Fans of performing arts can mark their calendars on 18–23 August. The organisers of the international festival “ConTempo” prepared a 6-day programme with 28 events in Kaunas and Kaunas district. This year’s performing arts experience is not just for those who will go to the events purposefully. Some of the performances will merge into the daily life of the city and surprise everyone in unexpected places.

There were some challenges during the preparations for the second festival, initiated by the project “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022”. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the organisers of the two programmes announced earlier had to merge their shows into one. Some events had to be canceled. Nevertheless, the programme not only was not reduced but rather extended.

“This year’s festival is like the greatest adventure. Despite all possible interference, we have prepared a fantastic programme. Not only premieres, amazing free programmes await but also outstanding projects such as a modern opera “Alpha” and the star of the festival Laura Murphy (UK). They deserve a presentation at the best international festivals. I want you to pay special attention to the greatest events of the festival. When buying tickets to these events, you will contribute to the excellent free programme. This programme will be available for the audience in the most unexpected places”, says the Manager of the festival Gintarė Masteikaitė.

Modern opera is taking place in a hangar, the theatre – in a parking lot and an office

One of the performances of the “ConTempo” programme that requires the most preparation is the comic opera “Alpha”, taking place in Kaunas for the first time. The work of the famous producers of the modern opera “Operomania” combines opera and comic genre. It will be presented to the audience, not in the regular hall but in the 800-square-meter industrial hangar Business Centre “Nordic”.

The urban scenery was chosen by the team of Kaunas National Drama Theatre and the theatre “Utopia”. The performance directed by Kamilė Gudmonaitė will take place on the asphalt of the “Žalgiris” arena parking lot.

Experimental performance “#Protestas” (Eng. “Protest”) by the “Kosmos Theatre” has been created during the quarantine. This performance will be displayed in three different ways: live performance in the office showcase of “Kaunas 2022”, projection on the wall of “Mykolas Žilinskas“ gallery, and virtual live broadcast on the Internet.

Performing arts blended with the city

Traveling through 8 cities and towns of Kaunas district, the “ConTempo” festival will be opened by a duet of Adrian Schvarzstein (Spain) and Jūratė Širvytė-Rukštelė (Lithuania). They are going to deliver a street theatre performance “Atvykėliai” (Eng. “Arrived”). Each time a different performance will merge into the surroundings of various settlements and travel together with the audience. “Atvykėliai” will visit Zapiškis, Girionys, Vilkija, Kulautuva, Kačerginė, Linksmakalnis, Neveronys, Sitkūnai located in Kaunas district and Šančiai in Kaunas on 18–22 August.

Performances by an acrobat Džiugas Kunsmanas and a dancer Adrian Carlo Bibiano in “Where Do I Connect?” are like tiny art invasions into everyday life. It makes passers-by stop by for a half an hour at the shopping mall “Akropolis”, on the stairs of “Kaukas,” in the courtyards of Vytautas the Great War Museum and at Kaunas Cultural Centre.

Latvian performer Aleksey Smolov from the modern circus will “hang” his “Ol’ that” tool known as “the Cyr wheel” in the lobby of Kaunas bus station. The audience may not be afraid to be late for a bus as the show will last only for 12 minutes.

Luminous woman on stage

Brave, witty and uncompromising – this is how one of the main stars of the festival, Laura Murphy, an artist from the UK, describes her show “Contra.” The artist is going to perform in Kaunas Cultural Centre. She does not assign herself to a specific genre of performing arts. The audience of hers is going to see a solo cabaret with the modern circus and stand-up elements.

It will allow people to reflect on the topics of female sexuality and today’s attitude towards the woman’s body.

Kaunas City Chamber Theatre will present a solo performance “Atvanga I” (Eng. “Relaxation I”) by the performance artist Austėja Vilkaitytė. The creator will invite people to stop by and think. She will search for ways to experience the stopping, the pause on the stage, and how to listen to it.

Festival premieres

The premiere of the show “UV6” by the team of independent artists “UV” will be presented to the audience in one of the Kaunas courtyards, presenting isolation, impaired communication, and the youth searching for true-self.

“Kosmos Theatre” and Kaunas City Chamber Theatre will also show a visual live music performance “Kafka Insomnia” for the first time. During the show, due to live electro-acoustic music, video projections, contemporary object theatre, and audio manipulations the artists will go deep into the enchanting atmosphere of the legendary Czech author’s works.

Justė Liaugaudė and Indrė Mickevičiūtė-Petrauskienė, the creators of the premiere of the clown’s play “Skrydis“ (Eng. “Flight”) will welcome everyone to confront their own emotions and prepare for a good dose of laughter on the terrace of Kaunas Cultural Centre.

The “ConTempo” festival will take place on 18–23 August. In Kaunas and Kaunas district. Some of the festival events are free. Tickets to paid events are distributed by “Tiketa”. All information on www.contempofestival.lt/en The festival is presented by “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022”. Organised by “Kultūros platforma” and Lithuanian Dance Information Centre. Financed by Lithuanian Council for Culture.