Oskaras Koršunovas


The theatre and opera director Oskaras Koršunovas (born 1969) is the most prominent member of the middle generation of Lithuanian theatre directors, who has created over 60 theatre productions, in Lithuania and in various theatres abroad. He graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in 1993 with a BA, and an MA in theatre directing. While still a student, he presented his trilogy There To Be Here (Ten būti čia, 1990), The Old Woman (Senė, 1992) and Hello Sonya New Year (Labas Sonia Nauji Metai, 1994), on the main theatre stages in Lithuania and later abroad, based on the 20th-centry Russian avant-gardists Daniil Kharms and Alexander Vvedensky, which revealed an utterly new language of directing that had not been practised in Lithuanian theatre before.

Later, he turned to analysing the socio-cultural environment, and began staging plays by contemporary dramatists, becoming the first director to explore society in independent, post-Soviet Lithuania, and its conflicts and relationships. Koršunovas’ work is described as a combination of classic and contemporary theatre: his stagings of plays by Mark Ravenhill, Marius von Mayenburg, Jon Fosse and Sarah Kane influenced works based on Sophocles, W. Shakespeare, M. Bulgakov and A. Strindberg, and vice versa.

The independent Oskaras Koršunovas Theatre (OKT) was born in 1999, bringing new actors, set designers and composers to Lithuanian theatre, and also contributing to the formation of a new generation of theatregoers. Productions by the OKT/Vilnius City Theatre (the name given by the city since 2004) participated in festivals around the world, including the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival in the UK, and the Festival d’Avignon in France.

Koršunovas taught at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre between 1997 and 2001, and returned there again in 2012. The class that he selected and supervised graduated in 2016, and the final productions that Koršuno vas created with the young actors became part of the OKT repertoire.

Koršunovas has received over 30 national and international theatre awards. He is a laureate of the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Art (2002). He is a Chevalier of the second degree Order of Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, and the Swedish Royal Order of the Northern Star. He is also a winner of the prestigious New Theatre Reality Prize (2002) and the V. Meyerhold Prize (2010), and a Chevalier of the French Order of Arts and Letters (2009). He has received three Golden Cross of the Stage awards (2004, 2011 and 2012).

One of the latest works directed by Koršunovas in Lithuania is Molière’s comedy Tartuffe (Tartiufas), put on at the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre in 2017. He sought to link the text written during the reign of the Sun King to the country’s current political realities. Impressive artificial green hedges on the stage mislead the main characters, and entangle them in intrigues of their own making. The outstanding cast of actors in the production create many scenes that make audiences laugh out loud. However, the director chose not the happy ending offered by Molière, but a foreboding about conformist Tartuffes, who aim to take over other people’s lives, hiding under the mask of well-wishers concerned for the good of their nation.