Implementing local organization – Lietuvos nacionalinis dramos teatras

Programme start year – 2017

The so-called verbatim theatre is a genre of documentary theatre associated with verbal and text-based forms of expression. Although in the UK this genre has a deep tradition and is popular among many audiences, in Lithuania it has just taken its first steps. 

The British Council Lithuania has collaborated with the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, along with director Jonas Tertelis, to create a documentary theatre performance entitled Unknown Land. Šalčia. The play was introduced in March 2018. For the play, Jonas Tertelis, along with the actors from the theatre, carried out documentary research and gathered material for the performance in the town of Šalčininkai. They collected stories of the local people and organised creative workshops for the local community.  

Jonas Tertelis shared his views on the play, “We have discovered a region where heroes, tragedies, social challenges, disputes, and joys are hidden. It seems that there is nothing special here, only the endless love for the country and religion, the desire to come back and create one’s own life. Separate stories, fragments, and facts cannot create a generalised image of the town of Šalčininkai, but can create a form of different, surreal images and atmosphere of a Lithuanian peripheral town, which, to maximise documentality, using only literary storytelling, tries to convey a future performance to the audience. It is a performance not only about Šalčininkai, the periphery of Lithuania, or the periphery of Europe, but also about the feeling of reality in a completely different time”.

The play was warmly received by theatregoers and won the Nations Dialogue Award 2017 category of the National Equality and Diversity Awards in 2018.