Slovak plays, and not those written a hundred years ago, but rather those reflecting actual events,” festival programme manager Dária Fojtíková Fehérová told the TASR newswire.

The selection of the best Slovak theatrical works staged between March 1, 2013 and the end of January 2014 will be presented in several venues in Bratislava.

“All performances of the festival have English subtitles,” Švoňava informed The Slovak Spectator. “As for the accompanying programme, we secured simultaneous interpreting of the conference ‘New Dramaturgy, New Dramatuge’ , of discussions with the authors of the competing pieces on May 14, 15 and 17; and also the presentation of the documentary theatre PanoDrama on May 15. The workshop ‘A Theatrical Break from Theatre’ on May 16 at 14:00 will be held in English.” Thus, the festival offers a unique chance to get an overview of what is happening in Slovak drama.

The full festival programme can be found, also in English, at theatre.sk in the “News” section.