V4@THEATRE CRITICS RESIDENCY 2017  It is a creative platform for theatre critics up to the age of 35 who originate from the V4 region and selected countries of the Eastern Partnership. The project was created in 2015 at the initiative of Association Divadelna Nitra, in collaboration with partners from participating countries. Over the course of its three years of activity, it has, with the aid of the International Visegrad Fund and the Slovak Arts Council, grown its number of participants, represented countries and mentors. Its objective is to foster critical reflection on theatre, to keep up with new tendencies in contemporary scenic art and to introduce analytical procedures that serve as tools in reflections about specific and experimental artworks. The residency program enabled a group of selected theatre critics to take active part at the International Theatre Festival Divadelná Nitra. The group attended theatrical performances at the festival and worked out preliminary analyses at meetings with residency mentors. The members’ residency at the festival took place under the guidance of respected foreign theatrologists and theatre critics Patrice Pavis (2015, 2016, 2017) and Thomas Irmer (2017), who were act as facilitators of this inter-cultural dialogue on art, and who were also the professional guarantors of the project.

Under the guidance of the world-renowned French theatrologist Patrice Pavis, participants watched the main programme of Divadelná Nitra 2017 and analysed it at regular meetings. The second professional mentor of the project, the German theatre critic and curator Thomas Irmer, participated by his masterclasses and speaking in the debates. Written outputs produced at these workshops (reviews of festival productions, interviews with their authors or reflections on the program of Divadelna Nitra) are published annually on the festival’s webpage, www.nitrafest.sk.

The V4@Theatre Critics Residency project not only serves an educational function, but also acts as a platform for international cultural exchange and the exchange of knowledge on current developments in the scenic arts in the regions of Central and Eastern Europe. The participants’ task is to prepare a presentation on the current situation in the scenic arts field in their home country and deliver it during the festival at the regular public discussion forum The Breakfast with…

By combining analytical seminars that reflect the festival’s main programme with the critics’ active participation at meetings with artists, the project provides ground for open discussion, whose ambition is to surpass the context of the festival and engage with the wider socio-political framework.

During the three years, more than 30 young theatre critics from eight countries have taken part in the Residency at Divadelna Nitra under the guidance of prestigious figures in theatre theory and criticism.

This year’s edition of the project also included a meeting of current and former Residency participants with members of partner institutions, which focused on the topic of networking between theatre critics from different countries and the establishment of new international contacts. Besides developing the professional skills of young critics, the mini-programme V4@Networking&Reminiscences is intended as a platform that fosters collaborative ties among critics, professional journals and festivals in the region of Central and Eastern Europe, and so stimulates the field of theatre criticism.



22nd SEPTEMBER 2017 

Before 14:00     Arrival of participantsregistrationcheck-in at the hotel
14:30 – 17:00   Introduction meeting with mentors
18:30                Opening performance Pursuit of Happiness

23rd SEPTEMBER 2017

8:30 –   9:45   Workshop session with Patrice Pavis
10:00 – 12:30   The Breakfast with… + workshop participants’ presentations
12:30 – 13:30   Lunch
13:30 – 15:30   Master class with Thomas Irmer
From 16:00      Performances according to the festival programme

24th SEPTEMBER 2017 

8:30 –   9:45   Workshop session with Patrice Pavis
10:00 – 12:30   The Breakfast with
13:00 – 15:30   V4@Networking&Reminiscences – informal networking meeting including lunch with actual and former participants of the Residency and project partners
From 16:00       Performances according to the festival programme

25th SEPTEMBER 2017 

8:30 –   9:45   Workshop session with Patrice Pavis
10:00 – 12:30   The Breakfast with… + workshop participants’ presentations
12:30 – 13:30   Lunch
15:00 – 17:00   Master class with Thomas Irmer
From 18:00      Performances according to the festival programme

26th SEPTEMBER 2017 

8:30 –   9:45   Workshop session with Patrice Pavis
10:00 – 13:00   The Breakfast with
12:30 – 13:30   Lunch
14:30 – 16:00   What you wanted to know about Divadelná Nitra, but you have not opportunity to ask – public presentation & discussion on theatre festivals – Focus@V4.DAB – Meeting Point
From 17:00      Performances according to the festival programme

27th SEPTEMBER 2017 

9:00 – 11:30   Final evaluation with mentors
12:00 – 13:00   Lunch
Departure of participants


Beside daily meetings within the regular public discussion forum The Breakfast with…  following events were held:

24th SEPTEMBER 2017, 13:00 – 15:30
V4@Networking&Reminiscences – networking meeting including lunch; with actual and selected former participants and project partners.

26th SEPTEMBER 2017. 14:30 – 16:00
What you wanted to know about Divadelná Nitra, but you have not opportunity to ask – public presentation & discussion on theatre festivals.


Selected participants, 2017:

Slovakia – Barbora Forkovičová, Lucia Galdíková
Czech Republic – Barbora Havlová, Kateřina Veselovská
Hungary – Zsuzsanna Komjáthy, Dorottya Albert, (substitute – Krisztina Vagdalt)
Poland – Julia Lizurek, Stanisław Godlewski, (substitute – Marcin Bogucki)
Ukraine – Olena Mygashko, Veronika Sklyarova, (substitute – Demid Brukhanoff)
Belorussia – Hanna Kazakova, Kristina Smolskaya
Moldova – Marin Madan



Patrice Pavis, France – Residency mentor
Patrice Pavis was Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Paris (1976 – 2007). He was Professor at the School of Arts at the University of Kent in Canterbury. In 2011 and 2012 he was a visiting professor at the Korea National University of the Arts. He has published a dictionary of theatre and books on semiology, performance analysis, contemporary French dramatists, and contemporary theatre. His most recent book publications are: La mise en scène contemporaine (Armand Colin, 2007; English translation: Routledge, 2013) and Dictionnaire de la performance et du théâtre contemporain (Armand Colin, 2014; English translation: Routledge, 2016), L’analyse des spectacles (3ed.) 2017; L’analyse des textes contemporains (Armand Colin, 2017).

Thomas Irmer, Germany – Residency mentor
Thomas Irmer was editor-in-chief of the monthly journal Theater der Zeit, Germany (1998 – 2003) and dramaturgical advisor for the international theatre season Spielzeiteuropa at Berliner Festspiele (working, among others, for Robert Lepage, John Jesurun, Peter Brook,William Forsythe, Heiner Goebbels and Frank Castorf) in 2003 – 2006. He also run international lectures and talks. Currently, he works for various theatrical magazines (staff writer for Theater der Zeit and regular contributor to Didaskalia, Szinhaz and Shakespeare in Norway). He has also lectured at the Kennedy-Institut at Freie Universität Berlin from 2003 to 2012. He is a member of several juries of German and international dramatic and theatre competitions and of the ITI Germany.


Invited former participants & project partners:

Beáta Barda  //Artistic Director, Trafó – House of Contemporary Arts // HU
Rusanda Curca //theatre critic, cultural manager, Center for Cultural Projects AzArt, V4@2016 // MD
Kristóf Farkas //theatre and dance critic, V4@2016 // HU
Vladislava Fekete //Director, The Theatre Institute, Bratislava, theatre critic, curator, co-editor of the Revizor // SK
Tamás Jaszay // Theatre critic, regular contributor to Revizor // HU
Miloslav Juráni // theatre critic, editior-in-chief of the kød – konkrétne o divadle, V4@2015// SK
Marta Kacwin – Duman //theatre critic, translator, regular contributor to Didaskalia, V4@2016 // PL
Joanna Klass //Curator, Adam Mickiewicz Institute // PL
Nadia Sokolenko // theatre critic, curator, editor-in-chief of the The Ukrainian Theatre, V4@2015 // UA
Dominika Široká // theatre critic, regular contributor to SaD and kød – konkrétne o divadle, V4@2016 // SK


What could be expected during the V4 @ Theater Critics?

Residency mentor Patrice Pavis: 
The different performances as a point of departure for discussion and analysis. The main questions were:

  • How to approach such a specific performance and what kind of performance analysis is possible?
  • What knowledge do we need to receive a performance and react to it?
  • What tools are available to analyze, or simply discuss, a performance?
  • What is the difference between a performance and a mise en scène?
  • What is your own practice of criticism and theory?

Master classes by Thomas Irmer:
23rd September
Theory of Criticism Today: Position / Criteria / Politics
Case Study: Nature Theater of Oklahoma

25th September
Theory of Criticism Today: Aspects of Internationalization and Censorship
Case Study: The Pursuit of Happiness


What was expected and required from the participants:

  • The ability, but also readiness, to discuss a performance, beyond the subjective point of view.
  • The possibility to write reviews/articles for the festival purposes; to compare different types of discourses.
  • The ability to study and use a theoretical notion, chosen in cooperation with the mentor, a notion which can possibly be discussed within the group.
  • The willingness to co-chair, with the residency mentor, one of the public talks.
  • The possibility to reflect on your own theatrical context at home (both for plays and performances).
  • Evaluation of the theoretical and cultural discourse at home and in other countries.
  • Description of the role of a dramaturge in your context in your country and in other countries?
  • The evaluation of the status of the author in theatre in your country and of the relationship author–dramaturge–director–performer.
  • The connection, in your country, between theatre practice and theory. How does this resonate in your own practice and what impact does it have on your reflection on theatre?