Our Gruesome Cultural Heritage:
Riga at Daugavrgīva Fortress – Uncontrollable
and Controlled

organized by New Theatre Institute of Latvia

May 19–30, 2020

Fortress, Riga, Latvia

In partnership with Arts Academy of Latvia, Latvian Academy of Culture, and Bolderaja group


The third workshop in the collaboration between Norway, Latvia and Cyprus will take place in Riga at Daugavrgīva Fortress. This military heritage site in the periphery of Riga, where it borders with the Baltic sea, has been a closed, autonomous unit ever since its construction until the beginning of the 1990s, inhabited and used by military contingents of different geopolitical formations. Today the place, once a masterpiece of military and industrial architecture built by Swedish Empire in the 17th Century, represents the collision of natural evolvement and humanly erected structure, the uncontrollable and the controlled, which stand at the core of performance and scenography.


Our workshop will look at three aspects:

After WWII and Soviet occupation more than 150 families were displaced to release living facilities for the military personnel. After 1945 the territory of the Fortress was divided into a closed military zone and a prison camp. In the camp people who did not support the new government were kept before being sent to Siberia.


In 1975 a riot took place on the navy ship “Storozhevoj” (The Guardian) protesting against the politics of the Soviet power. The captain was taken into hostage and the ship navigated towards the Baltic sea border of the USSR.  The Soviet navy and air force were ordered to dump the ship including its entire crew. The damaged ship was brought back and anchored next to Daugavgrīva Fortress, but surviving rebels were arrested and sentenced to death in Moscow for betrayal of the country.

Designed in the form of six-rayed star the Fortress stands in the territory where the city (today it’s surrounded by one of the most densely populated neighborhoods) meets the nature (the mouth of Daugava river). Gradually taken over by nature, the abandoned, half-vanished structures still bear the names of stars, constellations and animals once given by its creators: Morning star, South Pole and North Pole, Ursa Major, Starfish, Sea eagle, Dolphins, Scotoplanes.


Performance and scenography is an art field, which creates potentialities for yet unknown events to take place; precisely framing and triggering the uncontrollable as its key agency. The international students and young creatives will investigate local structures, human built and natural, to reflect on the topics of conflict, isolation and Anthropocene, its consequences and possible counter-movements. Also this workshop will finish with created experiences engaging local communities from the neighboring areas and expanding according topics in a larger practice-bound discourse.