The Pécs Countrywide Theatre Meeting is an annual festival in Pécs, which is in the South-West of Hungary, spread out at the foot of the Mecsek Mountain. It is a city with a mediterranean mood, the edges of town dotted with vineyards, the city centre packed with ancient remains from Roman, Turkish, and 19th century industrial times. This is where each year some of the best theatre companies and actors gather to perform their best acts and to celebrate art, theatre and drama.
This is a week long festival and the mood is fantastic throughout: there are events from the early morning until the late evening, for every age group. Creative playhouses, doll making, paly-acting for younger children, drama and interesting psychology sessions for teenagers, and serious plays, interviews, conversations club, vine tasting sessions at art galleries and such at bars, theatres and museums across town. The fun starts around 9am in the morning and it doesn't stop until 2-3am in the morning.
My biggest regret with this festival has always been that during it all the hotels and hostels and motels of the town are fully booked so it can be hard to invite friends and family and have everyone stay together, and that there are so many plays performed and so many interesting side events - concerts, discussions with translators, authors, directors, composers, surprise shows and performances - that it is simply impossible to participate even in half of it.
The festival is held usually at the beginning of summer, so the weather is already pleasantly warm during the days, around 25 degrees, and balmy at night, between 15-20 degrees. It is possible to walk around in lighter clothing through the ancient cobblestoned streets and parks of Pecs, enjoy the very special and unique mood of the place and visit some of the many strange and half-hidden pockets of life at night.
It is one of my favourite festivals and I hope I can visit it again someday when I'm in Hungary during that period of the year.
The town centre of Pecs at night, with the historical djami in the middle
The Zsolnay Cultural Quarter, a prestigious over a hundred years old pottery and ceramics factory. It is one of the locations of the festival