“The only permanent feature of our reality is change. Sometimes it happens slowly, other times it’s fast. Now it’s really fast. But this change doesn’t evidently mean pure improvement. With change, something new comes into existence, while something else gets lost. And sometimes we lose more than what we gain. This applies to arts as well as to common knowledge, to both questions and answers.What’s our job in a theatre? To react to change.But what does this mean? To keep afloat sinking values?To find something new and give it a name? To resist disliked tendencies?To stand up for those we find valuable?All of them.”
The Örkény Theatre is an ensemble of 25 actors in the heart of Budapest. It was established in 2004 in the building, which was earlier housing the Chamber of the Madách Theatre.
The mainly commercial profile of Madách changed into an artistic repertory which puts much more emphasis on the quality of the pieces. Surprisingly quickly, basically in two years, the Örkény Theatre has found a new and faithful audience for contemporary productions, as well as for new and courageous stagings of classical plays. An important part of the repertory is mounting plays that reflect social problems, and these plays vary from ancient Greek tragedies to contemporary foreign avantgarde pieces. New Hungarian plays also broaden the repertoire of this theatre.
Örkény considers its audience a partner and places special emphasis on daring experimentation. The appreciation of the audiences is visible when we look at the sales.
In the past few years, there has been an evolving Theatre in Education program, called IRAM, which offers insight into the life and work of the theatre for thousands of youngsters. In the meantime, the same team makes a huge effort to create an interactive, lively relationship with the audience, through after-show discussions and improvisations, quizes about the repertory and several other side programs under the name ÖrkényKÖZ (ÖrkényALLEY).
The theatre has also participated in a number of international events, such as the Nitra Festival, the Sibiu Festival, the Seoul Performing Arts Festival, the Desiré Festival, the Reflex International Festival and the TACT Festival, Tokyo.
Since the opening of the theater we have been working mainly with the same creative staff: Csaba Polgár, one of our leading actors who is also a well-known director often directing in Munich and Regensburg; Ildikó Gáspár, former dramaturge of our theatre who became a director in the last few years; as well as Pál Mácsai, the founding director of the theatre.
Returning directors include Tamás Ascher, former artistic director of the legendary Kaposvár Theatre and co-founder and director-in-residence of the highly acclaimed Katona József Theatre; János Mohácsi, who has a special working method to reconstruct classical plays; and László Bagossy, one of the most exciting artists of his generation, who regularly works abroad in Stuttgart and Vilnius.
The base of our ensemble is a converging creative community. It was originally formed by 16 actors and currently has 25 members, including multiple young artists who recently joined. With one of the best ensembles, brilliant new translations and adaptations by leading playwrights, the Örkény Theatre has established itself as one of Budapest’s leading city theatres with a broadening international reputation. Our performances do however rely on the audience’s imagination and engagement, based on the small size of our stages. Thanks to the integrative, innovative, and
sensitive artistic work during the past decade, Örkény Theatre has been rewarded with invitations to around seventy festivals and critics’ prizes so far.