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🔗 БНР Арт Ефир Старозагорският куклен театър представя в София „Последният човек“ по Оруел

bnr.bg Старозагорският куклен театър представя в София „Последният човек“ по Оруел

"Folklore magic" fascinates in the Puppet Theatre

There are not enough words to describe what’s happening on the stage of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora and what a magical influence the new premiere of “Folklore magic” has over the audience. You can only feel exaltation from so much Bulgarian beauty, timeless songs and dances, good energy, joy and hope that Bulgaria is here and will live forever.
Author of the performance is Prof. Bonyo Lungov. Growing in his heart and mind for a long time, show blossomed in all its splendor during the premiere on December 3. 
Prof. Lungov has gathered a variety of authentic items from the Old Bulgarian folklore and customs in order to transform them into the so called “improvised puppets”. A lot of fantasy is need to make alive and intriguing a bunch of gourds, three-legged stools, swap hooks, sickles, pots, wooden tub, moccasins, shuttle looms, towel and so many other things. 
Performance is constructed in 9 miniatures. Some of them are totally based on a plot. Like the sentimental and touching story of the eagles. Using only two carrying poles, their hands and of course their hearts, actors managed to recreate the wooing of a male and female eagles, the formation of their couple, the birth of the eagle child, the child leaving the nest… And isn’t it the same thing with people’s lives? It is with te stories about the cocks, the sun, the dancing competition. 
The talented, young actors present live four-part authentic songs. They play different instruments like timbales, bells and ceramic vessels feeling happy from the high quality art they create. 
“No other theatre in Bulgaria has such a troupe” said Prof. Bonyo Lungov. “These people know their work and want to succeed. They show what puppetry means. They demonstrate technique, handiness and create puppets in seconds. And something more … Performance has been realized with the total support of theatre’s manager – Mr. Darin Petkov and his Deputy – Mrs. Tanya Kalcheva. These are the people who believe in new ideas, who manage to realize and make them popular.”
"Folklore magic" is something different. Something that children and grown-ups have missed so far. Something that proves how good it feels to love everything national, to gain strengths from it and to stop complaining from our origin. The “magic” opens our eyes for the positive aspects of our roots, our homeland, our stories and legends, our songs. 
“Right now, the use of improvised puppets is pretty modern worldwide, but the prime source was Bulgaria. Many of the theatre leaders are learning from us.” said Prof. Lungov. “This performance will live long time since it tells true stories without words. There is no language barrier and it’s suitable for tours and festivals.”
"Folklore magic" has been already invited on a tour to Strasbourg in May 2014.

Rositsa Rancheva

Professionalism and innovations at the 8th edition of PIERROT

Mr. Darin Petkov - manager of State Puppet Theatre - Stara Zagora described the international puppet theatre festival for adults as “a unique event which is already recognizable in whole Europe and the rest of the world only by the words “PIERROT” and “Stara Zagora”. 16 companies selected between 78 international applicants will attend the 8th edition of the prestigious puppeteers’ event. During the fest which starts on September 24 and continues until September, 29 you’ll be able to watch high quality productions of renowned artists from USA, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, France, Serbia, Portugal and Bulgaria. The performances part of the competition program (you can find more information in the publication called "PIERROT: The popular puppet - theater stage” at www.nikak.bg) will be shown on two stages – the one of Drama Theatre "Geo Milev" and the other of State Puppet Theatre - Stara Zagora.
In the additional program are listed: A scenography exhibition of Prof. Vasil Rokomanov and Silva Bachvarova, a presentation of Vasil Rokomanov’s book „Puppet scenography for a magic story” (theoretical studies and art facts about the interaction between the magic story and puppetry, review and analysis on its influence over the European culture) and ethno-jazz concerts of the Hungarian saxophonists “Road Six Sax”. Viktor Toth (Hungary’s best saxophonist who has already been in Stara Zagora at “PIERROT”) will also play at the event. There will be two concerts – one in the hall of the Art Gallery and the other at the lapidarium of the Historical Museum. The “New Bulgarian animation” program held in the Regional Library “Zahariy Knyazheski” will offer projection of movies selected by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nadezhda Marinchevska (Bulgarian film critic, university professor and author of the book "Bulgarian animation movies 1915-1995”).
Besides the book of Prof. Rokomanov (since its 4th edition "PIERROT" prints off a new book every year - "Metamorphosis of puppet theater in XX Century" of Prof. Jurkowski; "50 years puppet theatre art in Stara Zagora", "Behind eight mountains" of Ljiljana Bardievska, "Adaptation of stories for puppet theater" of Prof. Slavcho Malenov) all fans of puppetry and theatre will be able to find specialized literature at the books bazaar.
Two companies - one from France and another from Spain will present innovative street performances on the summer stage of Drama Theatre "Geo Milev" and on the lapidarium of the Historical Museum.
Two documentaries will be shown to festival’s guests - "Who doesn’t want to pay again" of Yuriy Dachev about the creation of the performance “WE WON’T PAY” of State Puppet Theatre - Stara Zagora based on Dario Fo and "Puppet Art Laboratory" of Christian Thomas about the performance "I, Sisyphus" of Film and Theatre Production Company "Contrast Films" (information about the whole additional program could be found in the above mentioned publication at www.nikak.bg).
Yuri Datchev is making also a documentary about "PIERROT", which will be broadcasted on the Bulgarian National Television.
A celebration of 50 years of UNIMA Bulgaria will take place during the festival. The President of the Women Commission – Mrs. Tamiko Onagi (Japan) as well as the other members - Damiet Van Dalsum and Darja De Caluwe (Netherlands), Mansi Stycz (Finland), Jennifer Pfeiffer (Australia) will arrive in Stara Zagora for the fest.

State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora will participate in the competition program with “Bird” directed by Nadezhda Alekseeva.

The “Grand Prix” for Best Performance (a “PIERROT” statuette made by the sculptor Emil Ivanov) will be bestowed on September, 29 by the Jury’s Chairperson – Mrs. Svetla Beneva. The other members of the Jury are: Mr. Yuriy Dachev, Mrs. Svila Velichkova, Mr. Petrikas Martynas (Lithuania) and Mrs. Mansi Stycz (Finland).
Darin Petkov has announced that this year for the first time there will be an award given by the young theatre critics working at the festival’s press club. The other awards include: “Best Directing”, “Best Stage Design”, “Best Music”, “Best Actress”, “Best Actor” and “Experimental and new forms”. Dr. Valentin Stoyanov who is a son of one of the founders of Puppet Theatre - Stara Zagora (the actor Kosta Valkov), provides a statuette and a money prize for significant contribution to the development of the Bulgarian puppet – theater art. This year the award-winner is Prof. Nikolina Georgieva - founder of the Department "Acting, directing and stage design for puppet theater" in NATFA "Kr. Sarafov".

“Only on “PIERROT” and for the first time, you can watch three performances gathered into a trilogy. It’s called "Balkan myths" and created by the artistic team: Veselka Kuncheva, Marietta Golomehova and Hristo Namliev. The cycle starts with „BREATH“ of Children’s Theatre of Subotica – Serbia based on the myth for Ohrid Lake, continues with „IMMURED” of State Puppet Theatre – Plovdiv and finishes with „I, SISYPHUS”. What connects all the three performances is the research in the Balkan mythology.” announced Darin Petkov. He emphasized that "PIERROT" whose first edition was in 2000, has motivated many puppeteers to produce performances for adults during the years.

Dimka Kabaivanova

🔗 The bird puppet alighted at Stara Zagora

At the end of July, State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora proved to be again one of the best by ending another successful season with a new premiere. The so called "Bird" play have carried on the tradition to break the rules and to remove the impression that puppetry is addressed only to kids.

State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora has a serious repertoire with performances for adults and a special day in the week (every Thursday) for their presentation. Since July 28, Theatre added a new, very unusual performance which I could define as a plastic and meaningful play with objects.

The idea and direction were made by Nadezhda Alekseeva - a guest director from St. Petersburg with notable biography in the field of plastic theater. Stage design, costumes and multimedia are made by Oleg Semyonov.
Nadezhda and Oleg have many common projects. The third member of the team is from Bulgaria. His name is Ivaylo Markov and he made the light design. Good work by the way - since lights are the ninth actor on the stage and they make the acting of the professionals Vanya Kamyanska, Tanya Georgieva, Kaloyan Georgiev, Kiril Antonov, Yancho Ivanov and of the debutants Denitsa Yanakieva, Alex Anmahyan and Lyuben Chanev even more impressive.

With intense energy and precision, actors tell a story without words about the need of inspiration. A story about how everyone has a bird, showing the way to the world of spiritual, to the escape from the brutality of the everyday life. And if you’re able to hear the song of your bird, you’ll be happy.

The remarkable actors manage to revive the few scenery. Using 8 cages they give colorful and diverse life of the characters. Acting and discreet but effective multimedia are filling the space with creative energy that attracts.

The only words used in this rapidly evolving play are those of Yancho Ivanov who cites Jacques Prévert’s poem “To make a portrait of a bird” and the other actors transform that sound into artistic echo ...

The next challenge in front of the company is the organization of the prestigious International Puppet Theatre for Adults Festival "PIERROT" in September and hopefully the new season, which will attract children and grown-ups.


Theatre has put its artistic finger on the pulse of our time

Bogdana Kosturkova - theater critic and playwright at Theater "Sofia"

The things happening in Stara Zagora are unique in certain degree. Stara Zagora is a host of the one and only puppet theatre festival for adults "PIERROT", which already made reputation as a laboratory for that needed and difficult type of art. The events in Stara Zagora are of great value not only for the region and the local community but for the whole country.

I have a feeling that this Theatre has a wonderful troupe of actors with lot of energy and different nature. Actors have different skills while the repertoire proposes opportunity for different realization and different parts. There are performances for children, for youths and for adults.
After watching "We won’t pay", I could easily say that State Puppet Theatre - Stara Zagora has put its finger on the pulse of our time. Team is active. It raises the “street’s” questions with pretty serious artistic ground, skills and passion.

According to Bogdana, what Company has to seek is exactly performances with original puppet dramaturgy. Most of them has a couple of “lenghts”, several storylines and exact target group.

Starting with the present edition of “PIERROT”, there will be a special module consisting in a contest for writing of original play for puppet theatre. The winning-play will be staged in the year between the editions. This will not only support the Bulgarian puppet dramaturgy which is an empty niche, but will also open the door to the new generations. Puppet Theatre - Stara Zagora is capable of doing that since it’s a mentor and a creator at the same time.

Svetla Beneva – theatre expert

For quite some time I know the work of State Puppet Theater - Stara Zagora. That’s the most vital, honest and active puppet theater in our national theatrical environment. It has a specific feature – you’re always friendly welcome regardless of your opinion. It’s a community open-minded for both critics and goodwill. These people do not tolerate indifference.

"We won’t pay" is realized thanks to their efforts. The play has left the world of fairytales and has both its “feet” on the ground. We could easily say that such performance is an expression of how we feel and what takes us on the street to show everyone that we could not be manipulated. It’s a protest full of strong artistic expressions – acting and personal attitude. It’s a real artistic shout against the inhuman, degrading times we live in. A shout againts the politicians standing on top of us. I’m proud of that small institute’s team who has had courage and energy, who has made every effort to cry out a big “NO” against fears, silence, obedience and patience.
The other productions – stories based on Charles Perrault - "Cinderella", "Beauty and the Beast," etc. follow the well-established tradition in the theater – to take a classic fairytale and bring out of it not only magic but goodness. To create beautiful images. I refer to "The Little Mermaid", "The little wood-nymph" that teach us of nobility, good temper and faith that when we make efforts in life to fight evil, we become better persons.

I think it's time to start working with new young puppetry playwrights. So I find the idea of the dramaturgy contest as very appropriate and commendable. There are already enough young people writing puppet plays, who could offer new texts.

This company always manages to overwhelm all obstacles thanks to the good management of its director - Darin Petkov, his deputy - Tatyana Kalcheva and to the internal harmony inside the team - to work hard, never give up or search for excuse.
And my impressions are not only from the theatre marathon I watched. In the last two years I often had the pleasure to visit Stara Zagora – at “PIERROT”, at the “Golden lime” fest …

Theatre has gathered here people with common sense for rhythm and work. The company is alive, ambitious, breathing, searching – qualities that are harder to find in the theatrical life in the rest of the country. The fact that it holds 40 titles of active plays in its repertoire is so valuable. And that’s something you could feel in the audience. The group is not just a team, it’s a group of people who breathe and work together.

There are performances that are fundamental, there are others we could argue about, but still the general level is extraordinary. “The Wizard of Oz” is highly professional – with lot of ambition, balance between components, artistic achievements, music, and puppets and so on. That's not an easy story to tell with all these messages but the audience, even the smallest children, watched with great interest. And all this proves quality. Actors change live songs, different parts, complex costumes and shapes. It’s a serious professional staging.

My recommendations are mainly towards dramaturgical issues. In that point of view some of the performances could be made more precise, clearer, and simpler. Some storylines could be removed and some brighter characters could be found. That means that dramaturgy has to be well-precised and clean before going into the hands of directors, actors, scenographers etc.

How the “small” theatre wiped out the shame of the “big” one

In these troubled times, instead of hiding in tiredness at the end of the season, State Puppet Theater - Stara Zagora made another move. Company charged itself with a theatrical marathon, showing six performances in three days in front of house full of spectators and theatre experts who estimate their artistic value. Pointed out as an excellent student by the Ministry’s reports, Theatre added into its portfolio the judgment of the critics evaluating the artistic intentions and achievements, aside from financial parameters and obligations. There aren’t many theatres in our days with such not indifferent behavior! And does anyone up there think of adding also evaluation for the hard work?
Without any hesitation I could advise you instead of swallowing in front of the TV watching “Cherry on top” to go and see “We won’t pay” based on Dario Fo. It’s a performance for adults, played by puppeteers that will give you more feeling about humanity and less gastronomy. It will make you proud of the small theatre company protesting with its art and at the same time ashamed that there is no active citizenship in a city like Stara Zagora. However, most of the children in the city have already learned the lessons for good and evil, have experienced the magic of dreams, the power of desire, love, friendship, honor and bravery while watching "Beauty and the Beast", "Cinderella" (Charles Perrault), "Peter The Rabbit" (B. Poter) and "He who does not work neither shall he eat" – all known fairytales played with talent, imagination and aesthetic sense. But "We won’t pay" directed by Ishtvan Nagi from Hungary is another type of performance. It’s born during a laboratory work designed for mastering the genre of musical. The main character is maestro Hunger who forces honest and moral people to lie and steal in order to survive. Using fragments from plays of the Nobel laureate - Dario Fo (the brightest representative of the socially engaged dramaurgy), actors add their own monologues addressed to the audience. Each of them expresses his protest and citizenship with carefully selected play. Bilyana Raynova – a grotesque exposing and resistance to the advertisements’ aggression, brainwashing and promises for easy money. Gergana Vasileva – the deep drama of the prostitute whose sins deprive her of the right of normal parentage. Yancho Ivanov – a very accurate caricature of the "brainless" policeman, inadequate to the real sense of his duties, a pawn of the system’s vices. Kaloyan Georgiev - an attractive image of the indifferent person in rap style. Vanya Kamyanska – the "doll" from the magazines happy in the “swamp” of imitation and lack of personality. Deliyan Kyossev – the drama of the man with robbed soul and devastated dreams. Another live participant in this absurd life on stage is the guitar music, played by Georgi Genov. It leads or ends characters’ emotions. Each item or costume from Adriana Naydenova’s scenography is branded with symbol of cheap package and poor quality substitute made anywhere else but not in Bulgaria.
If "We won’t pay" is a challenge for your conscience, do not miss also "The Wizard of Oz" because it’s the real “cherry on top” with inspiration and acting from the young and ambitious troupe of Puppet Theatre - Stara Zagora, directed by Bonyo Lungov, choreography of Konstantin Karakostov, stage design of Dilyana Parvanova and music of Mihail Shishkov.

And here is how the “small” theatre wiped out the shame of the “big” one.

Svetla Beneva

About the road of goodness

Each play of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora is like a feast for the locals. With friendly faces and kind attitude theatre’s employees create a sense of comfort and happiness. A sense that is reinforced by the presented plays.
“Christmas carol” has won the hearts of the audience. Without any pretentiousness but deeply in the problem, the staging team presents a new vision over the story. The popular novel of Charles Dickens is recreated on the stage under the direction of Valentin Vladimirov with stage design made by Elena Tsonkova and music of Stanimir Ivanov. The story of the old flint Mr. Scrooge is presented in a simple but persuasive and impressive manner. Production has multiple layers with modern view and various means of expression.
Elena Tsonkova combines modern style and symbols typical for the respective time period in the stage design.
Performance is organized in grey and white with visual and sound effects that represent the wandering of the human soul in the search for a right way. With singing, human compassion and joy the goodness beats the greediness. Namely the road of goodness is what makes a man to feel alive, meaningful and happy.
The characters are bright, without any unnecessary psychological load. Uncle Scrooge (Georgi Spasov) is a rough, self-concentrated and hard person but also a person who suffers. And it’s not a physical pain that kills him but the psychological pain caused by insulation and loneliness. His spiritual „awakening” is described in multiple layers using different styles – a dance of lights and shadows, animation, puppet show, dialogues and songs. The moral is that the road of goodness starts with human compassion. 
The actors – Georgi Spasov, Gergana Vasileva, Elitsa Stoyanova, Tatyana Andreeva, Bilyana Raynova, Stanislav Matev, Yancho Ivanov, Kaloyan Georgiev and Delyan Kyosev have worked with great enthusiasm and bring special magic – a dramaturgic mystery. Their creative ambition and dedication attract spectators’ attention. Even the teens were charmed!
The team of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora has found its road to goodness.

Zlatka Bisheva

State Puppet Theatre Stara Zagora – a Goodwill Ambassador in Europe

State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora has been invited to participate in international festivals and competitions in three European capitals (Sofia, Bratislava and Budapest) as well as in the Slovakian festival city - Banská Bystrica. The invitation was a challenge for the self-esteem and self-consciousness of our actors who always search high artistic results and compare their own work with the world known models. We presented two performance – „Cinderella” after Charles Perrault, directed by Elza Laleva and „He who does not work neither shall he eat” after the so called Bulgarian folktale directed by Iroslav Petkov.
„Our main goal was our participation in the ХVІІІ puppet theatre festival in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia”, commented Tanya Kalcheva (theatre’s deputy manager). “That is the oldest European biennial festival created 36 years ago and we were the first Bulgarian company selected for participation. The program was structured in two different sections – performances for children (we took part with “Cinderella”) and performances for adults” said Tanya Kalcheva. „Banská Bystrica is the fourth largest city in Slovakia with population of 70 000 people. It is situated highly in the mountain. There are 7 or 8 towers playing different melodies on each hour. It’s a really beautiful, callm and romantic place. We were warmly welcomed by both organizers and audience. The competition was hard. It was the children jury who judged. Our performance was honored also with the highest price of the tickets sold for the festival. The hosts have provided an interpreter for all foreign companies in order to avoid language difficulties. By the way, they have “borrowed” our idea for projection of cartoons. Next year for “PIERROT” festival, we’ll do our best to remove the language barrier, too”, said Tanya Kalcheva. Before the presentation at the festival our actors performed „He who does not work neither shall he eat” in front of 80 students at the Bulgarian school in Bratislava. „We wanted to present exactly a Bulgarian folktale” – said Mrs. Kalcheva. “Several times we have stopped the performance in order to explain the meaning of some unfamiliar words like daughter-in-law, mother-in-law and hoe. No one from the audience has attended a puppet theatre performance before except one kid. Despite its important role in the preservation of the Bulgarian spirit and traditions, the Bulgarian cultural center is left nearly on the edge of survival. Volunteers do everything.”
The next stop of the puppeteers was the Bulgarian „School for mother language” in Budapest (the capital of Hungary) whose building today is an art monument. A couple of years ago the Bulgarian government stopped any financial support for the school. The local Bulgarians joined forces and obtained permission by the Hungarian country to keep the building as place for meetings of the Bulgarian community of 1500 persons. A deputy mayor of the local Bulgarian community is Gabriela Hadzhikostova (actress).
„We are still amazed by the dedication and devotion of the local Bulgarian people doing everything in their powers to have a piece of Bulgarian land” – shared with us Tanya Kalcheva. – They publish a newspaper, have a radio show, they have even issued a book called „Dishes with the scent of herbs and garlic”. They follow all Bulgarian rituals, customs, traditions, religious and public holidays. The school itself is so prestigious that not only Bulgarian students but also Hungarians, Mongols, Slovaks and Russians attend it. We brought presents for all students – books, textbooks and discs with stories that children could use to learn speaking Bulgarian better.”
Some time ago the Bulgarian gardeners have taken a loan from the Hungarian country to construct a building knowing that such building could be used as a hotel and bring profit. The theatre hall is round and large in order to be used for folklore dances (horo). The artists from Stara Zagora are heartily welcomed by nice hosts and enthusiastic audience all around the world. A lot of experts and media have given high praises to theatre’s work. Some of them have even stated that „The troupe of Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora stands out with clear psychological characteristics – persistence that shows motivation; openness to new experience showing eagerness to learn, emotional transparency, flexibility of thinking, eccentricity of views and beliefs; self-confidence and emotional stability; thinking outside the limits; target at complexity; ability of dreaming for other perspectives etc.”


"WE WON’T PAY” to a state that keeps us at the bottom of life

On 11th of October 2012 State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora presented its new production for adults “We won’t pay” based on Dario Fo. Performance was created three months ago by the theatre’s team during the International Art Laboratory in Stara Zagora conducted by the Hungarian director Ishtvan Nagi and his assistant Mrs. Gabriela Hadzhikostova. Music is written by Petar Tsankov – one of the members of the legendary band “Shturtsite” and lyrics by Matey Stoyanov. The stage design and all costumes are made by Andriana Naydenova.
The plot of the performance (announced as a „musical improvisation comedy” and written more than a quarter of a century ago by the Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo) is literally extracted from the daily routine in a small town in Bulgaria. These are all moral people with high values but no job, no salaries and revenues, unable to pay their bills for gas, electricity or rent. People with empty pockets and nothing to eat who have no other choice but to rob the supermarket and to leave without pay. Dozens of situations start from here – some of them funny, others pathetic, just like in real life.
The staging team has made a “path” through the audience to involve it not only as viewers but also as active participants.
The actors are brilliant. I would say hundred times “BRAVO” to Vanya Kamyanska, Gergana Vasileva, Bilyana Raynova, Delyan Kyosev, Yancho Ivanov, Kaloyan Georgiev, Stanislav Matev and the charming manager of the theatre Mr.Darin Petkov (in the role of the Father).
„Actors were truly correct” said Mr. Istvan Nagi. “During the laboratory they started to love what they do and to respect their own creation. It’s obvious that is a matter of life-or-death for them to do it in the best possible way. There are lots of tears and laughter in the performance, but what makes it special is that these are the actors’ tears, laughter and attitude as artists and citizens.
What’s most frightening is that the dramaturgy of the performance is getting more and more realistic today, almost a quarter of century after it has been written – said Mr. Nagi. At the beginning, it seemed like a joke that such an economic revolution is possible at the year of 2020. But just take a look what is happening today in Spain, Portugal and Greece. Revolutions are all around us. States neglect their obligations towards the citizens. There is a lack of job, pensions are miserable, no social policy is active. We just keep living in empty countries. The life in Europe becomes harder and harder. At the same time there are persons who become richer. I was in Bulgaria for a long period at the end of the eighties and in comparison to that time, Bulgaria is in a golden century nowadays. The end of the eighties was cruel. Then the situation got better and even reached the “zero” point.Unfortunately I think the falling down started again. It’s a global lie that the crisis is over. I believe we haven’t even reached the bottom. As citizens of the world we have to join our efforts and to decide what to do” said Istvan Nagi.

The applauses at the premiere of “We won’t pay” sounded for long. It seems that the policy of the Puppet theatre to produce performance not only for children but also for their parents is welcomed by fans and experts.


Ishtvan Nagi and Dario Fo under the lime trees

The Hungarian director Mr. Ishtvan Nagi who we already know from “Commedia almost Dell’Arte” has recalled the classic of Dario Fo (an Italian playwright and winner of a Nobel Prize for Literature) named “We won’t pay” on the stage of Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora.

The play which was announced as a “musical improvisation comedy” was warmly welcomed by the audience at the last night’s premiere. Theatre’s manager – Mr. Darin Petkov (who also performs in the play) has admitted that at first he had some concerns about the play. It was written more than a quarter of century ago but still people’s reaction has cleared up all his doubts.

The “breaking” of the stage with a “path” into the audience and the involvement of all spectators are only part of the bright ideas of the director.

We should mention also the great musical introductions made by the composer - Mr. Petar Tsankov (one of the founders of the legendary band “Shturtsite” back in the 60s)… and of course the songs lyrics (even rapping) whose author is Mathey Stoyanov … and the brilliant stage design and costumes of Andriana Naydenova.

We should not miss the work of the assistant – director Mrs. Gabriela Hadzhikostova who has already worked a couple of seasons with the theatre’s troupe.

Vanya Kamyanska, Gergana Vasileva, Bilyana Raynova, Delyan Kyosev, Yancho Ivanov, Kaloyan Georgiev and Stanislav Matev are the actors who have transformed the brilliant text of Dario Fo into a present day story.

Despite the fact that we are not children anymore it worths to go and buy a ticket from the puppet house. And if you still think that that’s too childish, take your time and read the poster once again – it’s a performance FOR ADULTS!

And who says that puppets are only meant for children?


“Revolution!” – at the Puppet Theatre

Some nice revolutionaries have conquered in Thursday (June 28) the building with the beautiful clock of the puppet theatre. In that day the clock has measured time in a different way. It stopped for almost two hours. The two hours when the musical improvisation comedy for adults “We won’t pay” was shown on the stage of the Puppet Theatre as a gentle development of the previous days protests from “Orlov most”. Of course Art has different means of expression – it sounds like scream, like passion, different from the simple demonstration. And that is how Art reaches its goal – to warm up our hearts and to tousle our thoughts.

Audience has greeted with thunderous applause the wonderful songs wrote by Petar Tsankov and the lyrics of Mathey Stoyanov. Actors did their job as a matter of life or death. They were so good that I could only list their names without giving a comment – Vanya Kamyanska, Gergana Vasileva, Bilyana Raynova, Delyan Kyosev, Yancho Ivanov, Kaloyan Georgiev, Stanislav Matev, Darin Petkov. All these are the heroes from the last night’s artistic revolution. These young people with high values gave their best in the stage struggle and “resurrected” in the rapturous applauses.

The story: A group of women refuse to pay their bill in the supermarket. As a protest against the high prices they steal some food products. Men also make strange deals. A police officer is searching for the “food thieves” but he turns to be a gentle and sensitive person. The painful topics of our everyday life are laid down in cute songs, sharp dialogues, and bright sense of humor. You can even find yourself in some of the characters. Look at you - a loyal employee fighting for its salary! Yes you can feel such emotions when you watch “We won’t pay”. Texts are not judging. They are rebellious, angry but still dominated by the joy of life despite all bad things happening. Because that’s what life is – a responsibility to keep your eyes opened, to refuse to give up, to keep walking even if you don’t know where to.

“We won’t pay” marks the final of the VII International Art Laboratory which gathered many professionals like Istvan Nagi - art director, his assistant Mrs. Gabriela Hadzhikostova, Adriana Naydenova who was in charge of the stage design and costumes etc. It is obvious that it was a pleasure for both actors and staging team to work one with the other and to intercommunicate. And that’s because they were free to create such a serious piece under the cover of the comedy.

This last performance for adults of Puppet Theatre - Stara Zagora marks also the end of the season. A summer season that we will all remember with the „winter of our protest”. A protest against the system, against the way that it changes us. Well, puppeteers’ method of keeping our heads up is called “laughter and more laughter”. Laughter interpreted with high criteria, shared love and friendship which actors transfer to the audience.

Uliyana Kyoseva

... something wrong in the working environment of the Opera

Rositsa Rancheva

"There’s something wrong with the working environment at the Opera house"
said for “Starozagorski novini” Mrs. Ivanka Sotirova – deputy mayor of Stara Zagora Municipality

On March 12 “Starozagorski novini” published the Ministry of Culture’s 2011 Overall Assessment of the theatres in Bulgaria . Criteria include indicators like art value, ticket sale income, ticket average price, audience size, festivals, awards, new productions, educational and managerial activities, social policy etc. The maximum score is 150 points. A winner with 138 points is “Ivan Vazov” National Theatre, followed by State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora with 136 points. Having 93 points, “Geo Milev” Drama Theatre comes out with good results following the theatres in Lovech, Ruse, Sliven and Gabrovo. The theatres in Yambol and Blagoevgrad stay behind.

Theatres with excellent standards of judgment are “Ivan Vazov”, “199”, the theatres in Plovdiv and Burgas, “Satirichen”, “Sfumato”. The last place in the opera theatres ranking is taken by State Opera - Stara Zagora with 84 points. On the top of the chart is State Opera - Sofia with 132 points, followed by the operas in Burgas -123 points, in Varna -122 points, “Arabesque” Music and Ballet Theatre – 119 points; the Opera in Ruse has118 points; in Veliko Tarnovo – 91 points, in Plovdiv - 88 points. 


The Opera’s low results are the reason we interview Municipality’s deputy mayor – Mrs Ivanka Sotirova
-   Mrs. Sotirova, what is your comment on the results of the cultural institutions in Stara Zagora according to the Ministry of culture?
-   No one is surprised that State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora is on the top of the chart since theatre is constant in its efforts and never ending search of artistic results. Its team is pretty good and the top place is a true recognition and satisfaction.
Theatre’s management keeps searching for new adventures like International Festival for Adults “Pierrot” and International Art Laboratory, to make the best of actors’ potential, theatre’s area and location. People living abroad are able to compare our theatre with the European ones and in many respects, they find it much better. Besides, Theatre caries out attractive activities aimed at involving both children and adults. They have a ticket lottery. They allow children to work with puppets, to draw their impressions from performances played, having at the same time useful occupation for parents.
Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora has a pretty detailed information and visualization on its web page. I can’t say the same thing about the Opera and the Drama Theatre in the city. We’d like to have more attractive information about our cultural institutes on Municipality’s web site. After two years of “ignorance” the Opera finally could be found on Internet...
-   What do you think about “Geo Milev” Drama Theatre?
-    According to the Ministry of Culture “Geo Milev” Drama Theatre is not in its best shape but having in mind that it started, two or three years ago from nothing, we are glad with what’s been done. And that’s not only our opinion. A month ago, “Geo Milev” Drama Theatre presented “Volpone” is Sofia and had a real success. Theatre is about to begin now his real development. A lot of young people joined its team. Its products are interesting and gripping with small exceptions, addressed to all kind of audience. We could recommend more educational performances which are truly useful and needed. We’d like to involve youths not only like attendees but also like participants. Some events are already planned like the “Festival of The Antique Drama and Theatre”, a workshop on the ancient stage “Antichen forum”, different events on the ancient street and the Lapidarium at the Historical Museum. These are all new activities for attracting new spectators.

-    What would you say about the last place of the Stara Zagora Opera in the Ministry’s chart?
-    The problem with the local Opera is really disturbing. We could probably explain the lower result with the fact that the Opera got back its renovated building in 2010 and started active work in 2011. Unfortunately the so far presented products did not manage to satisfy our audience. Even the half of the target spectators did not attend the premiere of “Bohemi” on March 13th. It’s necessary to have guest performances of prominent Bulgarian and foreign soloists. The programs of the opera festivals in Ruse and Burgas are full of world known performers. Obviously we need another approach. There’s something wrong with the working environment at the Opera house. Artists and Art council are not working as a team. The final product’s good quality relies on joined efforts, artistic approaches and brave decisions. Otherwise everyone is working for himself; there are conflicts and no understanding. The Ministry of Culture is not responsible to solve the local Opera’s problems and is not going to. The requirements over the hall and lobbies’ usability are about to increase. What Municipality could do is to impose strict regulations on the Opera in order to justify the serious amount of grants received – more than 240 000 BGN support for building maintenance and 90 000 BGN support for activity. Municipality’s management is still engaged to find the right way of refunding the costs.
Municipality could not interfere with Opera’s Art Council neither its management since Opera’s director is appointed by the minister of culture. Still, the truth is we’re not indifferent to the biggest cultural institution in the region. The requirements towards all cultural institutes will increase and we should be ready to fulfill them.

"Cinderella" in Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora

Alex Boeva

The first premiere of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora for 2012 is the well-known “Cinderella”. The first night opening is scheduled for March 23 (Friday) at 18 p.m. Due to performance’s magnitude and fairy it will be shown on theatre’s large stage. The manager - Mr. Darin Petkov explained that last year “Cinderella” was honored with a special award for best puppet dramaturgy. The play was created and directed by Elza Laleva. The dramaturgy was implemented in Stara Zagora for a first in Bulgaria. Scene-painter is Svila Velichkova and composer is Konstantin Tsekov – soloist of FCB. It became a standard practice to invite guest light directors like Ivailo Markov (the best in Bulgaria). “That means that we are trying to put in use all possible methods to offer the best and the most spectacular art to our little spectators."
Performance is based completely on the popular story of Charles Perrault. Of course the dramaturgy is modern and re-created through unusual stage design and wonderful puppets.
Cinderella is portrayed by Vanya Kamyanska who has been nominated for “SIVINA” award for her role as “The Little wood-nymph” in a play of the same name. Last year the same award for best young actor was taken by Kaloyan Georgiev who also works in State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora.
The other performers are Gergana Vasileva, Elitsa Stoyanova, Bilyana Rainova, Delyan Kyosev, Yancho Ivanov and Kaloyan Georgiev.
Right after “Cinderella” theatre starts work on Bulgaria’s favorite folk tale "He who does not work neither shall he eat!". Director is Yaroslav Petkov having two young graduates of NATFA as stage designers.
The next adventure planned is the International Art Laboratory at the end of May after Dario Fo’s "We won’t pay!". Dario Fo is one of the greatest street theatre dramaturges in Italy. Workshop will be directed by Ishtvan Nagi – the master of Commedia dell’Arte and the new title shall be listed in theatre’s repertoire.

"The Other" is the new performance for adults of the Theatre


State puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora started the year with a new performance for adults. This time, it’s a work of the new member of the troupe – Yancho Ivanov - actor and director.

The provoking show called "The Other" is a non verbal play, build with the techniques of lights and shadows.

"I’ve been hoping to do this play for a long time. But it would never happen without the support of Mr. Darin Petkov – manager of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora. He gave me the chance to experiment and to create something different besides the commercial shows", said Yancho Ivanov right after the first night opening on Sunday. He confessed that actors’ parts were really difficult to play since it’s truly heavy to present a whole storyline within an hour without words. The professional scenery was made by two of the actresses – Elitsa Stoyanova and Desislava Ilcheva. Other performers taking part at the show are Delyan Kyosev, Kaloyan Georgiev and Stanislav Matev.

Meanwhile, Darin Petkov – manager of the puppeteers announced that the new play of Hristo Byichev which was written specially for the gassing problems in Stara Zagora will be put on stage probably by a director from Macedonia. The Theatre has ordered the texts to the author of "The Colonel bird" and the new performance is expected to be scheduled in the begging of the summer.

"Mr. Boychev has already finished with writing and at the end of the month we’ll meet in Skopje with one of the young talented directors in our west neighbor country", said Darin Petkov. The nontraditional play will be called "Dioxide (Gas, socks and wrap)".

"It’s a satire and grotesque of the gassing saga in our town", said Mr. Petkov. He refused to reveal more information on the new play. The new production will be for adults, with a happy end and a lot of humor just in the style of Hristo Boychev whose texts are already studied by the students in the New York University. "We do not make claims to solve one of the hottest problems in the region! We just want to have fun", said the puppeteers' manager.

"Who are you man" - The question asked in play "The Other"


"Who are you man?!" The question asked in the new performance for adults of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora called “The Other”.

The first night opening took place on January 23rd 2011 with real success. Project has been implemented by the young actor and director Yancho Ivanov. The idea, the staging and part of the financing are his doing. Music is compilation made by Plamen Petkov. Casts: Elitsa Stoyanova, Desislava Ilcheva, Delyan Kyosev, Stanislav Matev and Kaloyan Georgiev.

We’ve been watching dozens of puppeteers on the theatre’s stage thanks to the International festival “PIERROT” and the International art laboratory, and we all agree that the puppeteers from Stara Zagora are really the top level.

"The Other" is a non verbal performance with duration 1 hour. A single word is not said but what’s happening on the stage touches your soul. It makes you ask yourself: "Who are you man? Is that you or just a shadow of you? Are you a person? Do you have your personal opinion? How do you live? Do you chase your dreams? Do you have the senses to feel sun, flowers and stars? Have you met love..."

"The Other" is a story about the life of Mr. X, life in two plans – reality and dream. Reality is known by the regular working man. Sleeping, dressing, coffee, sandwich, public transport, the killing statistical work with numbers... and then again lift, public transport, eating, sleeping etc.

But out there, inside the man, dreams are living. They appear only in the sleep and make the black and white world so colored. They ring hopes and wishes for dancing, music, love and human affection.

The storyline is shown within two views – on the stage like in "the life", and the shadows behind the screen. Behind the screen of complex, self denial, inactivity and fear there are so genuine desires and pure human joy.

It is worth to mention the scenery made by the actresses – Elitsa and Desislava. It’s extremely inventive where one and the same piece of textile becomes a door, a wardrobe, a jacket. The other one is transformed into a bed, a newspaper, a bag, a room, a skirt etc. Effects from Commedia dell’Arte, pantomime, shadows, music and artistic lighting have been used. The synchronization between the two performing couples is really amazing...

"The Other" is a different view of everything shown so far. It’s a successful experiment both for actors and spectators who can easily find themselves in its messages and answers.

The play "The Other" offers you a dance of shadows and light


The experiment made by the young actors in State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora and called “The Other” can be classified as a really high level of art because of its philosophy, because of the speechlessness as a mean of expression of things which otherwise would be just trite phrases, because of actors’ creativity in the game of light and dark, and last but not least, because of the acting, internal glamour and ability of creating worlds.

Performance asks questions about “Who am I?” “The other – my shadow, is he happier than I am?” “Why things are more difficult for me than they are for my frivolous shadow?”

Yancho Ivanov – director and author of the project puts a whole range of questions for discussion.

It’s hard to raise funds for modern, untraditional and noncommercial causes these days. Project has been supported by the National Culture fund, the Art-office project, the Altera magazine, State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora and the magic happened.

Performance starts with magnificent vanguard music with very cute melody. There’s also Latino and evergreen thanks to Plamen Petkov who is an artist with really good taste for musical setting.

Stage design is pretty imaginative which the theatre’s manager – Mr. Darin Petkov attributed to the young actresses – Elitsa Stoyanova and Desislava Ilcheva.

Actors play with shadows like real virtuosos despite the techniques’ risks. All of them – Delyan Kyosev, Kaloyan Georgiev, Stanislav Matev and both of the girls have amazing plastics and facial expressions needed in this genre.

🔗 Оруел в Стара Загора

Митко Новков в kultura.bg за спектакъла "Последният човек" по романа на Джордж Оруел "1984"

..."Не можеш да си поемеш дъх, пък и не се сещаш да си поемеш – дотолкова случващото се на сцената те е завладяло."

Цялата статия, може да прочетете тук

The audience - an arbiter between the I and the Shadow

“Is that the puppeteer who pull our strings or jus we?” – that’s only one of the questions which answers we found on the stage of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora.


State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora presented last week an experimental theatre using shadows, pantomime and extravaganza dedicated to the eternal fight with “the other me”. We can easily say that the play of Yancho Ivanov called “The Other” will find a worthy place in the “performances for adults” direction. The author who is also a director of the play admitted that the problem has kept him “awake” for a long time until he found out “the polishing” that actors, stage and of course audience needed. Having no claims for completeness I would just list some of the questions whose answers the characters of Ivanov have been searching for.


  • Does the fake smile make you a hypocrite?
  • Does the shadow have its own puppeteer or does he actually pull our strings?
  • Can you hide in yourself and release “your other you” to the outside world?
  • Which world is Real: the real one or the imaginary one?
  • Which battles are more eager: those on the field or those with our own concepts?

The list could be longer or changed… It depends on what you see on the stage when the lights go down and the action starts. Ivanov said that he was afraid until the last minute that his “language” won’t be accepted by the audience and he started to breathe again after he heard the first laugh from the public. He believes that “The Other” will match the demands of his colleagues, will attract spektators and together with the other performance of Ishtvan Nagi – “Commedia Dell’Arte” will provoke discussions on the local theatre development. “Rehearsals took more than 4 months. There was a moment when they were stopped because of the lack of resources but finally all together decided to finish them.” – said Mr. Darin Petkov – Theatre manager. He also mentioned with regret that more and more of the puppeteers forget about the experimental issues trying to survive in the situation of an economic crisis. They count on the familiar one, the ordinary one, the safe one in the sense of not having financial losses. Unfortunately that way they lose individuality.

Delyan Kyosev, who plays the shadow of the main character /Kaloyan Georgiev/ lost 4 kilos on the stage. Actresses Elitsa Stoyanova and Desislava Ilcheva needed their full set of skills not only in acting but also in painting. Plamen Petkov who is in charge of the musical settings turned upside down all the libraries of records to find the right answers of the author’s questions. And here are the living characters. 
Asked about the influence of Stanislavski, Peter Brook, Brecht and Meyerhold on the play, the graduate of NATFA, a movie maker, a puppeteer and expert in culture studies – Yancho Ivanov said “There’s something from all of them but anyway 2/3 of “The Other” is dedicated to homo ludens”. The Playing man – since we all are fated to play…”.