It is the fourth consecutive year in which we are preparing a special edition of Capital Cultural magazine dedicated to the Sibiu International Theatre Festival. The fourth year in which, from April to May, we try to go backstage at FITS.

We witness how a small team is formed from one man to the next, with yet another team on top of that and so on to create the big family of FITS organizers. We see these people working with dedication day and night, narrowing in on the ten-day period of the festival when all the work will be complete. If there is a small crack somewhere the next day the team already makes an effort to rethink, to rearrange, to reconsider the details. This is a grand-scale effort in a race against the clock. “The audience should be content”, this is what I keep hearing. The only wish is for the audience to have a wide variety of choices, to go to premieres, to enjoy concerts, dance performances, to be swept up in the whirlwind of street performances. The guests should feel rewarded by the applause they receive at the end of their performances. Because the guests themselves – directors, actors, dancers, musicians – also wish the same thing when they are on stage, for the audience to be content.

The audience. That means us, the people in the venues, the churches, the streets of Sibiu, the citadels and the surrounding parks. In a way, the audience is also on the stage within the mind of the artists, although we do not realize how crucial we are when we are gathered together, side by side, facing the stage. We give back to the other, without being conscious of it. But we do give.  Thus, we give back what art has already endowed us with: energy. The theatre confronts us with the emotions, thoughts and feelings of the other. The festival draws its force from this source. I believe that, in fact, each of us is living a festival of one’s own. With brilliant performances and disappointments, with unique meetings, with revelations, with hopes and expectations. This is what FITS has been offering us for 26 years. And FITS also includes the hundreds of people who are working backstage at the festival so that everything will be in its right place, the artists on stage and the people coming to see their performances.

A festival is alive through and for its audience. It brings life to the city and we only have to be present and to learn how to receive its gift in order to be able to offer our applause in return.