Estonian Theatre Festival 2014. The Art of Presence.

Robert Wilson's lecture

During the last day of the Drama festival, on September 7 at 11,  American director and artist Robert Wilson gives a lecture on “1 Have You Been Here  Before. 2 No This Is the First Time”. The lecture is in English and the event takes place in the conference hall of the Tartu Centre for Creative Industries (Kalevi 17).  During the three-hour event, Robert Wilson invites all the participants on a journey to his  
aesthetic world. Wilson’s career has been exceptionally prolific and his own works are the 
main topic of his lecture. Wilson offers an intimate glimpse into his creative process through 
photos and stories. 

  “First, I look around. I see something which has its own rules, structure and story. I look 
for contact. When we hear a sound, something completely different to just watching a silent 
play happens. I add sound later as an independent element. I work with sound separately. I 
turn the lights off in the room and concentrate on what I hear. It is hard to listen if you see 
something at the same time, it distracts. The best way to listen is with your eyes closed. Can 
I look at something which improves my listening experience – this is a challenge! I do not 
give meaning to what I do. This way, everyone can make their own connections. If I started to 
interpret, I would take away the possibility of other thoughts arising. I prefer to leave the ends 
loose,” Wilson says about listening, watching and making connections in theatre. 

 Robert Wilson is an experimental director from America who is considered to be one of the 
main founders of avant-garde theatre. Having been prevalent on the international theatre scene 
since his opera project, the monumental production of Philip Glass’s opera “Einstein on the 
Beach” (1976) which is nowadays considered to be part of the history of musical theatre, his 
works have influenced the development of contemporary theatre since the end of 1960s. 
Robert Wilson is currently preparing a music theatre production in Estonia together with Arvo 
Pärt which will premiere in May, 2015 in the Noblessner Valukoda. The organiser on the 
Estonian side is Eesti Kontsert.  
 
Online registration for the lecture opens on August 4 on the Drama festival homepage 
draama.ee
 
The lecture was made possible thanks to the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Embassy 
of the United States in Estonia.