Diversity in unity
Merlin International Theater celebrates EU accession with a series of mini festivals
written by Anita Brkanic
Cultural exchange plays a vital role in getting to know our fellow nations. Aiming to build up a sense of community in the countries awaiting EU accession in 2004, Merlin International Theater in Budapest will attempt to introduce the cultural life as well as the long-established and new values of the 9 nations that enter the Union together with Hungary in May this year. Entitled “BeugrĆ³,” the festival promotes international co-operation and friendship through theater, dance, music performances, literary readings, and gastronomy. The aspiration is to give a portrayal of all newly joining countries with the assistance of regional cultural institutes. Apart from that, the purpose of the program series is to boost the realization of the international partnership proclaimed by the Community. Therefore, the festival does not only wish to satisfy the curiosity of Hungarian audiences, but aims at developing a long-term exchange of ideas between the countries presented. The event series are expected to start in January 2004 and will last until May1, 2004, with a large-scale party planned for April 30 and May 1, 2004 with the purpose of celebrating EU accession. Performances will be presented in their original native language with English subtitles, while other programs will be simultaneously translated to English.
At a press conference held on December 9, 2004 Budapest Mayor Gabor Demszky pointed out that “knowing a culture of a country helps understanding its people,” adding that Merlin will be the perfect host for these cultural events. As Jurgen Koppen, Head of the European Union Delegation to Hungary, put it, “In Europe we have diversity in unity.”
Some future events planned by the Merlin International Theater include producing brochures, CDs, and videos about all the participants and their productions, as well as developing an interactive website for the event series. “This is another step to bring the new EU reality to citizens of Hungary and the citizens of other countries of Europe,” said Koppen.
Schedule dates for the presentation of the countries: mini-festivals organized on weekends
· 15-18 January Czech Republic
· 29 January -1 February Slovakia
· 12-15 February Slovenia
· 26-29 February Poland
· 11-14 March Estonia
· 25-28. March Latvia
· 1-4 April Lithuania
· 15-18 April Malta- Cyprus