National Culture Fund Bulgaria

One-year Activity
by Pro Rodopi Foundation (2020-21)

This project includes one of the most emblematic and large-scale initiatives of Pro Rodopi Foundation – the International Performing Arts Festival for Children and Youth ” Adults Forbidden” with its 10th edition in October 2021. The second focus of the project is on part of the international activities of the foundation – participation in the International Puppet Theatre Festival in Malmö, Sweden with the play “Ball-Part 3”; participation in the International Festival for Puppet Theatre for Adults in Macau, SAR of China, with the performance “The Concert”; co-production of the international play “The Forest Man”, together with the “Stefan Bjorklund’s” Theatre, Sweden; visit to Berlin with the performance “The Concert” at the invitation of BCC-Berlin and participation in the annual conference of the Trans Europe Halles network in Denmark.

The Adults Forbidden Festival is an independent event and has been held annually since 2012 in Smolyan and all municipalities in the region of the same name. For its nine previous editions, more than 100 professional theatre, dance and street groupes from Bulgaria, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Russia, the Netherlands, Turkey, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Greece, Israel, etc. have been presented, with 238 performances of 90 productions, 6 concerts and 6 new Bulgarian films for children. Numerous workshops have been organized. Directly involved participants – artists, managers, organizers, etc. are over 550, and the audience exceeds 45,000. The stages are over 35 every year, and already more than 20 of them are outside Smolyan. The 10th edition of the festival is planned from 4 to 8 October 2021 and includes 35 performances of 12 performances by 10 Bulgarian and 2 foreign troupes on over 20 stages in Smolyan and 20 other towns and villages in ethnically mixed, remote and inaccessible mountain region of Rhodopes, with an expected number of spectators and participants – over 5,000. One of the achievements of the festival is that along with the best of puppet, drama and street theatre, professionally created for children, from the very beginning the orgnizers made efforts to impose contemporary dance for children, which is a not developed genre in Bulgaria. Several shows from the Netherlands and Israel presented so far, proved its warm acceptance by the youngest audience.

Regular co-productions with foreign partners have been one of the pillars of the organization’s sustainability over the years. In 2021, the foundation will participate in the creation of the visual physical production with the working title “The Forest Man” (based on “Walden-Life in the Forest” by Henry David Thoreau), together with “Staffan Bjorklund’s” Theatre (Sweden) with the participation of Bulgarian, Swedish and Danish creative team. The foundation is committed to ensuring the participation of a script author/director and a choreographer from Bulgaria, and will provide its studio in Bostina for rehearsals in October 2021. The premiere is scheduled in Sweden in November 2021, and performances in Denmark and Bulgaria – in subsequent periods. The Bulgarian participants in the international performance are the director Petar Todorov and the choreographer Rossen Mihaylov.

Three international trips with productions of the foundation are planned in the project – a visit to Berlin with the performance “The Concert” at the invitation of Bulgarian Cultural Centre-Berlin in September 2021; participation in the International Puppet Theatre Festival in Malmö, Sweden with the performance “Ball-Part 3” in October 2021 and participation in the International Puppet Festival for Adults in Macau, SAR of China, with the performance “The Concert” in November 2021. The invitations are another proof of the quality of the performances produced by the foundation and will contribute to the popularization of the Bulgarian theatrical art around the world.

Part of the project is the participation of Petar Todorov in the annual meeting of Trans Europe Halles in Ebeltoft, Denmark in June 2021. Art Pro Rodopi Art Centre is a full member of this large European network of independent cultural centers since 2005.

The project is implemented in the period December 2020-November 2021 and it is supported by the National Culture Fund through “One-year program to support private professional organizations in the field of arts”.

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