The history of the formation of Rezekne Theater can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century, but the collective acquired the status of the Folk Theater in January 1959, when Antons Varslavāns worked as a director. Since 1973, the Rezekne Folk Theater has been directed by Māra Zaļaiskalns.
In their free time, the Rezekne Folk Theater employs people of various professions who create, experiment and improvise on various topics, staging works by both foreign and Latvian and Latgalian authors. Directed by Māra Zaļaiskalns, the first production was by J. B. Priestly “The scandalous affair of Mr. Kettle and Mrs Moon”, but during the last 20 years more than 25 performances have been staged in the theater, for example, Francis Trasuns “Tu navaicoj manis, kaids asu” (2000), Latvian folk tale kaleidoscope “Do not trust in nonsense” (2007), Ulrich Hub “Meet at the Ark at Eight” (2013), Broņislavs Vaļpītrs “Patented intelligence or How Mikeļs wanted to get married” (2014), Vasily Shukshin “Kapron spruce. Psycho. Microscope” (2017) etc.
Rezekne Folk Theater has been organizing the International Theater Festival “Step by Step” in Rezekne every two years since 2000, within which groups from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Georgia, Israel etc., have visited Rezekne. The festival provides an opportunity to get acquainted with performances of various genres and shapes. After each performance, discussions take place, where creative teams meet with spectators and professionals (experts), exchange views and listen to the evaluation.
The Folk Theater regularly receives awards at the Latvian Amateur Theater production show “Perfomance of the year” and awards have been received for the best performance and director, as well as for the best costumes and scenography. The Folk Theater is a participant of the General Latvian Song and Dance Festival, the organizer of the 8th Latvian Folk Theater Meeting in Rezekne (1995), has visited almost all Latvian cities and participated in international festivals in Lithuania, Germany, Russia, Denmark, Spain, Austria, Tunisia, Belgium, Italy, Turkey, etc.
Rezekne Folk Theater director Māra Zaļaiskalns has directed several productions in collaboration with other folk art groups, including the poetry show “Piļsāta nikod napalīk tymss” (2012) in collaboration with the choir “Graidi”, literary musical play dedicated to the 150th birthday of Franz Trasun (2014) in collaboration with Jānis Ivanovs Rezekne Secondary Music School and dance group “Dziga”, performance “Re: FRICS” (2016) within the international festival “Baroque Music Days in Rezekne” in collaboration with “Kesselberg Ensemble” performed in Rezekne and Basel in Switzerland, opera pasticcio “A home for the Mutel” (2013) during the Baroque Music Days in Rezekne and Riga, during the organ music festival“ ORGANIsmi” musical performances “If I Was” (2016), “Sun. Children. Rainis” (2015), “One mind with another” (2017), were created in collaboration with organist Iveta Apkalnem in which also participated Renārs Kaupers and Jānis Ivanovs Rezekne Secondary Music School students.
Māra Zaļaiskalns has received several significant awards: Latgalian Culture of the Year Award “Boņuks” (2016 – for the performance “Beans”, 2015 – for the performance “Sun. Children. Rainis”, 2014 – for the production “Francis”, 2012 – for the poetry performance “Piļsātā nikod napalīk tymss”), the prize of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia in folk art for creatively bright contribution to folk art (1999), in 2016 she was awarded the highest state award and was appointed an officer of the Cross of Recognition.
More information about the theater’s history, repertoire and achievements can be found on the theater’s website.