Klaipėda Youth Theatre, active since 2012, is one of the few independent Lithuanian theatres, the basis of which is an active, hard-working and creative company of 16 actors rather than a famous director. The actors trained by Valentinas Masalskis primarily stood out with their rhythmic works in Lithuanian theatre. They demonstrated not only exceptional musicality, but also fellowship, on which they continue to rely not only in the creation of dramatic and musical performances, but also in organisational and pedagogical activities.
The history of Klaipėda Youth Theatre began in 2008, when director and actor Masalskis gathered actors for a course in performing arts at Vilnius College. Actors who had not yet completed their studies founded the “troupe p. s.” and presented several theatrical productions. After studies in Vilnius, they continued in Klaipėda. As new students of Masalskis joined them there in 2012, “troupe p. s.” received the status of a professional theatre and became Klaipėda Youth Theatre.
At the beginning of its activity, the repertoire of Klaipėda Youth Theatre consisted mainly of rhythmic musical performances created not only with Masalskis, but also with composer Nijolė Sinkevičiūtė and scenographer Renata Valčik, who became long-term collaborators of the theatre. Armed with the first works, the theatre set out to conquer the hearts of Klaipėda residents not only on stage, but also in public spaces of the city: the actors of the theatre appeared at various city celebrations. In 2012, artistic provocation “Market Night” was started in Klaipėda Old Town Market, and in 2013 “Dish for the Mother of Another” campaign, as well as Young Theatre Days festival were initiated.
The theatre, which brought more diversity to the cultural life of Klaipėda, expanded the repertoire of musical rhythmic productions with dramatic performances based on new plays by the budding playwright Mindaugas Nastaravičius within a few years of its start. And having the courage to work with new dramaturgy, the young creators began to look for opportunities to work with new, unknown directors as well.
So from 2014, in addition to the works of Valentinas Masalskis, the repertoire of the theatre began to include theatrical productions directed by Karolina Žernytė, Paulius Ignatavičius, Olga Lapina, Jean Cyril-Vadi, Živilė Mičiulytė, Darius Rabašauskas, Jonas Tertelis, Kamilė Gudmonaitė, and Povilas Makauskas. In time, the theatre actors themselves summoned up courage to create independently: Paulius Pinigis and Evelina Šimelionė directed performances at Klaipėda Youth Theatre. The theatre’s repertoire has been supplemented by a number of works for children and adults collectively created by theatre actors.
Klaipėda Youth Theatre today
The repertoire of the theatre currently includes more than 20 productions for adults and children. Such a wide repertoire is intended not only for audiences of very different ages, but also of different tastes. Bold enough to experiment with new, as yet unknown forms of theatre, the creators of this theatre invite spectators to discover new forms of theatre by creating and showing not only drama, but also documentary, musical and sensory theatre.
The desire to know and expand the limits of own possibilities moves beyond the stage. The strictness to oneself and the pursuit of continuous improvement fostered by Masalskis, attention to the profession and theatre in Klaipėda and Lithuania encourage the troupe of Klaipėda Youth Theatre to actively participate in the development of young talents and actively cooperate with lesser-known theatre creators in Klaipėda. Therefore, in addition to staging and performing, the theatre troupe also teaches young theatre enthusiasts in the theatre studio, some of them teach future actors at Klaipėda Faculty of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, and the annual international festival Young Theatre Days opens new opportunities for collaboration and sharing ideas with young Lithuanian and foreign creators. The creative contacts established during this festival have grown into a number of new productions.
Through all its artistic, pedagogical and social activities, Klaipėda Youth Theatre seeks to make a creative oasis in Klaipėda, where love of theatre and dedication to its community unite.