Ms Parulskiene will be making the journey from London in order to watch a performance by the young Lithuanian theatre group, Valiant Theatre Company, who are performing in Wolverhampton as part of the Everybody Dance Now festival. The city is also holding a reception in the Mayoral Parlour to welcome the dignitary and the young Lithuanians.
Valiant Theatre is travelling from Sialuiai, Lithuania, to Wolverhampton in order to take part in the international celebration of social dancing, Everybody Dance Now, which is being held by Wolverhampton’s own Central Youth Theatre (CYT). They are performing their self-devised show, ‘The Doors’, at the Arena Theatre, Wulfruna Street, on Thursday 4th August.
Just as CYT have created shows based on local dancing memories, Valiant Theatre have spent the last year exploring the 60s and 70s.
The group says, “We were trying to understand the experiences of our parents’ youth, when Lithuania was under the control of the Soviet Union. Inspired by music that they listened to – Doors, T-Rex, The Beatles – and searching through family histories we wanted to find out how Soviet culture has influenced our own sense of nationality. At first we thought the research would be quite dull, but soon the stories started to shine through. Our play shows that human beauty can shine in any kind of environment”.
CYT are very pleased to have Valiant Theatre participating in the Everybody Dance Now festival, as they have had strong links with other groups from Lithuania in the past. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, when it was part of the former Soviet Union, they undertook an exchange with theatre students from the Academic Theatre Vilnius, and staged a production of Jean Anouilh’s ‘Antigone’. In 1990 CYT hosted the students and director Jonas Vaitkus in Wolverhampton and took their work to the Edinburgh Festival where the group won a Fringe First.
The exchange work with Lithuania broke down after the occupation by Russian troops in January 1991, but we have remained in contact. A series of pen-pal letters during the 1990s led to the performance ‘Letters from Lithuania’ which highlighted the different experiences of the young people living in different countries.
CYT director, and festival co-ordinator, Jane Ward says, “We are so pleased to be working with a Lithuanian group once again, especially since their show is about such an important time in Lithuanian history. It is a special honour to host a visit from the Lithuanian Cultural Attaché as it shows the importance of the international work that we are doing”.
The group are half way through the successful Everybody Dance Now festival, an international celebration of social dancing, which has seen performances by six European theatre companies in Wolverhampton city centre. Everybody Dance Now is part of Dancing for the Games, which is inspired by London 2012 and part of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands. It has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as Arts Council England and Advantage West Midlands.
For more information please contact Jessica Collings on: 07912 647362
Or email: Jessica@centralyouththeatre.org