As much as we don’t want to admit it, the trolleybus is an ingenious invention. This cross between a bus and a tram is more energy-efficient than its prototypes, leaves a minimal footprint on the environment and does not contribute to noise pollution.

Until recently, the Independent Theatre was a marshrutka.* It made noise, wasted a lot of resources (not financial, they were rather lacking), didn’t take a lot of people, usually only those who use it regularly, knew where to get on and where this thing was going and yes, the drivers had seen it all just like taxi drivers and they could tell you everything about life. But every trip was unforgettable. Until recently, the charm of the independent scene was discreet and a little dangerous. That has changed.

That special internal combustion, which drove the independent artists on, took us to the new home – Tolocentrala, to new audiences and approaches to life and work. This year’s festival reflects these processes. For the first time in nine years, the Bulgarian showcase was made by the applicant artists themselves. Each of them looked at the work of all other candidates and anonymously gave their assessment on six criteria – concept, implementation, innovation, relevance, accessibility and sustainability.

The result is there – a rich, varied, slightly eclectic program, in which classical texts and performative installations, video dance and contemporary drama coexist. All of that is the independent scene. And not only. Meetings with stars of the modern theater of the rank of Sascha Waltz, Phia Menard, Miriam Engel, Karin Power, Aggrupacion Senor Serrano, ie. these people exactly. Ten Bulgarian and five foreign performances, eleven workshops, a conference and round table.

We burn internally, there is no dispute. But we want to become electric. Not just because of the melting of the polar caps. It is not clear what a marshrutka can evolve into. Shared trip? Uber? Nevermind, it’s illegal. We still have interesting times ahead of us in an unpleasant way. The change is in the hands of each of us. Sometimes the craziest ideas, such as crossing a tram and a bus, lead to unexpectedly good results. Sometimes not. We are yet to find out.

Welcome to the eleventh edition of the ACT Independent Theater Festival!

– Stefan Prohorov, Chairman, Association for Independent Theatre


*Marshrutka is a minibus that operates like a cross between buses and taxis. They speed between lanes and you’re supposed to hail to the driver to get in. Then you’re stuffed with too many people and try to figure out where to get out.