On 22 August 2022, the 40th anniversary season opening of the Katona József Theatre in Budapest took place, and the first readings of the first performances were held.
At the beginning of the meeting, we stood in silence in memory of our colleague and friend Marianna Méreg, Head of the Sewing Department, who passed away this summer. We also bowed our heads in memory of Peter Brook, one of the most influential theatre-makers of all time.
Gábor Máté, artistic director, said, "This year marks 40 years since Gábor Zsámbéki staged Chekhov's The Wood Demon on the independent Katona stage. We are proud that the workshop founded by Gábor Székely and Gábor Zsámbéki is still considered the leading artists' theatre in the country after four decades.”
But even though we are celebrating our 40th season, we are of course not spared the economic difficulties and the brutal increase in overhead expenses. Since the theatre does not receive any additional funding we have to find the resources ourselves. We are trying to do this in such a way that no show or performance has to be abandoned and that work can go ahead as planned in all the venues.
In addition, the past period has not made life any easier for domestic cultural operators. Unfortunately, the role of the theatre has often been in the background in the face of the epidemic, the war in our neighbourhood, the economic and environmental crisis. At the same time, we believe that theatre does not lose its social importance in such challenging times.
While it is clear from the above that the current situation is not conducive to a joyous celebration, we would like to make this season special by modest means. In this spirit, we have asked Tibor Déry Prize-winning poet and literary translator Ádám Nádasdy to sum up our past four decades and to say a few words about the upcoming season.
The anniversary is also linked to the Sufni project. Gábor Zsámbéki is the head of the mentoring programme, which is open to applicants under 30 years of age. This year, the two winning applicants, writer and director Júlia Bagossy and dramaturg and director Balázs Dohy, will work with the company in Sufni.
In spring, in preparation for the anniversary, we started the process of renewing the logo and identity of our theatre, which has been in use for more than a decade. With a greater emphasis on colour and photography than ever before, the refresh will gradually renew the theatre's print publications, online and media presence over the coming weeks. Dániel Dömölky has also created a new series of portraits of the company's members.
As announced at the end of the season, Bence Béres and Júlia Mentes will join our company.
At the event, the 2021/22 Awards of the Vastaps Foundation were presented. The award is sponsored by Mastercard.
Jakab Tarnóczi - Melancholy Rooms
Best female lead actor:
Réka Pelsőczy - Moscow-Beijing Trans Symphony
Best male lead actor:
Bence Tasnádi - The Dead of The Kali Basin
Best supporting actress:
Andrea Fullajtár - The Dead of The Kali Basin
Best supporting actor:
Ferenc Elek - The Dead of The Kali Basin / God, Home, Family
Special award: András Dömötör - The Dead of The Kali Basin
Shortly before the opening of the season, we received the almost bewildering news that Katona has got a total of seventeen nominations in nine categories at this year's Theatre Critics' Awards, which the company received with a resounding ovation.