The Daile Theatre, 1920–1964, Under the Leadership of Director Eduards Smiļģis (1886–1966)

A grandiose portrait of an aged man, with eyes welled up to tears gazing heavenward, adorns the side wall of the New Riga Theatre building in Rīga, Lāčplēša iela 25. It’s Eduards Smiļģis, the founder of the Daile Theatre and a director of passionate intensity. He cuts a towering figure in Latvian theatre. He breathed a symbolist and expressionist spirit onto the Latvian stage, opposing the prevailing trends of realism. Smiļģis set up the Daile Theatre in 1920, at a time when very little was clear about the future of the Latvian state, let alone its art, and lived to see it survive as a powerhouse of modern drama important on a European scale.