Introduction from Ramona Mitrica & Mike Phillips • Show

“Romanian Connections is a unique moment in which a significant cultural event has travelled from its base in the Romanian city of Sibiu (2007 European Capital of Culture) to enrich the period of celebration in the city of Liverpool (2008 European Capital of Culture).

The events making up Romanian Connections in Liverpool during November 2008 aim at communicating a sense of the depth and richness of Romanian culture, but the season is focused around two distinct and contrasting aspects of Romanian theatre. At one end of the scale is the revival of a famed international classic, Waiting for Godot, featuring two of Romania’s most respected actors, and directed by the internationally acclaimed director Silviu Purcarete. On the other end of the scale is The Ball, a show which sums up a new exploration by younger generations in the theatre, of the country’s recent history; in a fragmentary postmodernist style, a seamless mix of dance and music, humour and tragedy.

The contrast reveals the strength and vigour of a theatrical scene which is already known throughout Europe, as the result of previous forays during the 1990s. In Britain these included the visits of such directors as Andrei Serban, Silviu Purcarete, Mihai Maniutiu, and Tompa Gabor, along with a succession of young playwrights to the Royal Court; the establishment of a theatrical network through colleagues like Richard Demarco CBE and Sir Richard Eyre; programmes, such as the NOROC theatre Exchange during the 1990s, which was run by UNITER – Union of Theatre People in Romania and supported by the British Council; and, of course, important productions like the Hamlet directed by Alexandru Tocilescu, with Ion Carmitru in the title role, at the National Theatre in London.

The current Romanian Connections season, product of a successful partnership between the public and private sectors, brings in theatrical personalities, such as Constantin Chiriac and Silviu Purcarete, who are already well known in Britain, and through whom British audiences can better acquaint themselves with the culture of the country. As it happens this is, also, the first Romanian event of its scale and calibre to be seen in the North West, or indeed, anywhere in Britain outside of London, and it catches a unique moment in which the 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations have opened up new opportunities for cultural co-operation and for constituting new cultural markets.

Over the last two years Romanian film has made a striking impact all over Europe, and we hope that the Romanian Connections tour will open a door to yet another cache of cultural treasures waiting to be discovered.”

Ramona Mitrica & Mike Phillips
ProFusion International Creative Consultancy

Introduction from Constantin Chiriac • Show

"On behalf of the ‘Radu Stanca’ National Theatre and the entire town of Sibiu allow me to welcome you to this festival of Romanian theatre and culture, Romanian Connections.

The history of this short tour in Liverpool begins with fact that, in 2007, the town of Sibiu was, along with Luxembourg, the European Capital of Culture. In 2008 the Capital of Culture is Liverpool, and, as a final gesture as holders of that proud title, the Radu Stanca National Theatre, centrepiece of the celebrations in Sibiu, decided to make this tour as a gift of our cultural expression.

The city of Sibiu has a rather long love affair with the stage. The first purpose-built theatre was established in 1788. Sibiu can now boast the most important international theatre festival in Eastern Europe, FITS, with an average of 35,000 spectators daily during its 15th edition, in summer 2008. I believe that this love for the creative arts stems from the vibrant multicultural life of this Transylvanian city: Romanian, Hungarian, German, Jewish, and Roma communities live peacefully together in Sibiu. The centuries-old fortresses and city walls no longer keep the people on the outside. They serve as a reminder of our common rich heritage, and of our togetherness.

In the two shows we brought here from Romania, you will see two contrasting aspects of Romanian theatre – one is concerned with classic theatre, the other illustrates the contemporary mood where younger generations set out to analyse and explore our recent history and our contemporary lives.

The brilliant production of Waiting for Godot, expresses our tradition of working with classical models – Greek tragedy, Goethe, the Russian masters, and the best of modernist theatre – all of them re-created and re-interpreted by a succession of great Romanian directors, such as Silviu Purcarete, creator of this production. The Ball, on the other hand, is the work of a young director, Radu Nica, whose intention is to offer a snapshot of Romanian history and society, during the 20th century, encapsulating the drama of the times we lived through.

Our partnership with ProFusion International Creative Consultancy in putting together this enterprise is also an indication of the legacy of the Capital of Culture celebrations in Sibiu, because it symbolises a renewed capacity to reach out and work with friends and partners from other parts of Europe, and from outside our own cultural envelope.

In this spirit I wish you welcome, and our hope is that we both can learn new attitudes, and derive new pleasures from this experience. Welcome to the show! Bine ati venit la teatru!”

Constantin Chiriac
Director of The ‘Radu Stanca’ National Theatre of Sibiu

Introduction from Nicolae Ratiu • Show

“It gives me great pleasure that the Ratiu Foundation and the Romanian Cultural Centre (RCC) in London are able to show, once again, their commitment to promoting cultural excellence. This time, our efforts are directed towards Romanian Connections, working together with its initiators, the ‘Radu Stanca’ National Theatre of Sibiu and ProFusion International Creative Consultancy.

Both for the Ratiu Foundation and for the Cultural Centre, this partnership comes naturally, as a continuation of our objectives. For many years now, the Foundation has been one of the most dedicated and constant supporters of the Sibiu International Theatre Festival. As for the RCC, its mission is to organise and support wholeheartedly Romanian cultural events all over Britain.

After discussing Romanian Connections with Constantin Chiriac, Director of the ‘Radu Stanca’ National Theatre, and with Mike Phillips, Co-Director of ProFusion International Creative Consultancy, we decided that at this moment we also needed to display more and a broader flavour of the richness of Romanian culture. That is why, in order to create the basis of a better understanding of the richness of the Romanian cultural phenomena, for greater visibility and also to ensure future Romanian-UK cooperation in the region, we thought of setting the theatre shows, the real “jewel in the crown”, within a series of connected events.

As a result, we are expanding our activity from London and the Home Counties, and seeking to promote Romania’s image in Liverpool, the European Capital of Culture 2008, and the North West of England, by showcasing some of the very best cultural exports of our country, and presenting them to an audience which is both willing and eager to share the experience.

Romanian Connections is truly the product of an effective collaboration between the public and private sectors, given that it is funded and facilitated through the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs, the Embassy of Romania in the UK, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Romanian Cultural Institute, the Liverpool Culture Company, Tate Liverpool, Visiting Arts, the Ratiu Foundation and the Romanian Cultural Centre.

It is both an honour and a pleasure to be associated with Romanian Connections and I trust you will enjoy it as much as we enjoyed preparing the connected events in the programme.”

Nicolae Ratiu
Chairman of The Ratiu Foundation

This unique Romanian cultural venture is the first major exercise in promoting Romania and its culture in North West England, and it comes through the joint efforts of ProFusion International Creative Consultancy, a London-based organiser of events, and The ‘Radu Stanca’ National Theatre of Sibiu, with the backing of the two foremost Romanian non-governmental organisations in the UK: The Ratiu Foundation and The Romanian Cultural Centre in London.

Romanian Connections is financed through Promocult, the Romanian Government’s programme to promote Romanian culture in the European Union. With the generous support of The Embassy of Romania in the UK, The Romanian Cultural Institute in London and The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Romanian Connections are about continuity. Liverpool is European Capital of Culture 2008 – the successor of Sibiu European Capital of Culture 2007. Sibiu is landlocked in the Transylvanian plains and Liverpool is famous for its maritime history, but the two cities are connected by their enduring cosmopolitan and multicultural traditions.

Local communities ensured that in Sibiu – as in Liverpool – culture flourished and attained very high standards; and the most important connection is that theatre, and the arts in general, are the closest one can get to a universal language. So the Romanian soul, pathos and humour, and an idea of what Romania is, can be conveyed to UK audiences directly in “the language of the heart”.

These are the Romanian Connections. Laugh with us, cry with us, in the tradition of “râsu-plânsu” (laughter-crying) that best characterises the Romanian soul. But, most of all, we hope you will become a friend.

For further details contact us:

Romanian Connections