Young Europe: the Youth Theatre Festival

Young Europe: the Youth Theatre Festival

From 17 to 19 April, eight new youth plays will be staged at various venues in Nova Gorica.

From April 17th to 19th, eight new youth plays will be staged at various venues in Nova Gorica, created within the framework of the European project for the development of youth drama, Young Europe IV: Unheard Voices, in partnership with GO! 2025, SNG Nova Gorica, and Mladi oder Amo.

The three-year programme is dedicated to creating new youth plays, or so-called classroom plays, which are 45 minutes long as a school lesson, a concept that's fresh in the Slovenian theatre landscape. The plays set to debut in Nova Gorica were crafted between 2021 and 2024 by participants from eight countries within the ETC (European Theatre Convention) network. These productions shine a spotlight on marginalized voices in our society, embracing underrepresented groups such as LGBTQIA+, women, migrants, racial and ethnic minorities, and more. Throughout the creative process, the writers received guidance and advice from renowned playwrights.

One of the planned performances is "Zvezdice" (Stars), written for SNG Nova Gorica by the young playwright and dramaturge Jaka Smerkolj Simoneti, and staged from April 17th to 19th. The creative process was overseen by two mentors: the acclaimed Croatian playwright Dino Pešut and dramaturg Tereza Gregorič. Another significant aspect of the festival is the involvement of young ambassadors, three students from the Nova Gorica Secondary School (Karin Winkler, Alja Kosič, and Kristjan Gabrijelčič), who will attend all the productions during the festival and share their impressions afterward.

What's "Stars" all about? Following an uninspiring lecture by the school psychologist – Mrs. Kavka – two high schoolers find themselves in a sticky situation. Oto, the star athlete, ends up with a black eye, and Miki, the model student, seems to be the culprit. As they hash it out with the psychologist, the reasons behind their clash come to light, going beyond the typical teenage scuffle. The play isn't just about violence: it delves into its causes like powerlessness, bullying, body image, sexual identity, and societal pressures. In the midst of all this, an unexpected bond forms between Miki and Oto, made up by a sense of freedom, others' expectations, and their own desires, unsure if it'll survive the clash with reality. Along the way, they encounter those who should guide them, but all they have to offer is a repetitive mantra: "little stars, little stars, help me."

You can find the full programme here.

This project is a part of TRANSFORMATIONS, the ETC's programme of activities for the period 2021–2024, co-funded by the European Union.

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