AMONG theatre festivals in Slovakia, a new tradition has been launched: the Slovak National Theatre (SND) is starting the so-called ‘zero year’ of Eurokontext, a biennial festival of European theatre offering opera, ballet and drama. Between June 5 and 24, 17 theatres from 10 countries (including Slovakia) will offer 37 performances.

The SND sought to connect to two earlier theatre festivals (one of them called Eurothalia) that used to take place in Bratislava, the theatre management announced, but this time not focusing on just one genre, but combining all three that are staged in the national theatre. Accompanying events include debates, workshops and exhibitions.

The focus of the ensembles presented is on the Visegrad Four (V4) countries: Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

“Eurokontext.sk is an international festival of theatres of V4 and selected partners from the European Theatre Convention (ETC) connected by the power of the subject, the power of the word, the power of the progressive mainstream,” the SITA newswire quoted the theatre.

The participating theatres include Czech ones from Prague, Brno and Ostrava, the National Theatre from Warsaw, theatres from Budapest and Györ, as well as others from Vienna, Berlin, London, Zagreb and elsewhere. Slovak performances offer also works shown in the cities of Košice and Banská Bystrica.

One US production will also take place: although authored and performed by Slovak The Palissimo Company, or rather by Pavol Zuštiak and Jaro Viňarský, The Painted Bird modern dance/body theatre was created in New York, where it also received the Bessie Award, a top accolade among dance prizes.

There will also be stagings from the host theatre, including the recently premiered opera The Queen of Spades (Piková Dáma) and a contemporary dance piece inspired by Shakespeare’s the Tempest. Drama pieces will have Slovak and English subtitles.

From June 5 music and dance performances will take place, while between June 13 and 24, drama will be added to the programme. On June 24, the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre from London will perform Hamlet.

Coinciding with the Eurokontext.sk festival, the Györ Ballet theatre will organise a dance festival of its own in this Hungarian town near the Slovak border, between June 16 and
22 (magyartanczfestival.hu, gyoribalett.hu).

The full programme of the SND-organised festival can be found at eurokontext.sk website, also in English, and tickets can be purchased online.