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10 Years of ACT Festival for Independent Theatre

Well, the river of time never stops, and here we are 10 years later – everything is different and at the same time so very much the same…

10 years of ACT Festival as a gathering point, a forum, a showcase, a university, a bridge towards other lands and cultures, an idea generator, a stage for exchange, a lobbying instrument for the causes of the independent scene, an obstetrician for the birth of an art center, a nutrient medium.

For 10 years at ACT Festival: around 100 Bulgarian project-based performances, 20 international productions, 3 coproductions, about 600 guests from abroad, over 70 workshops, working meetings, masterclasses, discussions, round tables.

We started out in 2011, trying to feel in the dark, and we gathered all the FREE-RANGE EGGS with the strong intention to prove ourselves, that here in Bulgaria we, the independent artists, exist.

The following year, with the wish for others to also see that we exist, we declared TWO like a spell, because a good thing, if it only happens once, might never repeat, but if it happens twice – there will for sure be a third time…

And the third one came with no delay. In 2013, when there was no subsidy for independent projects in the country the Festival dove into the desert, ADDING VALUE and producing three artistic ideas on its own.

In 2014 we called for and experienced the big challenge and school – ACT Festival became the artistic program of the biggest international theatre gathering in the history of Bulgaria – the meeting of the world network IETM in Sofia, SPACE FOR CHANGE.

The next year, as a “reward” for the good performance, we got punished once again with subsidy draught. So the Festival, which ended up in this strange local FIFTH DIMENSION, nearly didn’t happen.

Though thereupon we had a historical 2016! ACT Festival went international, we got onto another level quality-wise and invited everyone to a HELMET FANCY BALL.

In search of who we are, where we are, of the new, the different, of the experiment and ephemerality of theatre magic, 2017 and 2018 passed by – a TEMPORARY REALITY and POST POST, really establishing us as a European festival!

And with the foretaste of climate change, Toplocentralas and southern winds, last year we whispered together: it’s GETTING WARMER.

So we flew into 2020 – the Red House closed down, the Toplocentrala’s getting built, revolutionary things are finally taking place regarding our culture policies…  We were planning a grand anniversary with many guests, but we got overtaken by a pandemic cyclone, quarantine, a rainy summer – we humbled down, but we didn´t stop, because right now we believe that it´s important to tackle an eternal conflict that concerns us  – EGOSYSTEM/ECOSYSTEM.

Welcome to ACT Fest #10 – territory of the free creative impulse and its realization!

In this anniversary edition, along with the performative program, we will give ourselves the room for structured meetings/discussions after each performance – we´ll be discussing aesthetics, ecosystems, the changes around us and their creative thinking out and through. We will also be considering the measures, but will be live, there´s no other way, this is the magic of the performing arts.

ACT Festival for Independent Theatre 2020 will unfold from 17 to 24 October.

To the program.