The city of Thessaloniki has the honor of hosting the XI Europe Theater Prize, the equivalent of a Nobel for European theater, awarded to outstanding personalities whose work has helped to strengthen cooperation between European states. The prize carries a cash purse of 60,000 euros. The event has been organized by the National Theater of Northern Greece – a member of the Union of European Theaters – in collaboration with the Europe Theater Prize and with the support of the Greek Ministry of Culture. Running until Sunday, the event will bring together notable playwrights from around Europe and a plethora of performances by established and up-and-coming ensembles. Last year’s installment of the 11-year-old ceremony was held in Turin, Italy, and the prize recipient was Harold Pinter. The Europe Theater Prize was created in 1986 as a pilot program by the European Commission and it has been recognized by the European Parliament and Council as a «European cultural interest organization.» The Union of European Theaters and the European Theater Convention are associate and supporting bodies; other associate bodies are the International Association of Theater Critics, the Mediterranean Theater Institute and the International Theater Institute UNESCO. The event also includes a 20,000-euro award titled New Theatrical Realities, which is aimed at assisting the emergence of new trends and innovations in European theater. The panel this year was made up of Lydia Koniordou (president), Sotiris Hadzakis, Demos Avdeliodis and Spyros Payiatakis, and the award was given to Biljana Srbljanovic (Serbia) and Alvis Hermanis (Latvia). For the main award, a panel already met in Turin earlier in the year and shared the prize between Robert Lepage and Peter Zadek. The program of events began yesterday afternoon with the opening ceremony at the Vassiliko Theater and was followed by a performance of Alvis Hermanis’s «Long Life» at the Macedonian Studies Society. Today, the program begins with a 10 a.m. symposium at the Vassiliko with Hermanis, followed by an open rehearsal of his new production, «The Sound of Silence,» which he will be presenting at the Berliner Festspiele. At 4 p.m., there will be a symposium on the work of Srbljanovic, with readings of extracts from her plays, while the day will end with a 9 p.m. staging of her «Locusts,» performed by the Yugoslav Drama Theater at the Macedonian Studies Society. On Saturday morning, Michel Vais will coordinate a discussion on «Robert Lepage: The Visionary from Quebec» and later the Canadian director will present brief extracts of works in progress. In the evening, the Lazariston Monastery will host Hermanis’s «Fathers.» On the final day, Zadek, the Berlin-born director who worked extensively in the UK, will be the subject of the morning symposium, which will be coordinated by Volker Canaris, in cooperation with Klaus Dermutz. The closing ceremony will take place at 7.30 p.m. at the Macedonian Studies Society, followed by a production of Ibsen’s «Peer Gynt,» directed by Zadek and performed by the Berliner Ensemble. Tickets are on sale at the Vassiliko Theater and Macedonian Studies Society, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Lazariston Monastery 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 5-10 p.m.; and i-stores, tel 8011.115.1617. For information, tel 2310.288.000.