Final Discussion on Media and Information Literacy Focused on Relationships Between Theatre and Politics

Date

2019 10 30

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A discussion about theatre and politics served as the finale of the five-event series “Tarp Eilučių” by the Ministry of Culture, which invited everyone to examine various fields of culture and arts from the perspective of media and information literacy.

According to Algirdas Davidavičius, philosopher and expert of Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis who moderated the discussion “Tarp Eilučių: (A)Politinis Teatras” (“Between the Lines: (A)Political Theatre”), discussions of this topic are meaningful because theatre and democracy have co-existed ever since the times of ancient Greece, which is known as the cradle of Western civilisation.

In her presentation, theatrologist and performing arts critic Dr. Goda Dapšytė analysed how the development of Lithuanian theatre was impacted by manifestations of censorship and political theatre. The theatrologist noted that the Aesopian language mastered during the soviet era could be seen as a positive theatrical heritage which led to the establishment of the metaphorical theatre we are proud of to this day. On the other hand, in the speaker’s opinion, fifty years of censorship have distorted and narrowed the concept of political theatre itself and deterred many of today’s artists from this genre for a long time.   

Vaidas Jauniškis, theatre critic, analyst and lecturer of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, emphasised in his presentation that the revival of political theatre around the world began in the last decade of the 20th century, when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War was ending. Ever since then, theatre has utilised the latest technologies and actively involved the audience in the theatrical action in order to participate in the tackling of the most relevant political issues, e.g. the matters of climate change. According to the speaker, political theatre is meant to show us that we are free to decide.

A broader discussion followed later, which was joined by Andrius Jevsejevas, playwright, theatre critic and art director of Juozas Miltinis Drama Theatre, and Ingrida Ragelskienė, theatrologist and project manager at the Russian Drama Theatre of Lithuania. Opinions were exchanged on political theatre in Lithuania and whether it is possible at all to separate the theatre from the politics in the 21st century. Other topics of discussion included the author’s responsibility when tackling controversial subjects and the reactions of the public.

This year the Ministry of Culture organised five discussions in the series “Tarp Eilučių”: they focused on the relationships between cinema, videogames, theatre, and politics, manipulations of deepfakes, and the importance of cultural heritage to the young generation.

One of the strategic directions of the Public Information Policy for 2019–2022 approved by the Minister of Culture is a society which is resistant to information hazards and which keeps developing its literacy skills. With the “Tarp Eilučių” event series, the Ministry of Culture contributes to the development of critical thinking and media and information literacy. Discussions are meant not just for people working in various fields of culture but a broader audience as well

 

Photo by Dainius Labutis (ELTA).