Sirenos Festival Announces Its International Programme

2024 June 14

Theatre comes to life in the viewer’s imagination. The physical stage is merely a starting point, leading to an expansive and intangible realm of memory, experience, and habit. This year’s Vilnius International Theatre Festival Sirenos invites you to explore what space means in contemporary theatre, as shaped by the participants, each bringing their unique thoughts and contexts. Lithuania’s largest theatre festival, organized by the public institution “Theatre Information Centre” and the public institution “Vilnius Festivals”, will celebrate its twenty-first edition from September 25 to October 13.


“When creating the programme, we envisioned space as both the stage and the surrounding environment. However, the selected performances revealed that the most natural theatre space is the labyrinths of our consciousness and subconscious. We invite the audience to navigate these labyrinths, seeking answers to daily questions about our planet, our city, and our inner worlds,” says Kristina Savickienė, the festival’s artistic director.


The festival’s international programme will open with performances by the young yet acclaimed Belgian documentary theatre creators, Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere. Dedicated to sustainability, they emphasize environmental issues not only in their work but also in their daily lives, opting for land or water transport over air travel to reduce their carbon footprint. This year, Sirenos features two documentary performances from their environmental trilogy, which addresses the issues caused by mining.

Pleasant Island

“Pleasant Island” explores the story of Nauru, a Pacific island once known for its beauty and hospitality, now a symbol of colonization, capitalism, forced migration, and ecological disaster. Through their performance, Huysmans and Dereere depict the harsh realities of the island, drawing parallels to the depletion of our entire planet. The second performance, “Out of the Blue”, delves into the underwater world as humanity’s search for new resources turns to the ocean floor, still little researched and charted. Featuring multiple interviews and conversations, the play paints an intimate portrait of the deep-sea mining industry, questioning how far mining companies will go and what humanity is truly seeking. Both performances will be presented on October 2 and 3 in the Black Hall of the Arts Printing House. 

Out of the Blue


A highlight of the international programme is the performance “An Inner Image” by the Barcelona-based duo El Conde de Torrefiel. Playwrights Tanya Beyeler and Pablo Gisbert invite viewers to engage their imagination and explore the creation of fiction on stage, challenging the notion that reality is solid, stable, and immutable. El Conde de Torrefiel blends theatre, choreography, literature, and visual arts, creating a unique visual theatre experience characterized by texts of striking beauty. In their performances, the text itself becomes the main actor and protagonist, speaking for those on stage and voicing the audience’s thoughts. “An Inner Image” will be presented on October 8 and 9 in the New Hall of the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre.

An Inner Image

As is tradition at the festival, each year, a specific creator or collective is featured, allowing festival visitors to engage deeply with their worldview, philosophy, and creative methods. Attendees can participate in workshops, meet the artists, and watch screenings of two filmed performances. Additionally, this August, El Conde de Torrefiel will present their performance “Ultraficcion nr. 1 / Fracciones de tiempo” at the International Performing Arts Festival ConTempo in Kaunas.

This year, Sirenos collaborates with the Ukrainian Institute and the Lithuanian cultural attaché in Ukraine, Tomas Ivanauskas, to proudly present two performances from Ukraine. Directed by exceptionally talented female creators, these works highlight the strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people.

City of Mary: Siege Diaries

Director Yevheniia Vidishcheva’s performance “City of Mary: Siege Diaries” is based on the diaries of twins Anna and Anastasia Hrechkina from Mariupol. The sisters recount the three weeks they spent in Mariupol during its siege, their authentic testimonies complemented by live saxophone, drums, and electronic music. The performance blends various musical genres and traditional Ukrainian folk songs, including music from the Donetsk region. “City of Mary: Siege Diaries” will be presented on October 5 and 6 in the Black Hall of the Arts Printing House.

Nobody Died Today

The exploration of modern Ukrainian theatre continues with the documentary performance “Nobody Died Today”. Drawing from the experiences, reflections, and insights of Ukrainian soldiers, volunteers, and the performance creators, this work delves deep into the psyche of those who have lived through war. It examines their values and their revaluation, shaped by the proximity of death, constant fatigue, life in unfamiliar places, and the struggle to preserve one’s identity. This performance by Kharkiv creators will be shown on October 11 and 12 in the Black Hall of the Arts Printing House.

Absent City

The Sirenos international programme will conclude with “Absent City”, a play-film by Greek director Dimitris Kourtakis. This bold experiment merges theatre and cinema, exploring how a city can become a stage and its inhabitants – actors. Filmed in Eleusis, this year’s European Capital of Culture, and broadcast in real time to various cities, the performance follows a man and a woman stranded in a limbo of uncertain time, each coping with loss differently – one through oblivion, the other by preserving the memory of a loved one. The show consists of two parts, presented consecutively on October 12 and 13.


In addition to the international programme, the festival showcases the most intriguing works of Lithuanian creators from the past season in the annual Lithuanian theatre showcase. Curated by theatre critics Kristina Steiblytė and Alma Braškytė this year, this segment will see foreign guests and an international jury gather to view and award the most memorable performances, reflecting current Lithuanian theatre trends. The Lithuanian theatre programme will be announced in early June. Furthermore, this year’s Sirenos festival will host the meeting of the GLEN (Great Little European Network) performing arts network, along with various networking and educational events, the events of the festival’s club.


Tickets for the international programme of the Sirenos Festival are now on sale and can be purchased at ticket offices and online. Ticket prices will increase in September.


The festival is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and supported by Vilnius City Municipality. Organisers: Theatre Information Centre and Vilnius Festivals.