The Macedonian Centre of the International Theatre Institute is an NGO for culture, theatre and the performing arts. It develops and performs international promotion of local contemporary performing arts: theatre, opera/musical theatre, dance, performance, via education, publishing and collaborative theatre productions/co-productions.
Macedonian Center ITI/PRODUKCIJA
Based in: Skopje
Facebook: Macedonian Center of International Theater Institute
ITI’s Ivanka Apostolova Baskar – producer, dramaturg, theatre video-maker – gives her response to lockdown…
How was 2020-2021 for artists in North Macedonia?
Because we have only national theatres with employed ensembles and not a large alternative theatre scene, COVID was seen as an excuse for not creating theatre and instead lamenting false grief while seated at home and receiving regular salaries per month – except for several positive examples from the alternative scene and one or two projects made during the year by the national theatres. I think Macedonian theatre and the performing arts were the most passive within a European context.
What was the specific effect on you as an artist?
I was very creative with lot of ideas and programme activities. There is no excuse for cutting creative continuity.
What aid was there for you in North Macedonia?
There was only a very small, selective and symbolical aid of 850 euros per person / 1000 euros per NGO, per year.
So did Covid release the idea of art or co-opt it?
It released it. The crisis of Covid and lockdown has improved international digital collaborations, which is a test for the true professional credibility of quality and eagerness to create to produce art.
The work that you produced that’s linked on this page – was it a direct response to lockdown?
Yes and no. It is more response of other subversions in my country such as corrupt stages and working spaces in my country, the lack of our own creative working spaces, the clans in the theatres who are close to the political parties here, the corrupt cultural policies that do not practise their own public criteria for artists/productions support. The Covid lockdown was a tool for visibility of the authentic and passionate theatre and performing arts makers and creators in Macedonia.
How did you resolve the problems you faced in doing work during lockdown?
Only by creating silent digital expos, video theatre projects in short episodes based on young and emerging contemporary plays, creating theatre comics, applying to various international festivals and receiving awards for best experimental or art house films, because video theatre projects are acceptable at the international short film festivals with art house or experimental film sections – they are open for any kind of experiment, hybrid coming from the field of theatre in crisis or not. We have more digital audiences than analogue at this point!
Any thoughts on the future?
Probably more hybrid, experimental formats in theatre and the performing arts, with a balance between performative and the grammar of video-film.
I. Railway station: Life is Wonderful, directed by Tea Begovska
II. Railway station: The Star of Bethlehem, directed by Ivanka Apostolova Baskar
Team: Ana Bateva (co-producer, dramatization), Tea Begovska (director), Kiril Doncov (actor), Apostolova Baskar (co-producer, director, visual dramaturg/translator), Mihailo Apostolov (video/sound design), Vesna A Brishkoska (photography). Produced by the Macedonian Centre of ITI/PRODUKCIJA in collaboration with SPAM Studios, Bulgaria, 2020.