Rehearsing the Imagination

It would be nice to commence this introduction on a cheerful note, saying perhaps that new and better times lie ahead. But we are living amid rather chaotic circumstances and evasive value systems, and still cannot tear ourselves away from deepening social imbalances. Despite the revolt that we have seen, a palpable vision of tomorrow is yet to be articulated.

It was precisely ten years ago that we optimistically inaugurated the new Ljubljana venue for contemporary performing arts – Stara mestna elektrarna – by none other than the Mladi levi festival.

Year after year, Mladi levi waves goodbye to the summer and marks the beginning of a new season. In the course of the last decade, this unique technical monument has hosted numerous local and foreign artists, whose talent and persistence have breathed new life into these old walls. Stara elektrarna has become a dynamic and vibrant artistic hub of Ljubljana and the Tabor neighbourhood.

This year’s festival programme has been put together from mainly research- and documentary-based approaches and content, as real-life stories continually transition from reality into fiction, and then back to solid ground. On the stage, before our eyes, the destinies of people, who have found themselves in front of the conflicting turning points of personal or social circumstances, shatter to smaller and smaller pieces. Through the intimate sphere, they bring us closer to the phenomena of globalisation, pressure, and the aspirations of either the current or the previous generation, or even the generations to come. These are not big or romantic stories, but rather stories of the everyday. With their delayed action they speak of how to take a step back, how to go wild, how to push yourself to the limits of exhaustion and then compose yourself again, and how to establish some distance and with it all, or possibly even create a new story. Instead of falling victim to bitter self-pity or to fatalistic catastrophism and resignation, these performances are sheer action seeking to understand and read the present, and history as well. They are also stories about how to rehearse one’s good mood and imagination for new alternative futures.

Nevenka Koprivšek

Perhaps exactly these things – a seemingly idle run and fragmentation to prime factors and chaos – should be seen as an opportunity to establish a new order; a new sequence, and new relationships. This is another reason that islands and autonomous territories of bold thought must be established; in order to function as some kind of laboratory, within which these systems can be tested, re-invented, and trained for new and better times, for a more humane society. And one of these archipelagos is being ensured by the Mladi levi festival and Stara elektrarna, which is why we believe that in Stara elektrarna this rather long period of non-binding and arbitrary arrangement
should be followed by the establishment of stabile conditions of functioning.

This is something we will achieve together, through a persistent search for new archipelagos and utopias, while also defending spaces of freedom, where not only tacitly foreshadowed, but also renowned creative potentials can come to life more fully, and bring us closer to a more palpable vision of the future – the one where we would like to live.

festival program


International festival Mladi Levi is one of the more prominent annual events of the Bunker Institute, bringing the most current stage performers from all over the world to Ljubljana every end of the summer, since 1998. It bears a mark of a demanding artistic profile, placed within the arena of contemporary progressive theatre and takes pride in its reputation for discovering young talents. The Festival has a distinctive atmosphere, marked with creativity and vibrant spirit, curious audience and social nature.

Festival Mladi Levi inhabits a place of encounters and surprises, continuously opening up to foreign artists and guests, who take pleasure in art and spread contemporary artistic or social topics in front of one another. It is a place of exchange as well as a cradle of new ideas, friendships and co-operations, which frequently extend beyond the local concepts or borders in the process of their growth.


Ticket reservation and information: +386 51 269 906,
Tickets have a symbolic price of 1 €. Volunteer contributions can be donated at all festival venues.
Tickets can be picked up and paid for at the box office of the event venue, which opens an hour before the beginning.