The Slovenia Times

Slovenian theatre scene in Austria thriving

Culture
Klagenfurt, the regional centre of Austria's Carinthia. Photo: An┼że Malovrh/STA

Theatre is arguably the most popular and successful cultural platform of the sizeable Slovenian community in the Austrian Carinthia province and now a comprehensive bilingual web portal testifies to this thriving scene, featuring Slovenian, bilingual and multilingual theatre.

Created by the Slovenian Cultural Association (SPZ), one of the two main cultural organisations of the Slovenian community in Carinthia, the portal Slogled provides current information on theatre events and other activities among the community as well as an archive, texts, photos, videos, reviews and posters.

The portal features over 50 theatre and puppet theatre ensembles, six of them professional.

It has been set up at the initiative of Andrej Leben, a professor of Slovenian literature and cultural studies at the University of Graz, who has been studying the Slovenian theatre scene in the province for years.

Leben has highlighted the embrace of bilingualism and even multilingualism as a defining feature of the Slovenian theatre scene in Carinthia. This extends from the preparation of theatrical events to the staging of productions and communication with the audience.

"Another, less obvious characteristic is the high level of organisation. A third feature is the care taken with the development of young theatregoers, since most of the groups active in the bilingual environment are children's, youth, and puppet theatres," Leben wrote.

He has noted that Slovenian theatre companies in Carinthia stage around 20 or more new productions per season.

"The number of other productions, some of which are bilingual or multilingual, in which Slovenian theatre actors from Austrian Carinthia participate is similarly high. Almost 40 additional performances are recorded as part of guest appearances from Slovenia and elsewhere."

"In addition, there are reruns, mutual guest appearances by local groups, and guest appearances in Slovenia, with the Slovenian minority in Italy, and elsewhere, which has taken the total number of theatrical events in recent seasons to around 200 or more," Leben pointed out.

The SloGled portal was presented as part of the Carinthian Culture Days in Ljubljana, an annual festival featuring a series of events such as theatre shows, exhibitions, book launches and concerts. This year the festival is running between 6 and 14 March.

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