“First of all, this is the only private theatre in the country, possessing its own premises completely focused on the independent theatre forms of any kind (regarding plays selection, elaboration of subjects and ideas, composing and deduction of conflicts, ideas processing etc). In terms of the artistic development, Theatra strives to raise the standards of the theatre production and to bring back the audience in the theatres.”
Theatra is a recently formed, independent theatre, formed by a group of young people. Through this short interview, with the producer, Maria Zafirova, we present its formation, members and the main ideas.
Could you tell me who initiated the idea of Theatra (Skopje, Macedonia), who were the creators and the founders of the theatre and how was the entire organisation?
Theatra was born as a result of the necessity for free and, at the same time, unique artistic expression. The main initiator was Marija Zafirova, a producer, and the idea was spread to Biljana Radinoska, the director of Theatra. Moreover, the initiative was accepted by Natasa Petrovic, an actress, and Magdalena Dilevska, a graphic designer. It was planned for the new theatre to be opened with Biljana`s diploma work, the play Misanthrope by Moliere. The entire project was led by Marija, who succeeded to obtain a performance space and to form a team of co-workers (a costume designer, graphic designer, marketing manager and dramatist). The premiere of Misanthrope took place in April, 2011, and so, Theatra was opened. Later, the team expanded with three more members: a web designer, a programmer, and a writer. The credit for this successful assembly of creative people goes to Marija, in addition to the entire team`s will for revival of a new theatre collective as well as a brand new theatre.
1. What makes Theatra so different and unique, what are the principles and the standards that it follows and its direction of development regarding the theatre artistic development?
First of all, this is the only private theatre in the country, possessing its own premises completely focused on the independent theatre forms of any kind (regarding plays selection, elaboration of subjects and ideas, composing and deduction of conflicts, ideas processing, etc.). Another unique aspect about Theatra is the way it promotes the events i.e. the marketing process. That includes 24/7 updating of the site www.theatra.org, as well as the Facebook page www.facebook.com/Theatra, in addition to the everyday communication with the audience, responsibility for distribution of promotion materials for the performances which usually takes place on the streets of the city, the square and all the locations in Skopje. All this provides an intensive communication with the spectators. In terms of the artistic development, Theatra strives to raise the standards of the theatre production and to bring back the audience in the theatres.
2. Could you mention some additional data, in terms of theatre projects that already took place, who is responsible for them and also about the possibility of becoming a member of the team?
The first Theatra project was the comedy Misanthrope by Moliere. A group of young and thoroughly devoted actors formed the acting team and instantly charmed the audience. The play covers a lot of the current issues such as: false friendships, love relationships only to meet one`s own interests, hypocrisy, etc. It gives a clear picture of the world we live in today. Misanthrope participated on two theatre festivals: Impact in Veles and Kultura in Stip. During the summer, two theatre workshops were organised “Me, An actor” and “Me, Who”. That was a chance for those who are not professional actors to reveal their acting potential and to work according to classical and experimental methods. By the end of the summer and the beginning of September, the second greater project was launched, the play Zvukot na koskite sto se krsat (The Sound of the Breaking Bones). It is performed according to a text written by the Canadian writer Susan Lebo and it presents a sphere of the Macedonian theatre which has not been reached and covered until now. It is a story about the disorder and the horror as a result of the tribe wars in Africa. The play is part of the theatre’s repertoire on Wednesday at 21.00. The tickets for all performances till now have been sold. All the projects are led by the producer Marija Zafirova. On the profile of the theatre collective of Theatra, you can notice that everyone who is familiar with what is happening in Theatra, or the theatre they represent, can be involved in a project. The premises of Theatra are also used for already composed performances and play participating as hosts with the ultimate goal to form as many contacts and links as possible between the people of both theatre and artistic world.
3. How was it like to be part of MOT (Mlad Otvoren Teatar-Youth Open Theatre trans.), considering the fact that the theatre was recently formed? How did you manage to carry “the burden” of the opening of the 36-th edition of MOT?
The fact that we have become part of a successful story as well as part of the Macedonian theatre history is a great honour for an independent theatre. I would also have to add that it is not very common for a theatre of this calibre to host the opening of a highly important and great event such as MOT. We didn`t even feel “the burden” which was a wind at the back for Theatra. Our theatre has matured and evolved relatively swiftly considering the dramatic expression and the freshness carrying within itself. In terms of production, director, actors, costume designer, and music, Zvukot na koskite sto se krsat (The Sound of the Breaking Bones) is much alike other MOT plays as well as the performances on a world level.
4. Last but not least, your future plans and expectations?
Next, we plan a drama studio and one more premiere by the end of the year. The vision of Theatra is, by every following project, to reconstruct the theatre beams in order to find autonomous and inspiring forms. Regarding organisation, Theatra strives to develop more successful system and in terms of creativity, it inquires and tells stories in an effortless manner. When you cook, plan your holiday, or read a book, you follow a certain system or a plan all the time and, at the same time, you feel an impulse that maintains the excitement and helps you to encircle, disassemble, and reconstruct that system. That is exactly what Theatra is trying to do: to keep the zest all the time.