In 2006, the State Youth Theatre of Lithuania will celebrate anniversary season of its work. The theatre was founded in Vilnius in 1965. The first production, W.Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet directed by Aurelija Ragauskaite, was performed on May 27, 1966. This day is considered the official birthday of the theatre. The State Youth Theatre of Lithuania was meant to be a children’s theatre, but this name would have squeezed it into a certain frame. So it was a great achievement to get the name “Children’s” changed to “Youth”. The range of the theatre broadened immediately.
The following directors were producers of the theater: Aurelija Ragauskaite (1965 - 1968), Vytautas Cibiras (1968 - 1971), Dalia Tamuleviciute (1974 - 1988), Antanas Surna (1992 - 1997), Algirdas Latenas (1997 - up to now).
The State Youth Theatre of Lithuania attracts the audience by the originality of work and artistic attitude of its actors and directors. Productions of this theatre are characterized by playful improvisations, stage grotesque and lyricism, plasticity of actors, open manner of acting and sensitive psychologism. Scenic metaphors, relative reality of the plot are the characteristic features of the productions of this theatre.
Since 1965 around 160 plays has been staged by the most famous Lithuanian directors such as: Eimuntas Nekrosius, Rimas Tuminas, Jonas Vaitkus, Dalia Tamuleviciute, Algirdas Latenas. The performances directed by Eimuntas Nekrosius made the State Youth Theatre of Lithuania famous in the world: “The Square” (1980), “Pirosmani, Pirosmani” (1981), “The Day Lasts Longer Than a Hundred Years” (1983), “Uncle Vanya” (1986), “The Nose” (1991).
The theatre showed it’s productions to the audiences of Moscow, Sankt-Peterburg, Kiev, Tbilisi, Minsk and Talin. In 1984 the first international tours began - first to the International Theatre Festival BITEF - 18 in Belgrad, then to Poland. In 1989 the theatre took part in an international festival in Parma, in the festival in Turin (Italy), visited Belgium, Holland and Germany. In 1990, the theatre showed it’s produktions in Finland, Norway, and Sweden, the USA (Chicago, New York), in 1991 in Sweden, Israel, the USA and Switzerland. In 1992 the Youth Theatre participated at the International Arts festival in Adelaide, Australia. At the end of March, 1994 the Youth Theatre performed “Pirosmani, Pirosmani” and “The Square” at the International Theater festival in Bogota, Columbia and on the 26th June it showed “The Nose” in Montpellier, France.
Director Jonas Vaitkus presented “Doll’s House” by H.Ibsen and “The Father” by A.Strindberg in 1997 at the State Youth Theatre of Lithuania. The latter was shown at the International Strindberg’s festival in Stockholm in August, 1998.
The young directors such as Vilius Turas, Ignas Jonynas, Justas Lingys, Gintaras Liutkevicius, Ramune Kudzmanaite made their debut on the stage of the State Youth Theatre of Lithuania.
The theatre shows 250 performances a year and the approximate number of spectators is 60 thousand per year. The big hall contains 450 seats and a small hall so called “Hall 99” has a 100 seats. The Youth Theatre does not limit itself just with performances for both children and adults, but it is also engaged in other activities and projects, such as: public reading of different famous and unknown local and foreign dramatists, poets and writers, music evenings and all kinds of exhibitions.
The State Youth Theatre of Lithuania is situated in the centre of the old town of Vilnius, in Arkliu Street. The street got its name from the former horse market that used to be held in this place.
The history of the building of the theatre dates back to the 18th century. Its fate was closely related with the family of Oginsky. In 1768 Marshal of Lithuanian Grand Principality Ignas Oginsky built a house, later called the Oginsky palace. This was a building in the style of classicism with the elements of baroque and gothic.
In the 19th century the building housed the club of Russian intelligentsia and had one of the biggest private halls in Vilnius. After the World War I the house was occupied by a Jewish school. During the World War II the house was almost completely burnt down.
The State Youth Theatre of Lithuania moved into the building in 1982 after the reconstruction.