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Rural alternative theatres where magical experiences await!

  • Szabó Sára
You can also see productions in a basement, bourgeois flat, pub or attic that can provide an unforgettable experience. These pieces are intimate, true and profound experiences: they entertain, touch and heal. But miracles can happen not only on the stage when we visit alternative theatres in the countryside: we may even find ourselves in the middle of a wild feast, arm in arm with the actors!
You can also see productions in a basement, bourgeois flat, pub or attic that can provide an unforgettable experience. These pieces are intimate, true and profound experiences: they entertain, touch and heal. But miracles can happen not only on the stage when we visit alternative theatres in the countryside: we may even find ourselves in the middle of a wild feast, arm in arm with the actors!

Debrecen – Páholy Apartment Theatre

One of the most beautiful apartment theatres of Hungary is located in Debrecen, and the Páholy Apartment Theatre is also on the top list in Europe - at least according to Péter Scherer. It is worth believing the Jászai Mari award-winning actor, but it is best to make a wonder of the Páholy Apartment Theatre yourself. The theatre with 73 places, which was started 10 years ago as a family business, is unique in several ways: the milieu of the Páholy is partly made up of heritage received from the spectators, but we can also find here the old chairs of the Csokonai National Theatre of Debrecen - those in which Éva Ruttkai and Zoltán Latinovits sat! In the theatre space created from a bourgeois apartment theatre lovers can enjoy a Bösendorfer piano, a Biedermeier salon set, and an auditorium that underwent a complete renovation a few years ago. And after watching the carefully selected guest productions, it is like dropping into a party: a buffet dinner, light compotation and friendly conversations await the guests in the Páholy.

“After the performances, my mother cooks dinner for 80 people, so the theatre experience does not end with the performance. By now, an audience of nearly 6,000 people formed, whom we just call spectator friends. Those guests who visit the Páholy regularly also visit the oDEon Theatre, which opened 5 years ago, where they can enjoy a more spacious space, a wider repertoire, and, in addition to guest performances, their own productions," says Veronika Végh, the hostess and production manager of the Páholy.

Győr – Rév Theatre

The RÉV Theatre is a gap-filling educational theatre company based in Győr, which primarily offers performances to primary and secondary school students, on a wide variety of topics and problems, always chosen for the age group: ostracism, cyberbullying, intimate partner violence, injustice, responsibility. In addition to all this, RÉV Győr offers theatre performances at several locations, for adults as well.

Their performance Irina, which starts from the men’s tale of Csaba Kiss woven from Chekhov's short stories, is shown from time to time at the Cultural Centre of Generations located in the heart of the city. Next to the location, there are several great cafes where a cake or coffee is always at hand, such as in the Fűszeres. Their site-specific performance "With joy, with abundance" can be seen in the basement of Lima Pub&Hostel.  In one of the best craft beer bars of the town, you can enjoy a glass of quality beers and wines before, during or after the performance. Their participatory theatre performance called Belém égsz can be seen in the Attic Theatre of the Győr National Theatre. In the production about the manipulation of relationships, the spectators are not only external observers, but they can shape the story themselves, they can give their opinions to the characters about each of their decisions, they can give them advice and guidance.

Szeged – Basement Theatre

“The Basement Theatre of Szeged was established 23 years ago for a very simple reason. After school, I was signed to Kecskemét, but I could not get used to it. I simply could never imagine my life anywhere else than in Szeged. Then Géza Bodolay opened the Üzemszínház in Kecskemét, which was a small studio theatre. This is where the idea came from, that since there is no studio theatre in Szeged, we would open one. We sold our flat in Pest and bought a basement in the street of the Little Theatre in Szeged. This is how it started," says Orsolya Kancsár, director of the Basement Theatre of Szeged and Kölcsey medallist actress, about the beginnings.

Since 2001, the basement theatre has been the first and only permanently operating studio theatre of the town, although treading the unbeaten path was not easy, as the director says: "In 2001, we spent New Year's Eve by painting the stage at midnight, we clinked glasses, and then we continued working.  There was also a case when the electrician came to turn off the electricity before a performance. We had to persuade him to come back the next day, when there was no performance," says Orsolya Kancsár, but since there was no studio theatre in Szeged, everything that was presented, and the way it was presented, was seen in a new way.

“The audience is so close that they see our every movement. It is a bit like watching a film. It is so intimate, you have to play it so real, and in one night you can go through such paths of life that are equivalent to a therapy.”

In the independent host theatre, you can see special studio performances, innovative, experimental productions and contemporary works. The basement theatre has already hosted several musical productions and musicals, but it is curiosity that a permanent actor-band also works here. And within the framework of their school initiatory theatre program, they try to expand the literary knowledge of young people.

Pécs – Escargo Room theatre and Gastro Space

Great location, friendly space, theatre, music and culture - the Escargo Room theatre and Gastro Space in Pécs is a truly lovable, multi-profile space. The alternative theatre located in the bustling university town is a melting pot of all things culture and entertainment! The alternative theatre in the bustling university town is a melting pot of all things that are culture and entertainment! In the room theatre’s repertoire, you can see both guest performances and own productions, from classic plays to underground adaptations, up to musical theatre performances and interactive talk shows. Looking at the annual calendar, we can even catch exciting stand-up evenings and concerts at Escargo, but young people are also offered opportunities to introduce themselves in the framework of children's performances, youth theatre performances, and student acting rehearsals.

“When we enter the Escargo Room Theatre, time stops. It is a place where it is good to be, and where art is present not only in the game, but also in the gastronomy. The creative food and drink selection of the buffet, which has a small but all the more exciting selection, further deepens the feeling of good to be, watch, listen and play here.”

Celldömölk – Soltis Lajos Theatre

If you are in Celldömölk, check out the Lajos Soltis Theatre in Celldömölk, which dates back almost half a century. The legal predecessor of the theatre, the Sitkei Theatre Circle, was established in 1980, from 1997, Lajos Soltis (actor and director from Vojvodina, later from Veszprém, the founder of the Vojvodina Farm Theatre), who has since died under tragic circumstances, formed an alternative theatre from the village actors. The theatre has been operating in Celldömölk since 2001, and its acting company is currently an outstanding rural player in the domestic independent, professional theatre world.

“Our theatre is a theatre with a colourful repertoire and a permanent acting company, and in our programme offer we try to serve all age groups with high-quality performances and cultural programmes. We play locally, in our chamber theatre located in the heart of Celldömölk, and we also play all over the Carpathian basin," says Arnold Pesti, theatre director.

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