In 1993, a group led by Constantin Chiriac, actor at the “Radu Stanca” National Theatre in Sibiu, decided to offer the city a theatre Festival. An action exclusively driven by the love for the city, love for theatre and the desire to offer the community a landmark, a reason to be proud and joyful.
It was March and there were snow drifts. For many who had never seen snow but in movies, Romania seemed a fascinating country. The guests carried garlic in their pockets, to protect themselves from vampires. However, the great performances of the Romanian theatre and of the theatres invited from abroad gave the Festival the quality of a remarkable event in the international cultural landscape. Every year, the Festival grew and grew, gaining even bigger proportions, as the number of the participating countries reached 68, in 2005, as compared to eight, in the second edition. No less than 2.000 participants were present at Sibiu in 2005, preparing the cultural agenda for the Sibiu European Capital of Culture Programme - 2007. The year 2007 marks an exceptional edition of the Festival: in recognition of this event’s contribution to the title of European Capital of Culture, together with Luxembourg and the Greater Region, this special edition brought together more than 2.500 guests from 70 countries.
Internationally renowned personalities, artists, directors, ambassadors, premiers and presidents were present at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival throughout the years. The fact that the biggest celebration of the performing arts takes place in a small town in Transylvania attracts, now as in the past, tens of thousands of culture enthusiasts, in a pilgrimage that fills the city of Sibiu with an effervescent joy. Streets, plazas, cathedrals, churches, parks, fortresses, industrial halls and theatre halls are all jam-packed with guests coming from all over the world to enjoy this festivity. Almost a tradition for a few years now, the news that the Festival starts with all the tickets already sold is not a surprise for anyone anymore, as well as the fact that the accommodation venues in the city are, too, completely sold, way before the first day of the Festival. It is a sign of normality, a confirmation of a fact: culture changes communities, it brings people together and it can modify, fundamentally for the better and for always, the history and the architecture of a city, as in Sibiu the derelict industrial halls were transformed into a real Culture Factory.
Today, the whole world acknowledges with great appreciation that, for ten days, during the International Theatre Festival, the World’s Cultural Capital is in Romania, at Sibiu.
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FITS goes beyond being a celebration of the arts, it blends perfectly theater, dance, circus, film, musical, opera, books, conferences, exhibitions, performances, music and street shows.Theater
From the very first edition of the festival, Sibiu saw the presence of some of the most representative international theatre companies, directors, actors, scenographers, which led to a transformation not only in terms of the community’s openness to other mentalities, worlds, and cultures, but also to a professionalization of the Romanian performing arts artists and students invited to Sibiu to perform and participate at workshops, conferences, etc. Throughout its 27 editions, the festival has presented over 1,500 indoor performances (theatre, dance, circus, music, opera, musicals, concerts), of which more than 1,000 theatre shows.
Famous world-class or young directors with a huge potential have contributed to the notoriety of the festival: Rimas Tuminas, Andriy Zholdak, Hanoch Levin, Lev Erenburg, Eugenio Barba, Yuri Kordonsky, Pippo Delbono, Eimuntas Nekrosius, Masahiro Yasuda, Levan Tsuladze, Lars Norén, Peter Brook, Armin Petras, Joël Pommerat, Declan Donnellan, Hideki Noda, Ivan Vîrîpaev, Peter Stein, Wajdi Mouawad, Krystian Lupa, Lev Dodin, Angélica Liddell, Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, Data Tavadze, Kazuyoshi Kushida, Yoshi Oida, Monika Strzepka, Christoph Marthaler, Thomas Ostermeier, Luk Perceval, Jarosław Fret, Alvis Hermanis, Tim Robbins, Tang Shu-Wing, Philippe Genty, Akihiro Yamamoto, Jernej Lorenci, Robert Wilson, Hideki Noda, Eric Lacascade, Lisa Peterson, Eirik Stubø, Timofey Kulyabin .
Renowned Romanian directors have participated at the festival every year, throughout various editions: Silviu Purcărete, Victor Ioan Frunză, Cătălina Buzoianu, David Esrig, Alexandru Dabija, Mihai Măniuțiu, Răzvan Mazilu, Alexandru Darie, Alexander Hausvater, Miriam Răducanu, Radu Beligan, Chris Simion, Felix Alexa, Gábor Tompa, Anca Bradu, Alexandra Badea, Radu Afrim, Florin Piersic, Jr., Radu Alexandru Nica, Gavriil Pinte, Vlad Massaci, Cristi Juncu, Andrei Șerban, Theodor Cristian Popescu, Lia Bugnar, Ada Milea, Bobi Pricop, Bogdan Georgescu, Eugen Jebeleanu, Gigi Căciuleanu, Andrei and Andreea Grosu, Eugen Gyemant, Cătălin Ștefănescu, Radu Jude, Vlad Cristache, Botond Nagy, Nona Ciobanu.Dance
Although the name of FITS still includes the word “theatre”, from the first editions, it has become a true performing arts festival. The need to bring the audience not only new forms of theatre, but also other art forms, determined the organizers to invite several types of dance performances – contemporary, traditional (flamenco, kathak, kabuki, butoh, noh, dervish, African, Balinese), hip-hop, flexing. Some remarkable contemporary or traditional dance choreographers have left their mark on the history of the festival: Karine Ponties, Amir Kolben, Gigi Căciuleanu, Adi Sha'al, Nicole Mossoux, Patrick Bonté, Lia Rodrigues, Marie Chouinard, Noa Wertheim, Răzvan Mazilu, Thierry Smits, Barak Marshall, Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak, Sasha Waltz, Alain Buffard, Thierry Smits, Paco Peña, Rocío Molina, Olivier Dubois, Ohad Naharin, María Pagés, Jesus Carmona, Brenda Angiel, Ziya Azazi, Jin Xing, Linda Kapetanea, Aditi Mangaldas, Inbal Pinto și Avshalom Pollak, Yamamoto Akihiro, Damien Jalet, Hervé Koubi, Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray, Peter Sellars, Gregory Maqoma, Itzik Galili, Eun-Me Ahn, Michèle Noiret, Luca Silvestrini.Circus and contemporary circus
Ever since the first editions, the festival programme comprised outdoor and indoor circus shows, which enjoyed great success. Some of the best-known companies invited to Sibiu are Cirque Baroque, Les Lendemains – din Franța, Circa Contemporary Circus, Les Parfaits Inconnus, Les 7 Doigts de la Main și Machine de Cirque – din Canada, Circa Contemporary Circus și Gravity & Other Myths, Strut & Fret Production House – din Australia, Lady Cocktail și Cie Carré Curieux, Cirque Vivant! – din Belgia, Compagnia Finzi Pasca, Martin Zimmermann, Compagnia Baccalà și David Dimitri – din Elveția, Kallo Collective din Finlanda, Lurrak – din Franța.Musical
FITS has hosted several musical performances, signed both by international directors (Pierre Notte), and by directors from Romania or originating from Romania (Răzvan Mazilu and Cosmin Chivu).Opera
The companies that have made up the FITS programme over the years include: Yue Opera from China, Hangzhou Yue Opera Theatre and Shaoxing City Performance CO., or Vuyani Dance Theatre from South Africa.Music
Over the 25 editions of FITS, outdoor music concerts, especially those presented in Sibiu's Big Square or Small Square, have brought together the biggest number of non-paying spectators. Some of the national and international artists that have performed on the festival stage are: Misia, Mamselle Ruiz, Vama (trupă), Holograf, Delia & Band, Imperial Kikiristan, Șuie Paparude, Vunk, Loredana Groza, Smiley, Fanfara de la Cozmești, Voltaj, Vama Veche, Iris, Zdob și Zdub, Direcția 5, Cargo. In time, the music and concert section of FITS focused more and more on other genres (fado, gospel, jazz, organ concerts) and new band and artist names, such as Kadebostany, DeStaat, KillAson, Youngr, Adrian Naidin.Concerts in churches and historical sites
Through the editions of FITS, the churches in Sibiu and in the surrounding area (Mărginimea Sibiului) have hosted a series of fado, gospel, organ, opera and other types of concerts, held by Romanian and international artists and bands, such as Weinberger Blues Machine, Isabelle Roy, Felix Dima Quarteto, Celina Ramsauer, Max Vandervorst, Cantabile, André Mergenthaler, Ursula Philippi, Orchestra Bibescu, Marius Mihalache, Matthias Anton Quartett, Mariachi Figueroa, Kleztory, Mandinga, Stockholm Lisboa Project, Shaun Davey, Ensemble Renaissance, Grigore Leșe, Francesco Agnello, Grupul Vocal Acapella, IDMC Gospel Choir, Compagnie Lyrique Corse, Llarena “Michito”, Cantabile – The London Quartet, The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices, Maria Berasarte, Sanda Weigl, Howard Gospel Choir, Group TAGO & AtoBIZ Ltd., Kurrende Choir from Tübingen & Sibiu State Philharmonics Orchestra & the Sibiu Bach Choir, SoNoRo, Fado Violado, Ana Sofia Varela, Adrian Naidin Quartet, Jorge Da Rocha, Cristiano de Sousa, Liviu Holender, Fiona Pollak Parvathy Baul. From the 24th edition (9-18 June 2017), the FITS programme also extended to Transylvanian fortified churches, thus adding a new dimension to the festival, by exploiting the Romanian cultural heritage and raising the profile of renovated Transylvanian organs.Street performances
For a quarter of a century, more than 500 street companies have performed in various outdoor spaces in Sibiu. Among the most important names are Teatr Osmego Dnia, Biuro Podróży, Neighbourhood Watch Stilts International, DAH Teater, Teatrul Masca, the Brass Band from Cozmești, Abracadabra Foundation, Osadia, Aktionstheater Pan.Optikum, Generik Vapeur, Compagnie Transe Express, Faber Teater, Compagnie Malabar, Compagnie Carabosse, Compagnie Oposito, Xarxa, Les Goulus, Plasticiens Volants, Aérosculpture, Teatr KTO, Ljud Company, La Salamandre, Carros de Foc, Bash Street Theatre, Sarruga Produccions, International Show Parade, Close-Act Theatre, Bilbobasso, Theater Titanick, David Dimitri, Cirq'ulation Locale, Cie. Faï, Kitonb Project, AAINJAA, Cie. Woest, Muare Experience & Duchamp Pilot, Cie Remue Ménage, Teatro tascabile di Bergamo, Planète Vapeur, Geschwister Weisheit, Teatro dei Venti, Architects of Air.Heritage performances
Heritage performances have a special place in the programme of theatre shows. These performances created in Sibiu throughout the years have been highly appreciated by national and international audiences, as part of them have been included in each edition of FITS: “Metamorphoses”, “Faust”, “Waiting for Godot”, “The Scarlet Princess”, “A Streetcar Named Popescu” and “The Cioran Temptation”.Aplauze Magazine is a part of each edition.
The publication is created in collaboration with professors and students from the Schools of Letters and Theatre Studies within the “Lucian Blaga” University of Sibiu, the “Babeș-Bolyai” University of Cluj-Napoca and the Bucharest National University of Theatre and Film, as well as students from universities outside Romania. This magazine aims to function as a performing arts review laboratory (performance reviews, interviews, cultural journal, event reports, presentations), to contribute to the festival’s artistic dialogue platform. Aplauze Magazine is distributed free of charge in several festival venues; it is also available for viewing and downloading on the festival website.Associated structures and special events
The FITS Volunteer Programme
is perhaps the biggest educational programme based on selection, volunteering, and training in the field of performing arts and cultural management. Each year, about 500 volunteers from all over the world, trained and distributed according to their personal and professional preferences, are involved in the organization and unfolding of FITS. Besides the local and national volunteer selection, every year, the Volunteer Programme also includes international volunteers. This international endeavour began in 2005, thus creating a community of over 200 volunteers from countries such as: Bulgaria, Canada, South Korea, Iran, Japan, France, Georgia, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Turkey, and Hungary. To recruit them, FITS collaborates with a series of partners, such as European Capitals of Culture or Eu-Japan Fest. Through the latter, over the ten years of partnership, more than 130 Japanese youngsters have come to Sibiu and contributed to the organization of the festival.Sibiu Performing Arts Market
is a structure associated to FITS, that aims to offer a chance to all artists, cultural operators, performing arts institutions or cultural networks to meet relevant world producers. Since the first edition organized in 1997, the Sibiu Performing Arts Market developed into a cultural network connecting festivals and artists, independent companies or state institutions in the field of performing arts. Every year, more than 300 participants all over the world, representing various cultural organizations (arts management agencies, NGOs, public institutions, independent companies, etc.), meet in Sibiu to establish connections and start possible future partnerships. More information about how you can attend the Arts Market, the dates and theme for 2021 are available here, in the dedicated section
.Sibiu Walk of Fame
is a project dating since 2013, when the management of FITS and of the “Radu Stanca” National Theatre proposed to the City Hall and the Sibiu Local Council the creation of a Walk of Fame in Cetății Park, an alley located between the oldest theatre in Romania (Thalia Hall in Sibiu) and the “Radu Stanca” National Theatre in Sibiu. The first figures to receive a star during the 20th edition (7 16 June 2013) were Ariane Mnouchkine, Declan Donnellan, Eugenio Barba, Silviu Purcărete, George Banu, Kanzaburo Nakamura XVIII. The entire array of stars is listed in the dedicated section
.Therme Forum – Theater and architecture
Since the 25th anniversary edition (8-17 June 2018), the FITS organizers thought it useful to set up a section dedicated to a forum on the needs of the community and of the built and urban environment in relation to the new requirements of the world of performing arts. For three days, representatives of important performing arts international institutions (Joe Melillo – Brooklyn Academy of Arts, Andrzej Kosendiak – National Forum of Music, Annette Mees – Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Constantin Chiriac – FITS), as well as world-class architects (Nils Fischer – Zaha Hadid Architects, Andrew Bromberg – Aedas International, Maximilian and Daniel Zielinski – Foster and Partners, Jean-Guy Lecat – Studio JG Lecat, Kengo Kuma – Kuma and Associates, Louis Becker – Henning Larsen, Eric Bunge – nArchitects, Jason Flanagan – Flanagan Lawrence I Architects), discussed the theatre experience of the future from the perspective of architecture, programming, technology, and the evolution of the communities. At the same time, the topics approached were aimed at disseminating the role of iconic architecture, of brand identity in relation to the community, of the future influencing the flexibility, the permeability and the relationship to the community, as well as the role of the built environment in shaping visitor experience. (details)Conferences and seminars
The artists who come to FITS are invited to have talks with performing arts critics and experts, such as George Banu, Octavian Saiu or Cătălin Ștefănescu, on the role of their art or of performing arts and cultural management in society. Throughout the festival history, several figures of the Romanian and international stage have talked to the festival audiences: Jonathan Mills, Pawel Potoroczyn, Mircea Dinescu, Sorin Alexandrescu, Jan Klata, Krystian Lupa, Neil LaBute, Peter Stein, Pippo Delbono, Wajdi Mouawad, Roman Dolzhansky, Tim Robbins, Eugenio Barba, Evegeny Mironov, Jaroslaw Fret, Luk Perceval, Thomas Ostermeier, Vincent Baudriller, Irina Margareta Nistor, Ioan Holender, Akihiro Yamamoto, Christophe Sermet, Marcel Iureș, Rimas Tuminas, Robert Wilson, Vasile Șirli, Ada Solomon, David Baile, Ohad Naharin, Radu Jude, Alexandru Dabija, Tang Shu Wing, Cristian Mungiu, Isabelle Huppert, Eugenio Barba, Nicola Savarese, Ioan-Aurel Pop, Jean Michel Ribes, Sever Voinescu, Denis O’Hare, Stan Lai.Book launches
For 27 years, the FITS collection has launched over 50 publications, including studies, essays, albums, and anthologies on artists, performing arts history, arts, management, contemporary theatre plays, marketing and cultural management. As part of the studies and essays, the festival has published a series of books by authors such as: George Banu, Eugenio Barba, Augusto Boal, Luc Bondy, Michael Chekhov, John Russell Brown, Marina Davydova, Pippo Delbono, Maria M. Delgado, Nikolai Mihailovici Gorceakov, Thomas Ostermeier, Iulia Popovici, Olivier Py, Cristian Radu, Dan Rebellato, Nicola Savarese, Bruno Tackels, Matei Vișniec, Noel Witts.Play-readings and radiophonic theatre
Since the 1997 edition, FITS has also been editing the Anthology of plays presented in the Play-Reading section. Contemporary plays by Romanian and international playwrights are published in both an international language, and Romanian. Most of these plays are presented as play-readings or even full-fledged performances.Film
The film section has been established for a better dissemination of the works of the artists no longer active in performing arts, such as Jerzy Grotowski, Tadeusz Kantor or Liviu Ciulei, as well as to discover, through documentaries, the works and lives of directors and choreographers who left a mark on the contemporary destiny of performing arts, such as Peter Brook, Ariane Mnouchkine, Pippo Delbono, Robert Wilson, Ohad Naharin.Specialized workshops
Part of the non-formal training and formal education offered by FITS comes from the possibility to take part in the festival’s specialized workshops. These workshops focus on dramatic writing methods (Paul Godfrey, Neil LaBute), commedia dell’arte (Dean Gilmour), noh and kabuki theatre (Fujita Asaya, Yasuda Masahiro), movement and pantomime (Stichting Clown & Comedie), directing (Irina Solomon), scenography (Dragoș Buhagiar), choreography, improvisations Ezzeddine Gannoun), voice and speaking (Janet B. Rodgers, Thom Jones), integrated voice (Liz Eckert), devising theatre (Benjamin May), mask technique, adapting a space to the present-day theatrical process (Jean Guy-Lecat), theatre criticism (Ilinca Todoruț, Alexandra Pâzgu), solving movement in the stage space (Gelabert Azzopardi, Aditi Mangaldas, Amir Kolben, Nelson Fernandez), creating a one-man show (Adam Lazarus), Meyerhold’s biomechanics (Elena Kuzina), Argentinian tango (Eugenia Usandivara and Leo Calvelli), unconventional acting (Kym Moore), Stanislavskian theatre (Andreas Manolikakis), Michael Chekhov's character development method (Elena Kuzina), backstage of fiction (Eugenio Barba), principles of the Japanese noh classic theatre (Akihiro Yamamoto).Exhibitions and the visual art platform
As with the film and documentary section, certain performing arts artists (such as Roswitha Hecke, Tadeusz Kantor, Jerzy Grotowski, Doina Levintza, Dragoș Buhagiar, Lia Manțoc, Silviu Purcărete, Radu Afrim, Kazuyoshi Kushida, Nic Ularu) are also present through exhibitions of photography, set design elements and so on. Moreover, we organize exhibitions by local, national, and international plastic artists, such as Roswitha Hecke, Elke Traue, Mihai Tymoshenko, Neculai Păduraru, Krzysztof Dydo, Lina Herschel, Lucien Samaha, Marcel Chirnoagă, Ștefan Câlția, Ulyana Tymoshenko, Asghar Khatibzadeh, H.R. Giger. In 2013, FITS and the “Radu Stanca” National Theatre proposed that artist Dan Perjovschi created and coordinated a Vertical Newspaper on the wall of the national theatre, which has reached the sixth edition. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the festival and of the Centenary of modern Romania, Dan Perjovschi, the “Radu Stanca” National Theatre and FITS continued this collaboration through an artistic installation made of magnets.Book fair
Ever since the 2012 edition, FITS, in collaboration with the Sibiu Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, has organized a book fair in Sibiu, in which relevant publishers in Romania present over 4,000 books per edition.