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Labas! International Early Years Festival opened on Sunday May 6th at the civic education centre in the presidential palace in Vilnius, Lithuania. The festival is a collaboration between smallsize members Cliodhna Noonan and Dalia Mikoliunaite. It is supported by the Ministry of Culture in Lithuania and the Lithuanian Arts Council.
This year, the focus of the festival is citizenship and human rights. We pose the question when does citizenship begin and what does it really mean?
Our festival includes two mobile exhibitions for the various venues on the programme. Karalienes Mortos students put together a beautiful art exhibition about their reflections on human rights. The Irish Embassy sponsored a tailormade edition of the Charter of Rights of the Child to Art and Culture – now in the Lithuanian language also. Our volunteers come from the IB1 programme at Vilnius Licejus and we feel that this year, we are striving for a high level of inclusion – especially of young voices and next generation ideas!
We were particularly pleased to welcome Benas Kundelis from Rokiskis with a presentation about a youth project initiated in his region which also covered the topic of citizenship.

Labas! features a strong regional element. Every year, the artists who are available mid-week travel by bus to a different region of Lithuania to perform. In the past we have covered Moletai and Anyksciai. This year we will all go to the beautiful spa town of Birstonas!!!

As the festival grows and awareness is raised of our collaboration in the region, we hope to build bridges between the arts and education sectors. We were thrilled to welcome, for the first time, the vice minister for education Mr. Gražvydas Kazakevičius to the opening ceremony!
This year we welcome participants from South Africa (Assitej’s very own Yvette Hardie!), Flanders (Nyira Hens), Germany (Claudia Mayer and ONavio Theatre), Greece (Emily Kml of The Little Foxes), Latvia (Zimejumu Theatre), Ireland (Helen Barry) , Croatia (Puna Kuca Theatre) and Denmark (Passepartout Theatre)! Alongside the Lithuanian participants (Teatriukas, Labai Teatras, Kristina Savickaite and Trys Parsukai Theatre). It is an important learning curve understanding how to secure financial support for international participation and we are extremely grateful to all the embassies and cultural institutes who have helped us make our dreams come true!
We are always on the lookout for smallscale, mobile performances and workshops for Labas! For more information please contact or
Photo: Ludo Segers

Cliodhna Noonan  / Acting Up! Early Years Arts

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