12:00 - 17:00


What can puppets offer for the 21st century?

Dr. Anna Ivanova-Brashinskaya, director, educator, producer, researcher in the field of puppetry (Finland) 

Puppet theatre is one of the fastest growing art forms in Europe. Not only puppeteers but also contemporary dance, cirque nouveau and visual theatre makers are expanding their stage language, inviting a variety of “manipulated images” onto the stage. Non-human actors seem ideal in conveying the most humanistic artistic messages to the audience...

To learn from the shadows. The epistemic status and function of theatre in Plato's Cave and contemporary Latvia

Sofija Anna Kozlova, philosopher, publicist, philosophy magazine "Tvērums" (Latvia) 

The idea of theatrum mundi, or the Great Theater of the World, which has its origins in Plato's allegory of the cave and consequences in the post-truth Instagram reality, is generally well known as a metaphorical comparison and incorporated into both Christian and postmodern understandings of the world, often to illustrate the ignorance and powerlessness of people before God or the Capital. Following the assumption put forward by Plato scholar Verity Harte, I argue that in the first Great Theater of the World - Plato's allegory of the cave - the theatre offers a more accurate depiction of the world than commonly assumed. Although the viewers recognize themselves and the world only by the shadows, analysis of their linguistic practice makes it evident that shadows reveal to them the true differences of things. The conclusion invites us to re-evaluate what is the epistemic function of theatre today and what world it creates.

Dialogues with Material

Doc. Sodja Zupanc-Lotker, PhD (University of Prague, Czech Republic)

In this talk I will speak how dramaturgy is built if it does not build on a play and a narrative. How does one develop material into structure, process, and gesture of a performance? What is the experience of the audience in this situation? Working with the tradition of Czech puppeteers, where the material, usually wood, is the leading element, I will unfold dramaturgical strategies of ´working from the material´. I will investigate these strategies not only as productive for the creative process but also as a basis for dynamic relationships with the audience, and finally a healthy way to have a creative dialogue with the environment.

Mixed Media and Contemporary Puppet Theatre

Žilvinas Vingelis, founder and artistic director at visual experiments theatre KOSMOS THEATRE, Lecturer at Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre

The various forms of the puppetry practice are increasingly being reborn not only in contemporary visual theatre, digital theatre, transmedial theatre and/or other performing art forms, but also in a variety of contemporary multimedia contexts, such as film, interactive installations, virtual and augmented reality, animation, computer games and more. The lecture will talk about the alternatives to puppetry and the broad context in which puppet theatre miracles unexpectedly can be born far outside the usual puppet theatre walls.

Not all artists should struggle

Antonio Bechtle, Creative Director&Partner in BM Boutique (Peru)

Most artists struggle when selling their art, because the best way to sell something is to adapt it to the needs of the consumer, and they don’t want to compromise their work in order to make it more “sellable”. But there are some tricks and other actions that can help to solve this problem.

New Riga Circus. Experience story

Māra Pāvula, Riga Circus CEO (Latvia)

Circus is associated in our consciousness with countless stereotypes, shaped not only by our experience, but also by the representation of circus in cinema and literature. However, this image is very distant from the reality of contemporary circus. How can we change the perception of this genre of art that is so deeply rooted? Are existing stereotypes an obstacle or, on the contrary, a help in creating a new narrative?  The Riga Circus team has been working on these questions since 2017, when work began on the implementation of a new strategy for circus arts, involving conceptual changes not only in infrastructure, but also in artistic content and organisational function. 

10:00 - 16:00


Theatre, Ecology and Sustainability. What Do We Care About?

Kitija Balcare, theatre critic and researcher, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia.

As ecological threats grow, so does the need for changes in culture sector, including the performing arts. Theatre as a practice of collective imagination today must seek answers not only to the question of who we are, but also where we are, deepening ecological awareness among spectators. To talk about ecology in theatre, or the relationship between humans and the environment, also requires an ethically created and responsibly designed art form, rooted in the principles of sustainability. Eco theatre is a way to talk to the audience about the current environmental emergencies, both in content and form, and do it in an inclusive way. Because caring for the environment is also caring for people. This will be a story how to take a step towards sustainability in the theatre, being aware of your ecological footprint.

The stage as a safe place

Jolanta Armande, a clinical psychologist, consultant and organisational trainer (Latvia, Belgium)

Theatre as a safe place for everyone - what does it really mean? And how to combine it with the desire to be not a sterile safe but rather a courageously safe place? One where audiences are encouraged to step outside their comfort zone and explore new, perhaps even previously unconscious parts of themselves and life.
A safe space is necessary for brave things - difficult conversations, relationships, self-expression, and curiosity. So, in this talk we will talk about how to combine both safety and courage.

Towards eco-creativity in theatre and performance design

Dr. Tanja Beer, ecological designer and community artist (Australia)

This presentation will investigate how eco-creative processes can be pursued across traditional and expanded performance making contexts. Eco-creativity is a key concept of ecoscenography which encourages theatre artists to think beyond linear, resource-intensive modes of production and operation, to fuse artistic innovation with ecological transformation. Drawing on a range of global case studies, we will explore how eco-creativity can be harnessed across all aspects of scenography, including set, costume, puppetry, lighting and sound design. These examples and insights will demonstrate the opportunities for re-imagining performance making processes for a climate changed world.

Access to theatre. How to make it accessible to everyone?

Santa Remere, Artistic Director of LJTI, Curator of "Homo Novus" (Latvia)

The word "access" means both moving closer, getting to a place, and gradually, overcoming difficulties, getting to know or understand something, and gaining the trust of another. There are still many groups in Latvia who do not have "access" to culture in all these senses, and it is the theatre, which supposedly tries to create a dialogue with the society of its time, which has for a long time spoken only to the chosen few.
The New Theatre Institute of Latvia, which since 1995 has also been creating the International Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts "Homo Novus", has been constantly trying to break the preconceptions and prejudices about where, what and who theatre can be. The festival's creators have worked with diverse communities and outside traditional theatre spaces for many years, but only in the last four years has this been a deliberate priority.
In this section, we look at the changes and benefits of taking a strong stance on accessibility, and the steps that can be taken with limited resources.

How objects help us to talk about "taboo" topics?

Ishmael Falke (Finland), visual and object theatre artist, playwright, director, actor

In this lecture we will observe our civilization as a symbiosis between humans and objects and see how the use of objects in theatre is essential for approaching politically and emotionally challenging themes. How can we stay political yet avoid falling into taboo traps with the help of the non-human actors on stage? Puppetry has a long tradition of expressing the forbidden by allocating the speaker voice to the non-human. In this lecture we will examine how this traditional skill can be extended to contemporary theatrical means. How do the object and material narratives function as tools for re-defining human history, ethics, and values.

To meet another being. Theatre in the eco-crisis

Krista Burāne (Latvia) is a documentary theatre and film director, author of interdisciplinary art projects

During the performance, we will seek answers to the question of how the role of theatre is changing in times of ecological crisis, what changes in the audience's consciousness are possible when documentality and participation are chosen as artistic means, and stories centred on non-human beings - the non-human representatives of nature - are chosen as content.
Krista will analyse her experience of creating performances centred on the relationship between humans and nature like "Nocturne", "From Then on the Trees No Longer Speak" and "All the Birds Sing Beautifully".
Full conference agenda