|Thus far nobody has ever been able to touch the human soul as profoundly as him, the genius bard. All our desires, feelings, conditions, fears, demons to be perfectly depicted and all at once to temp us in one “devilish” way and penetrate our greatest desires while offering the most fantastic plots. Every year we put the costumes, the makeup and recreate the world of Shakespeare. For reading Shakespeare, directing his work, performing and attending the plays is nothing less than a life philosophy.
The idea of organizing the Bitola Shakespeare Festival was born in London 2012 while the theatre was participating in Globe to Globe Festival with our performance „Henry the VI – part three” that was considered very successful. The National Theatre Bitola was one of the few theatres from the Balkans that took part in this grandiose theatre meeting dedicated to Shakespeare.
Bitola Shakespeare Festival is project of the National Theatre Bitola and it takes place on several stages in the theatre as well as in outdoor open spaces, like the Ancient Theatre of Heraclea, which is 2 km from Bitola, and it is the most attractive site. As numerous and various Shakespeare’s plays were already staged in our Theatre, being the first professional theatre in Macedonia with continuity of more than 70 years, we found it interesting and provocative to start such a festival in Bitola, a city rich in history and culture.
The tempting repertoire of the Festival and the professional narration of the theatre stories by the actors as well as the artistic and creative ensemble of the National Theatre of Bitola and the theatres and companies from all around the world, presents the audience with the opportunity to follow the theatre events continually and most importantly to offer the spectator one complete pleasure, improve their knowledge and above all – have fun. Composed in this way, the repertoire of the Bitola Shakespeare Festival can truly be granted with all the attributes for innovation and artistic value of the theatre accomplishments. Repertoire, rich in fostering the classic, but also presenting the contemporary foreign and Macedonian dramatic art. Plays conducted by the directors’ poetics and esthetics that require contemporary scene and costume resolutions, different artistry, individual expression and molding of the atmosphere in an ambient oddity and unique approach of the text. In a word, theatre philosophy that constantly contributes with its originality.
Apart from the numerous plays and performances, this festival hosts workshops for actors and dramaturges and discussions that give the opportunity to explore and learn about the work of Shakespeare with hosts and guests being distinguished dramaturges and shakespearelogists.
Bitola has wide audience during the season but we think that the festival contributes to increasing that number and expanding collaboration, especially international, that gives sort of different experience for the audience but also for the theatre professionals, from Macedonia and all over the world.
The previous editions were very successful and we have welcomed many renowned theatre companies but also small productions, workshops, discussions and concerts. We hosted Companies from the region such as Serbia, Albania and Bulgaria but also from China, USA, Mexico, Russia, Holland, Poland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, England and many other countries worldwide.
So far our productions of Shakespeare have travelled and performed at various festivals in USA, China, Armenia, Serbia, Israel and many others.
The interest for the Festival grows every year and the participation in European Network of Shakespeare Festivals has brought us international companies and worldwide famous directors and theatre workers.
Bitola Shakespeare Festival is a great inspiration for other theatre companies from Macedonia to stage more plays and performances by Shakespeare and present their work at the Bitola Shakespeare Festival.
All in all, this festival is an inspiration for us to continue with the enthusiastic and productive hard work and dedication, thus presenting the theatre lovers with unforgettable experience.