Established in the new building located in the very centre of the Lithuanian capital in the autumn of 2005, the State Small Theatre of Vilnius is one of the most attractive not only among the theatrical spaces, but among city’s cultural spaces in general. Theatrical spirit, specifically linking the past and presents times, bygone ages and modernism, can be sensed in the architecture, the interior and in the performances.
Having had no stage for many years and probably enjoying more fame abroad than in Lithuania, the State Small Theatre of Vilnius today is known by many: students and businessmen, artists and people who have nothing to do with art. Because the motto of the State Small Theatre of Vilnius is An Open Theater, its essence is to make a contact with everyone coming to performances in this theatre, to speak a language everyone understands, and at the same time to use the language of top artistic achievement. Openness of the State Small Theatre of Vilnius has also a practical side: it is open for different artistic, cultural and other initiatives, educational and business events.
The State Small Theatre of Vilnius is located at 22 Gediminas Prospect, the main street in Vilnius, where at the beginning of the 20th-century a society Ruta, important for the Lithuanian culture, had functioned. Ruta was arranging concerts, lectures, also theatre performances. Most prominent cultural people of that time and signatories of Independence Act were taking part in the activities of the society. From the beginning the building was surrounded with the spirit of exceptionality, legend aura, related with famous names of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis – a most prominent Lithuanian painter and symbolist; also with other famous names like Czeslaw Milosz, Jaschos Heifetz. The architecture of the building is also exceptional: the auditorium has a unique glass block ceiling; only two ceilings of this kind have survived in all the Europe - here, in Vilnius, and in Prague. The stage of the Small Theatre of Vilnius is also unusual: different from any other theatre, it is not black but light. The interior of other premises of the theatre features a stylish connection between the authentic style of convergence of the 19th and 20 centuries, and modernism.
But the Small Theatre of Vilnius attracts its audience not only with its exceptional architecture or legends, but also with a repertoire of a high artistic realisation. Still having no home of its own, the theatre was travelling extensively, and has gained the international acclaim a long time ago. The productions staged by the director Rimas Tuminas The Cherry Orchard, Smile upon us, Lord , Masquerade, Madagascar have visited many countries - from Sweden to Italy, from South Korea to Mexico - and were awarded with numerous prestigious prizes. In 1999, after the Masquerade tour in Great Britain, the performing company of the State Small Theatre of Vilnius was lauded by English press as one of the best in the world. Certainly, not only the original direction skills and pedagogical talent of Rimas Tuminas but also an exceptional ensemble of actors having evolved over the course of many years, adds to this success.
The repertoire of the State Small Theatre totals to over ten performances, most of them were staged by the theatre manager Rimas Tuminas. The Open Theater, fostered by Tuminas, is a theatre of freedom, contrivance and ease. It is a theatre divergent by its faithfulness to the cultural memory and traditions, attentiveness to "old-fashioned” notions and feelings. “You must celebrate the life in theatre. You must open abysms to make a spectator giddy from life, to make him fall in love for at least a moment”, Tuminas says. His theatre is a meeting place for life feast participants.