In 2013 Klaipėda hosted the first Young Theatre Days Festival. The need for young stage artists to share their professional experience with each other sparked the idea of the Fesival. The festival has grown over the ten years of its existence into a wide range of events and audience meetings, workshops, lectures and education. Every year Klaipėda Youth Theatre attracts a large number of creators and artists not only from Lithuania but also from abroad. The tenth anniversary festival will take place on 8-11 June and will invite artists and audiences to meet at the Old Market, Klaipėda.
The first year was dedicated to theatre collaboration, analysis of contemporary theatre methodologies and different schools. Klaipėda Youth Theatre, the theatre laboratory "Atviras ratas" and "No theatre" took part in the festival and performed their plays. V. Masalskis, A. Giniotis and V. Bareikis shared their experience and insights into different theatre schools with the creators and the audience. The lecturers from France (Bob Dantonel, director of Theatre la Griffon) and Great Britain (Michael Woodwood, actor, director and theatre educator) also gave lectures.
In the second year of the festival, the organisers continue to actively develop the idea of bringing together established or emerging theatre artists, as well as presenting to the audience the latest productions by young theatre artists in Lithuania. The festival is joined by a group of young critics who discuss each performance and encourage analysis of contemporary theatre.
Theme of the 2015 festival - Young Director. Festival was dedicated to spotting and celebrating young artists who are breaking standards. The festival features ten theatre teams presenting a dozen plays. For the first time, the festival programme includes Young Cinema Nights, introducing the audience to the younger generation of Lithuanian film directors.
The fourth year of the festival changes its format and, in addition to performances for the public and cinema events, creative workshops for theatre professionals are added. Over 4 days, 5 teams work on topical social issues and create performances in public spaces in Klaipėda city. With the new format of the festival, the organisers aim to use the creative connections in a practical way - by creating performances together and thus ensuring further cooperation in the future. The workshops are led by young directors Jean-Cyril Vadi (France), Nikolajus Zacharovas (Russia) and Lithuanians Jonas Tertelis, Loreta Vaskova and Gildas Aleksa. The teams are also joined by professional theatre critics who not only observe but also join the creative process. The performances for the audience take place for 4 days at Klaipėda Railway Station, Herkus Gallery, Clock Museum, Old Market and Culture Factory.
The fifth year of the festival continues to expand, stage designers and scenographers join the workshops. Participants work together on scenes from Joel Pommerat's play The Reunion of the Two Koreas, and public screenings are held at the Lighthouse Arena. The workshop is led by directors - A. Areima, K. Vilkas, B. Šarka, K. Gudmonaitė, Š. Datenis, K. Minkowski (Poland). All events are followed by discussions and debates with the audience.
In the autumn, a workshop with Hungarian director Árpád Schilling is also organised, during which a selected team of 20 actors learn about the director's working methods and use theatrical means to explore social themes.
This year, the creators are looking for inspirations/ themes in specially selected works by Lithuanian authors - texts, paintings and music. The six teams are formed to create a performance over two days based on the theme, and as the performances are created as independent performances, the audience is free to join or leave the screening whenever they wish. The following directors are participating in the workshop - Monika Klimaitė, Mantas Jančiauskas, Eglė Kižaitė, Povilas Makauskas, Aleksandras Špilevojus, Giedrė Kriaučionytė.
Young filmmakers are also joining the festival, making short films in a short period of time, just like theatre-makers. The premieres of the films take place in the Cinema Hall of the Culture Factory.
During the 7th year of the festival, the organisers are actively starting to look for partners abroad and have received close to a hundred applications from artists from various fields. Participants from 11 countries are invited to take part in workshops. A special tent city for the Young Theatre Days is being set up around the creative incubator Culture Factory, where artists showcase their performances. The workshops are led by Lithuanian and foreign directors Paulius Tamolė, Eglė Švedkauskaitė, Paulius Pinigis, Agnija Leonova, Jean-Cyril Vadi (France), Gea Gojak (Croatia) and Yasen Vasilev (Bulgaria).
The starting point for creative explorations is the verbal inspirations chosen by playwright Mindaugas Nasataravičius. The composer Nijolė Sinkevičiūtė is responsible for the selection of musical inspirations. The festival continues to offer performances, lectures, discussions and premieres of short films.
Due to the global pandemic, the festival has to be organised twice and instead of the traditional spring event, audiences and participants are invited to come to Klaipėda in August. However, the challenges do not stop the organisers from moving forward with the festival and for the first time the workshop is split into two programmes - LONG and SPRINT. The LONG programme brings together more experienced theatre professionals who work with one B throughout the week. Brecht's play "The Good Man from Cézanne". The groups are led by Kirill Glushaev and Paul Pinigis. The SPRINT programme includes participants who are coming to the festival for the first time or are newly graduated professionals. Their inspirations are the great vices and virtues of humanity. The workshop will be led by Greta Štiomer, Augustas Gornatkevičius and Uršulė Bartoševičiūtė. Although the festival organisers had to turn away participants from abroad due to the pandemic, the audience were still invited to come and watch the performances in the Civic Square, the John's Hill space and the Multifunctional Hall of the Culture Factory.
The ninth festival is divided into two phases, which are dedicated to different sides of the event - education and creation. In April, the JTD IMPRO workshop takes place, during which professional actors are introduced to the principles of improvisational theatre (led by K. Glušajevas). In August, participants are invited to create sketches for performances at workshops in the port city. The festival again attracts participants from abroad and Lithuania. The performances are directed by Antanas Obcarskas, Kotryna Siaurusaitytė, Elena Morar (Romania), Lina Židonytė, Jonas Kuprevičius, Stefan Prohorov (Bulgaria). The screenings take place at the Klaipėda Summer Stage, the Hof hangar and the Multifunctional Hall of the Culture Factory.