Let's go to a theatre which, throughout the years, enjoyed the presence of famous stage directors such as Silviu Purcarete and Alexandru Dabija.
“I don’t think there exists a locality around the world with a population of 120 thousand people who can boast their own theatre, which is new, elegant, and provided with state-of-the-art facilities like this one. I will write a message to the International Theatre Institute to report this absolutely unique case”.
This is what Romanian theatre legend, actor Radu Beligan, said about the “Anton Pann “ Theatre based in the southern Romanian town of Ramnicu Valcea. Throughout the years, the theatre enjoyed the presence of famous stage directors such as Silviu Purcarete and Alexandru Dabija.
The Anton Pann theatre was set up in May 1990, being the continuator of 100-year old local theatrical tradition. We recall that between the 1960s and the 1980s the People’s Theatre in Ramnicu Valcea used to be one of Romania’s best amateur theatres. In recent years, two of the best performances staged at the theatre were “Lapusneanul” (Ruling Prince Lapusneanu) directed by Dan Micu and “The Little Square” staged by Silviu Purcarete.
For more than a decade now, the theatre manager has been stage director Adrian Roman, who has pumped a lot of “young blood “ into his theatre. ” For quite a few years now we have been trying to bring young people to the theatre. The “Anton Pann” Theatre has its roots in a people’s theatre, an amateur theatre, and when I took over in 2000 I wanted to turn it into something professional. And I began with the graduates of the drama school in Craiova. Two years ago I contacted the theatre in Cluj and I brought half of the class coached by professor Miklos Bacs, whom I admire as a professor and as a man, as he’s someone who creates a very special attitude in his students. They are not only young actors, they are people with an extraordinary attitude towards work, towards theatre and the stage, which is something I had not previously seen at the other generations working for the Anton Pann Theatre. “
Adrian Roman will next tell us about the directors he brings to the Anton Pann theatre: ”I have been trying to bring over stage directors who are friends of the Anton Pann Theatre and who like to return here. We cannot afford very famous directors as they are more expensive. So we bring friends who like our theatre, because Anton Pann is a wonderful theatre, they work well with the actors; here at Ramnicu Valcea the actors actually live in the theatre, which does not happen in Bucharest for instance, so it’s easier to meet them and work thoroughly. In the summer we also organize workshops, since we can afford to provide accommodation. We also have a very beautiful rooftop terrace and a very beautiful rehearsal room, also on the theatre building’s rooftop. Those who came here saw all that and promised to come back with interesting projects. We are trying to create a strong team capable of taking the theatre towards a certain direction. “
Adrian Roman will tell us about the direction the Anton Pann theatre is now heading towards: ”We mainly rely on a young public. A team of young actors draws a young audience. We could see that for ourselves. They are also more open and more mobile, since mobility is something crucial outside Bucharest, where people are a bit more sluggish. And they learned that the Anton Pann Theatre has a good team that stages good shows. People of a certain age choose those shows featuring great, famous actors. But we are now forming an audience. We also have an animation theatre team which puts up shows for children.”
One of the theatre directors who is very fond of the Anton Pann Theater is Cristi Juncu. He staged, for the first time in the 2013-2014 theater season, a deeply emotional show entitled “The Belgrade Trilogy”, by Biljana Srbljanovic, about the life of immigrants in Prague, Sidney and Los Angeles. The 10 very young actors of the theatre company have been cast in the show. One of them is Vlad Birzanu, who graduated last year from the “Babes-Bolyai” University in Cluj-Napoca, the class of Miriam Cuibus. Vlad Birzanu has been nominated for the UNITER Awards (the Prizes of the Theatres’ Union in Romania), the debut category, for the role of Flaut, in the show “A midsummer night’s dream”, staged by Botos Bálint at the Anton Pann Theatre.
At a time when young actors have no many other choices than becoming independent actors, Vlad Bârzanu prefers the status of employed actor. “It is true that there is such a tendency, but I am very satisfied with my status, because first of all I belong to a team that I like and which I knew even before coming here, because most actors are former colleagues of mine. Furthermore, it’s very good to have a safe job nowadays, when many new actors graduate every year, without having the slightest idea of where to start from. When somebody tells you: look, I’ve seen you on stage and I would like you to come to my theatre, you say ‘wow! Of course, I’ll come!’ It is very good for me to have a certain amount of certainty, I am near Bucharest, I can go to school to take my MA degree. Things are going very well.”
Both on a comical and a dramatic note, the “Belgrade Trilogy” dwells on the challenges and difficulties youngsters are facing, in their effort to get integrated into their countries of adoption.
The Anton Pann Theatre in Ramnicu Valcea managed to have its own building on September 25th 2009, a historic day when the first theatre building, designed, built and equipped like a professional theatre opened its doors in Valcea County. The building is made up of two halls, an exterior amphitheatre, a rehearsals room, a terrace and accommodation facilities. In brief the building housing the Anton Pann Theatre is one of the most modern and functional theatre buildings in Romania.