On 15 April, the 10th International Theatre Olympics officially kicked off with a series of opening events in Budapest, featuring a variety of events, artist productions, concerts and street theatre performances.
The flag was raised at the National Theatre on the banks of the Danube. At the ceremony, the artistic director of the event, the theatre’s CEO, said that the 10th International Theatre Olympics would now begin as a result of four years of preparatory work.
‘My dream and the dream of many of us is coming true’, said Attila Vidnyánszky. In his speech, he thanked all those who helped to make the event possible: the Organising Committee of the Theatre Olympics for winning the right to organise the event, the government for its support and the Prime Minister himself for his help.
He said that, as partners, more than 100 institutions are working together to make this dream a reality. He stressed that their aim was to ensure that the event was not just a celebration of a narrow theatre elite.
The programme of the opening event, which lasted until the evening, included the Pénzügyőr Orchestra, András Berecz, students from the Rippl-Rónai Art Institute in Kaposvár, the St. László Hussar Association of Martonvásár and the Fehérvár Hussars.
The event featured performances by the SZFE orchestra, Dánielfy and László Földes Hobo. Street theatre performances were presented, and the members of the Déryné Company awaited the audience with an interactive giant theatre company from the Karzat Theatre.
At 18:30 on the Somlay Artúr promenade, the barge, chosen as the central symbol of the 10th Theatre Olympics, set off towards the National Theatre: the 25-metre-long barge installation was carrying the co-organising theatres and festivals of the three-month national programme of the festival.
At the opening evening, Attila Vidnyánszky was joined by Theodoros Terzopulos, founding president of the International Committee of the Theatre Olympics, who gave a speech.
Tamás Szarka and his orchestra, the Hungarian National Dance Ensemble, the Bagossy Brothers Company and Hyperkarma performed. On the Danube embankment, until 19:00, the audience could see street theatre productions by several foreign companies, joined by eight Hungarian companies.
At 16:30, László Simet Jr., an artist-artist, crossed the Danube balancing on a rope. The event began with a programme by the Danubia Orchestra.
The 10th International Theatre Olympics will feature 400 companies from 58 countries, 750 productions and 7,500 performers. The programmes will take place in almost 100 venues across the country until 1 July.
Special performances, theatre, dance, puppetry, children’s and youth festivals, amateur and student theatre gatherings, exhibitions and professional programmes will take place across the country. There will also be performances from Italy, Germany, Switzerland and England, and productions by companies from the Republic of South Africa, China, Japan and Mexico.
More than 20 festivals have joined the Olympics, including this year’s jubilee VéNégy Festival, the Győr National Theatre’s Danube Festival, the Karinthy Theatre’s Storytelling Festival and the IX Madách International Theatre Meeting (MITEM), organised by the National Theatre, which is the central event of the Olympics.