Rijeka Ballet: Romeo and Juliet

Rijeka Ballet: Romeo and Juliet

10th Theater Olympics | 31/05/2023 | 19.00
National Theatre of Pécs

A theatrical gathering created in Greece in 1995 in the spirit of tradition, modernity, and the ancient Olympics. The founders were renowned directors and playwrights from Greece, Japan, the USA, Spain, the UK, Russia, Germany and Brazil. From time to time, one of the largest and most prestigious events in world theatre finds a home in a particular city or country. The 2023 Olympics in Budapest will be the 10th in the history of Theatre Olympics.

The first festival in Delphoi featured only 9 performances from 7 countries in about two weeks. The 1999 Theatre Olympics in Japan, which lasted two months, attracted 42 productions from 20 countries, while the grand 2001 Moscow Festival invited 97 productions from 32 countries over two and a half months. The 2018 Olympics in India went even further, with some 470 performances from 35 countries. The 2019 Olympics had 2 capitals, i.e. the Russian metropolis of St Petersburg and the small Japanese city of Toga, the theatre centre of Olympic founder Suzuki Tadashi. The Hungarian Olympics is to include around 300 performances.
The organisation that safeguards the spirit of the International Theatre Olympics and supervises the organisation of each Olympics is called the International Committee. It includes the founding members who are still active, and there are always new members: the organisers of previous Olympics also become members of the Committee. At the Committee’s request, the Olympics of a given year is directed and organised by a leading theatre personality from the country concerned. Attila Vidnyánszky, head of the National Theatre, has been invited by the Committee to organise the 2023 events in Budapest and Hungary.

In Budapest and across Hungary, the 10th Theatre Olympics will feature performances by some of the world’s leading theatre artists, including Theodoros Terzopulos, Suzuki Tadashi, Romeo Castellucci, Krytian Lupa, Slava Polunyin, Heiner Goebbels, Silviu Purcărete, Eugenio Barba, Tiago Rodrigues, Alessandro Serra, Christoph Marthaler, Liu Libin, Declan Donnellan, Ivan von Hove and many others… In addition, there will be dance, puppetry and street theatre performances, with a total of around 750 events. The main events of the Olympics will take place at the 9th Madách International Theatre Meeting, MITEM, at the National Theatre in Budapest.

Within the scope of the 10th Theatre Olympics Ballet Pécs invited the Ballet Company of the Croatian National Theatre Ivana pl. Zajca, Rijeka to perform Romeo and Juliet at the National Theatre of Pécs on 31st May 2023.


Romeo and Juliet perfectly capture the rush of being in love and the desire to make that feeling last forever despite daunting circumstances. Although the story is often thought to be about love and it’s power, actually love is included in only a few fragile moments of satisfaction – making love duets that much sweeter and more precious. The theme of the play are violence and chaos, confusion and death, especially in the context of life’s fragile beauty juxtaposed to the needlessness of death amongst youth.
The story teaches one of letting old family wounds go, and not letting your emotions rule your life. The Montague and the Capulets have let an old family rivalry take away the future of their own children. It is a narrative that expresses a historical conflict between old forms of identity and new modes of desire, between authority and freedom, between parental will and romantic individualism.

Choreographer Jiří Bubeníček 

Jiří, together with his twin brother Otto, graduated from the Prague Dance Conservatory. As one of the winners of the award at the Prix de Lausanne (1992) he was granted a place in John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet, where he became a Principal dancer in 1997. Jiří did not only perform all principal male roles in Neumeier’s performances, he received a special honour – the role of Vaslav Nijinsky in the ballet Nijinsky, created by the legendary maestro especially for him. Among his other roles, for instance that of Arman in Neumeier’s La Dame aux Camélias, was stunning enough to get him an invitation to dance alongside with Aurelie Dupont and Agnes Letestu in Opera de Paris. In 2006 Bubeníček joined Semperoper Dresden Ballet as a Principal dancer. However, coming from the family of touring circus acrobats, he never stayed for too long in the same place. Rather, he collaborated with the ballet companies in New York, Zurich, Vienna, Munchen, Stockholm and Beijing.

In 1999 Jiří Bubeníček started working on independent productions and choreographing. Amongst his most successful works are Unerreichbare Orte for Hamburg Ballet (2005), Le Souffle de l’Esprit for Zurich Ballet (2007) that was also staged for the Vienna Ballet, Toccata for New York City Ballet (2009). More recently he has created highly acclaimed works for the Slovenian National Theatre in Ljubljana (Doctor Zhivago 2016), the Royal Ballet of New Zeland (Piano – the Ballet, 2018), ballet of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb (Metropolis, 2018) Royal Sweedish Ballet (The Trial, 2019), ballet of Teatro dell’Opera Roma (Carmen, 2019), Nuovo Balletto di Toscana (Cinderella, 2019), ballet of the La Scala Milan (Canon in D-major, 2021).

During his career, Jiří was awarded many prizes for both dancing and choreographing. Among most notable ones are Prix de Lausane (Prix Especes, 1992), Benois de la Danse (Moskva 2002), Audience Award at the 18th International Competition for Choreographers Hannover for Prisoners of Feelings in 2004., Danza & Danza Prize 2009, Best Duet Prize at St Petersburg Dance Open, Mary Wigman Prize 2013… He was also one of the finalists in the Competition for choreographers Prix Dom Perignon (in 1991 and 2001), and had been voted the best male dancer in Europe by Dance for You magazine in 2014 and Dance Europe magazine in 2015.


The Hungarian Theatre Olympics is funded by the Hungarian Government.

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