Meno Fortas (Fortress of Art) was established in 1998 on the strength of the critical acclaim of the staging of Hamlet by Eimuntas Nekrošius and as a result of the director’s stepping down as artistic director of the LIFE Festival. 

Meno Fortas occupies the historical site of the former printing house in the Old Town of Vilnius. The venue provided sufficient space to create a rehearsal room and even a small stage with a modest auditorium, but the Fortress of Art was not large enough to stage full-sized five-hour-long signature performances that Nekrošius was known for. That is why for the last two decades of his life Nekrošius held rehearsals of his Vilnius stage works here and only for the three days before the opening night did he relocate his rehearsals to the full-scale stages of the National Theatre or Pohuliankos teatras that he rented. Or he took his entire crew to Italy to premiere the finished work at a festival or in a venue owned by its co-producer.

To Nekrošius, Meno Fortas was not only a place of work where he always returned to, and a comfortable workshop space for young actors, actresses, and directors that we collaborated with, but most primarily his refuge that he sheltered himself in against the gossipy and politicized side of Vilnius. Justifiably, Meno Fortas serves also a manifestation of his ideas and encapsulates his conscious creative declaration. As an artist, Nekrošius did not need much to create his theatre – some vacant lot, a few props and his devoted cast, but – after all – he relied on institutional support.

Entitled Eimuntas Nekrošius’ Fortress of Art (Eimunto Nekrošiaus meno fortas), the exhibition is an attempt to showcase the Lithuanian theatre director’s primary artistic principles. It is comprised of drawings, sketches, props, physical objects from his stage productions, private snapshots and archival photographs documenting the process of creating his theatre performances, including Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, The Song of Songs, Faust, The Idiot, and Divine Comedy. The aim of the exhibition is to offer a unique perspective on Eimuntas Nekrošius’ theatre world. The exhibition is curated by the late director’s son and wife – Marius Nekrošius and Nadežda Gultiajeva. As Eimuntas Nekrošius’ creative associates, they were responsible for the set design and costumes of all his productions from 1998 onwards.

In 2019, the exhibition will be presented in Naples (Italy), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Lublin (Poland), and Vilnius (Lithuania) and in Athens in 2020.