Words of welcome from the Lithuanian Minster of Culture Šarūnas Birutis

Nordwind, which has been blowing for the last six years, is rapidly turning into a cultural whirlwind carrying with it new territories, scenes and names. I am delighted that this gust of wind is now blowing through Lithuania.

In recent decades, Lithuania has built up an extensive contemporary theatre network, with strong ties to theatre culture internationally. It is said that Lithunaia, despite its size, boasts more remarkable and talented directors than other European countries. We are proud of our directors Oskaras Koršunovas, Eimuntas Nekrošius and Rimas Tuminas, who are well-known to audiences beyond our national borders. These directors play an important part in the dramatic arts, not only in Lithuania but also in Scandinavia, Italy and Russia.

The NORDWIND audience have the opportunity of seeing a production by the renowned mid-generation Lithuanian director, Oskaras Koršunovas. It is hard to imagine the Lithuanian theatre scene without Theater OKT / Vilnius City Theatre, set up by Koršunovas. His staging of The Lower Depths which won the award for best production in 2010 in Lithuania will be performed at NORDWIND. This evening will showcase contemporary theatre of the highest level and new forms performance and directorial expression.

Step by step, NORDWIND Festival has developed into one of the major platforms for the development of intercultural dialogue between Germany and the Nordic and Baltic countries. The importance of the festival cannot be overstated in promoting our cultural wealth and in increasing our awareness of a shared cultural sphere. I hope that the wind maintains its chosen direction and strength for the future and that the festival continues to bring together artists and creative people.

I wish all those taking part in the festival inspiration, the audience excitement and the organisers success. I hope that with the expansion of the festival’s cultural landscape, all festival-goers will find Lithuanian theatre to be a worthwhile discovery.

Šarūnas Birutis

Minister of Culture, Lithuania




“NORDWIND has grown from a small festival, founded in Berlin in 2006, to the main platform for the exchange of Scandinavian, Baltic and German artists, in this its fourth season (...)”

Welt am Sonntag, 04.12.2011

NORDWIND is the interdisciplinary platform for the Nordic arts and culture and acts as a network, co-producer and discoverer. NORDWIND’s aim is to raise the profile of Nordic and Baltic artists, theatre and culture-makers in Germany and to introduce them to an international audience, to embrace and share new artistic impulses as well as to promote a European-wide exchange between Germany and the Nordic and Baltic countries.

NORDWIND was founded as a biennial festival in 2006 and has continuously grown both structurally and financially. Since its beginnings, the number of invited productions and along with the audience has increased almost tenfold. Accordingly, the programme has become wider in terms of the aesthetics, content and artistic disciplines represented. Last time the festival took place in in Berlin and Hamburg in November and in December 2011. More than 120 artists from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Estonia participated. An audience of 7,500 including international artists attended more than 70 events; 192 regional, national and international media organisations reported on the festival.

NORDWIND is Europe's largest and most important platform for the Nordic arts. In the coming years, NORDWIND will have a greater presence. With a multitude of Nordic, German and international partners the NORDWIND network is set to continuously expand.

After primarily presenting itself as a discovery platform for the performing arts from the Nordic countries in past years, NORDWIND is now becoming more involved as co-producer, initiator and promoter. Independently of the festival, NORDWIND wants to act more and more as a partner and platform, to strengthen the network and to initiate a strong international exchange. The NORDWIND Festival which will continue to take place every two years will present the results of the platform and document the richness and innovativeness of the Nordic arts and culture.


Core Countries

Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway are the so-called core countries of NORDWIND. NORDWIND is making more and more connections with the Baltic States, which are culturally influenced by Scandinavia as well as the by their Soviet past. The Nordic and Baltic countries hold more differences than similarities and can hardly be called one cultural area. Each country has a specific history and is shaped by very different influences and events, politically, socially and culturally, which give them a very particular character and a strong sense of national identity. Still, there are similarities. In relation to the space, few people live in Europe's North. The terrain at the border to the Arctic is dangerous, nature is always present and has a visible influence on everyday life. Winters are long, dark and cold, summers short and light, the distances are vast - one can really experience time and space. One similarity the Nordic countries share is their awareness of their geographical position at the edge of Europe, more or less isolated from the ‘mainland’ of Europe. Whether it is due to this isolation or the long winter nights, the Nordic countries are famous for their bold innovations and for their pioneering spirit, which often makes them instigators and trend setters - be it in political, academic, technical or cultural fields. The different art scenes are strong, diverse and creative. They surprise again and again with brave experiments and proud radicalism, without craving admiration.

Nordic and Baltic scene protagonists, active internationally, such as Kristian Smeds, SIGNA, Vinge & Müller, Hooman Sharifi, Alvis Hermanis, have essentially shaped and enhanced the perception of Nordic theatre aesthetics abroad. The independent art scene still has to develop under difficult structural and financial conditions in part, especially in the Baltic countries. The national scenes are each small and hermetic.

The consequence is, on the one hand, the remarkable, distinctive and constant aesthetic style. On the other, there is a lack of external input for them to rub up against, and the concomitant possibility for confrontation and further development. To obtain financial support and to realise artistic exchange, the Nordic and Baltic countries are networking ever more with increasing success. However, their connection to the international market and its aesthetic discourse still remains weak. Also international awareness of the Nordic scene is relatively slight. Hence, many Nordic and Baltic artists have decided to work abroad and moved, to Berlin, for instance. The countries rely on a lively exchange and connection to the European mainland in order to set up their own cultural scenes and support their specific needs, to design their cities as attractive venues with a lively cultural scene for artists and producers from home and abroad.

Apart from the fruitful confrontation with other artistic positions and new aesthetic impulses, the dialogue between German artists and the Nordic countries offers important perspectives in relation to alternative practices in art, society and politics, as well as new possibilities to enter a discourse on these. An example is the major success in artistic research, which is interdisciplinary, connecting science and art, as well as cultural education. This is a significant contribution to learning and understanding in a playful way at an early age. The attraction of the ‘Swedish Model' for German politicians is proof of how closely the cultural and social debate in the Nordic countries is being followed.


Partners and Networks

NORDWIND’s German venues

- Berlin: HAU Hebbel am Ufer |

- Hamburg: Kampnagel Kulturzentrum |

- Dresden: HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts |


Further Partners currently being planned

- Düsseldorf: Kunstakademie Düsseldorf |

- Düsseldorf: Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus |

- Switzerland: Theaterhaus Gessnerallee, Zurich |

- Switzerland: Neumarkttheater Zurich |

- France: Théâtre de Gennevilliers, Paris |

- Austria: Brut Wien, Vienna |

- Austria: Schauspielhaus Wien, Vienna |

- Austria: ImPulsTanz - Vienna International Dance Festival |

- Poland: Warsaw Film Festival |

- Ukraine: Centre of Contemporary Art »DAKH«, Kiev |

- Belgium: Dansand! Festival, Ostende |

- USA: Under the Radar Festival, New York |


The Nordic Partners and Venues

-Denmark: Betty Nansen Teatret |

-Norway: CODA Oslo International Dance Festival Oslo |

-Norway: Black BOX Oslo |

-Sweden: Inkonst, Malmö |

-Iceland: Lokal Festival |

-Finland: Baltic Circle Festival, Helsinki |

-Finland: Zodiak Center for New Dance, Helsinki |

-Latvia: New Theatre Institute of Latvia |

-Estonia: Von Krahl Theatre, Tallinn |

-Estonia: Kanuti Gildi Saal, Tallinn |

-Lithuania: Vilnius City Theatre |

NORDWIND in cooperation with 

Nordic Culture Fund, Nordic Culture Point, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Norway, The Norwegian Association for Performing Arts, Danish Performing Arts Agency, Arts Council Finland , Finnish Theatre Information Centre, Swedish Arts Council, Swedish Institute, Finnish Institute in Germany, Cultural Fund for Sweden and Finland, Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Embassy of Finland, Embassy of Norway, Embassy of Sweden, Embassy of Iceland, Embassy of Denmark, Embassy of Estonia, Ministry for Culture of Estonia, Finland's Consulate General, Hamburg, ESEK, ROSA – The Danish Rock Council