Twenty-five years ago, “Schindler’s List” won the Oscar for Best Film, Bill Clinton took the oath of office as the 42nd US president, and Romania signed an association agreement with the European Union, thus beginning its European journey.

In Sibiu, a theatre festival was set up – nothing more than a crazy idea of a group of people in love with theatre and with the city. In time, the idea they sowed grew into one of the biggest international theatre festivals in the world. Not by magic, but step by step. Not with an imported recipe for success, but with people who relied on culture and who designed the Festival in direct relation to the community’s needs.

This year, the Sibiu International Theatre Festival is turning 25. Beyond the number of years, we see a Festival which grew orga­nically, and which inspired an entire city to invest in culture. A Festival which has reached maturity, and which built sustainable cultural programmes, with a view to building bridges between people, countries and cultures. It’s not just a collection of 25 repetitive festival editions, but a complex mechanism meeting the community’s needs. It has created urban regeneration spaces, such as Fabrica de Cultură, organized the Sibiu Performing Arts Market year after year, supported the Volunteering Platform, invested in young people’s education, attracted thousands of tourists and made the city visible on the world stage.

Unfortunately, the city of Sibiu has not been able to keep up with the development of this great Festival. Our cultural infrastructure is fragile, which is paradoxical for a city that has developed due to culture. And for us to keep everything we’ve built so far, we need investments in both spaces, and education. On its 25th anniversary, the Sibiu Theatre Festival speaks about Passion. It’s all we need to take further everything the Festival has given the community.