Europe Theatre Prize 09

6th April 2009

The Stage reports that Polish director and teacher Krystian Lupa was awarded the 13th Europe Theatre Prize — worth €60,000 — at a ceremony this weekend in Wroclaw, Poland.

The Europe Theatre Prize was created in 1986 by the European Commission, and has been recognised by the European Parliament and Council as a “European cultural interest organisation”.

The awards ceremony occurred at the end of a week of shows, previews, work in progress, meetings, and symposia, which featured performances of Lupa’s work, as well as work by the five winners of the €30,000 Europe Prize for New Theatrical Realities, which is designed to mark innovation in theatre from a younger generation, and went to the following: Guy Cassiers (Belgium), Pippo Delbono (Italy), Rodrigo Garcia (Spain/Argentine), Arpad Schilling (Hungary), François Tanguy and the Théâtre du Radeau (France).

Lupa is known both for his long career as a director and for the large number of bright young Polish directors who have emerged from his tutelage at the theatre academy in Krakow. Among his productions seen in Wroclaw was an eight-hour dramatisation of the exotic lifestyle of Andy Warhol and his circle, Factory 2. It is a mark of Lupa’s stature that several hundred of the world’s critics and leading theatre industry figures sat through this demanding performance to its very end, many of them joining in a standing ovation.

There was a more divided reaction to the works shown by the winners of the New Realities prize. Argentinian-born Rodrigo Garcia, who works in Spain with a company whose title translates as The Butcher’s Shop, aroused much controversy with productions involving maltreatment of a variety of animals.

Italy’s Pippo del Bono offered two contrasting productions covering either end of a career lasting more than 20 years, but also staged a short piece featuring the actress Marisa Berenson which he had prepared the night before.

Guy Cassiers, from Belgium, was represented by a harrowing solo performance, Sunken Red, played in perfect English by the actor Dirk Roofthooft.

From France, François Tanguy brought his Théâtre du Radeau with an abstract collage of prose, verse, music and movement.

The fifth winner, Hungarian director Arpad Schilling, who broke up his world renowned Kretakor company last year, spoke of his new work bringing theatre to disadvantaged communities in France and his native Hungary.

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