From March 19-23, The European Shakespeare Festivals Network met for their Annual General Meeting as part of the International Shakespeare Festival in Armenia – it was a historic occasion in the history of the Network as for the first time, all members were able to be present at the same meeting. We were in Armenia at the invitation of Hakob Gazanchayan, who is the director of the Festival. Over a four day period, we were treated to a feast of theatre, with performances of King Lear, Julius Caesar and King John, and it was fascinating to see the range of theatrical style and to witness the Armenian passion for Shakespeare. At press conferences, in presentations and in general discussions, all the delegates were amazed by the widespread level of interest and the deep knowledge and love of Shakespeare that is embedded in Armenian theatre. New relationships were forged, and plans prepared for exciting future collaborations.
The Network is grateful to Hakob for his invitation and generous hospitality, and to all his colleagues in the theatres we visited for their warm and enthusiastic welcomes. An especial thanks goes to Hakob’s colleague Lilit for preparing such a wonderful itinerary, for translating for us in every situation and for guiding us round the country and sharing its stories and beauty with us.
During the meeting exciting projects have been planned and developed, and we are all looking forward to developing these at our festivals.