For the last 17 years ITSelF Festival became a place of open debate of young people on the most pressing issues regarding the social life in EU countries. Theater Academy in Warsaw (AT) is a member of prestigious organizations associating European universities like PLETA and E-UTSA and actively participates in various European theater festivals. The result of this activity is the fact that our academy became a center of a pan-European debate on the ethos and role of the artist in society, cultural identity of nations within the EU, shaping national separateness of EU countries as well as EU unity and also cultural policies related to the Union’s relations with other nations and communities.
Theatrical presentations which we could see during last editions of ITSelF festival indicate that the awareness of democratic issues increases each year. Young people are taking now their matters into their own hands and realize the performances of the topics that directly affect them almost on their own. The examples of these kind events include Romanian presentations reflecting on tightening legislation of family definition or Belgian shows considering the readiness of “old Europe” to confront a dynamic immigration wave.
Many AT projects concerning the responsibility for unification as well as the role of the European Union for individual countries ( f.e. “Odyssey” implemented under the PLETA organization) resulted in the increased number of engaged performances and social debates during ITSelF Festival. Meetings of students and professors from various universities – more or less formal – result in uncommon acts of subordination as f.e. the confrontation of Israeli and Iranian participants. These people would be probably never able to talk in “normal” non-festival conditions. During ITSelF they stay together, share experiences and are able to discuss even the most difficult issues. Our initiative allows them to start a normal dialogue what is one of the most important festival effects.
This dialogue is continued during festival conferences. The theme of 2019 edition – “Actor emancipated” – will concern the subjective role of the actor who not only ceases to be a passive performer of the director’s willingness but also becomes an active partner in the creation of the performance as well as an active player in the international culture circulation. Independent artistic collectives which are now created between European festivals, artistic syndicates applying together for different grants, groups of artists that are not connected with a specific place or country but which are linking artists of different nationalities prove significant progress of cross-borderless in culture as well as a need of refreshment the old formula of cultural institutions.