Performing artists from Latvia participate in the Baltic-Swedish Symposium

From 19 to 22 October, Bek Berger, Artistic Director of the New Theatre Institute of Latvia, together with representatives of contemporary performing arts from Latvia – Paula Pļavniece, Āris Matesovičs (theatre company “KVADRIFRONS”) and Laima Jaunzeme (knowledge platform “Curving the Dance”) – were invited to participate in the first Swedish-Baltic symposium organised by the Swedish performing arts venue “Konträr”. The aim of the event was to promote a stronger cooperation and representation of Baltic artists in Sweden, as well as Swedish artists in the Baltic States.

The symposium was facilitated by Konträr’s visits and meetings with contemporary performing arts in the Baltic States in May and a visit to this year’s International Festival of Contemporary Theatre “Homo Novus” in September.

On the final day of the symposium, alongside participants from Latvia, performing artists and industry representatives from Sweden – Ebba Petrén, Mille Bostedt, Mattias Lech, Ellen Norlund, K. Polyfon, Majula Drammeh, Johanna Malma, Olof Runsten, Sanna Colling, Marie Nikazm Bakken, Sepideh Hodarahmi, Goosebumps, from Estonia – Maarja Kalmre (Kanuti Gildi SAAL) and Kaie Olmre (Elektron), and Grēta Grinevičiūte from Lithuania.

“We had a great opportunity to represent the theatre company “KVADRIFRONS” at the Symposium, continuing friendships already started and creating new potential collaborations with theatre professionals from Lithuania, Estonia and Sweden. During these days we visited several non-governmental theatres in Stockholm and in conversations with their representatives we learnt a lot about their long-standing experience and working models, gaining insights and methods that we will use in our work. We also attended performances at the “Konträr” venue the organisers of the symposium, and at the National Theatre in Stockholm, which, according to locals, has taken a new artistic and contemporary direction in recent seasons. On the final day of the Symposium we had the opportunity to present our organisation in a pitching session, where we heard and were inspired by the work of other artists and presented ourselves and our performances. We believe that this experience will definitely be fruitful and stimulating for the development of our organisation, and we are open to the future, looking forward to collaborating with our new colleagues. Thank you to the organisers, we had a great and enriching days in Stockholm!” – Paula and Āris (KVADRIFRONS)

“Most of all i would like to mention with gratitude the Konträr people for all the hospitality and local organization of this event to take place in Stockholm!It was sweet, cozy, well thought and well taken care of. For me it was very good to peek into practices and relations of the Baltic colleagues and meet them in this context together with Swedish artists, i think some particular shifts in openness happens when we meet each other in other kinds of frameworks of sharing. To see all the smaller and bigger venues we  were welcomed at , passed through and learned about how people work there and hold the community relatable. What is clear- that these times are difficult everywhere for various reasons, therefore even more it is important to see each other, appreciate our artistic freedoms, share and hold each other accountable for brighter future, exchange of resources and critical art practices. And another important matter that landed to my heart from listening to fellow Baltic and Swedish participants- especially the ones who take care of the bigger counterculture structures, concepts and even spaces- you are incredible, special and even with all the burnouts it never burns out. Like in this song, hey hey my my- it’s better to burn out than to fade away:)” – Laima Jaunzema (Curving the Dance)