Kaunas Full of Culture This January: To New Beginnings!

31 January, 2024, Kaunas Full of Culture | News, Topic of the month

“You don’t need to hurry to make your debut, the later you start, the better, because then you will have more experience.” This is roughly what Jonas Jurašas said to a very young Gytis Padegimas, who wanted to direct plays, around 50 years ago. Padegimas’ directorial debut took place in November 1973. You will be able to read more about that first play Karlsonas ir vėl pokštauja (Karlson is joking around again) in a book about one of the most prominent figures of the Kaunas theater written by theatre scholar Elvyra Markevičiūtė.

Stage debuts are usually well-documented. Some spectators and participants keep diaries. Things are different with fine art debuts. Sometimes after the author’s death, many decades pass before his first work is discovered tucked away in an attic somewhere or hanging in a village church. The first (and later) literary attempts can be signed by pen names. Sometimes out of timidity, and sometimes simply to separate lives. By the way, a new literary magazine titled Gegutė debuted just at the turn of the year and its list of authors includes both long-established and new names.

The most interesting thing is when the debut takes place in a new field after one has already achieved a lot – or even everything – elsewhere. We have previously interviewed Povilas Venta Kuprys, an educator, who ‘officially’ became a writer and slam poet only after retiring. Or, for example, Mantas Kalnietis from Žalgiris, who finished his basketball career and now works in football. Karolina Stažytė, a well-known current affairs journalist in Kaunas, has not stopped her career as a journalist at all – on the contrary, according to her, the passions for tour guiding and writing about current affairs complement each other perfectly. Karolina is one of the people interviewed for the first issue of 2024, which is symbolically dedicated to debuts and first times.

Cover artwork by Justas Jelisejevas

Museums are also making their debut. One of the newest in the city is the Kaunas Technical Museum recently established in the former stables. Its owner is also a novice in this field. We are also curious about what led to the founding of the Baltic New Art Gallery in the business centre. Painter Lukas Marciulevičius explains to us why he considers this year a year of debut ‘once again’. Actor Mantas Bendžius remembers how much has happened in the five years since graduating from the academy. Literary scholar Neringa Butnoriūtė, who loves books, tells us what the most important things when publishing your first book are. And Kaunas Photography Gallery allows you to look back 50 years when Virgilijus Šonta and Romualdas Požerskis made their debut.

Have a wonderful year! Perhaps 2024 will finally be marked by a long-delayed debut.