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Performing Culture

A project by Ksenija Cockova, Wiebke Stadler, Silke Wittig, and Lucia Zimmermann

Host organizations: NGO Kontrapunkt, LOJA - Center for Balkan Cooperation and Qendra Multimedia

"Performing Culture" was initiated by four organizations from Kosovo and Macedonia. Various genres of performing arts served as mediums for collective communication. Collective activities promote exchange that transcends ideological borders and encourages the development of a vibrant performance scene in the region. The goal of the collaboration was to encourage mutual learning and support despite linguistic and cultural differences. The project brought students from the region closer to performative art forms and contributed to overcoming barriers in the minds of young people from the geographically close but culturally, ethnically, and linguistically different cities of Pristina, Skopje, and Tetovo.

Poe:tri - Workshop and Poetry Slam
December 2010, Center for Balkan Cooperation LOJA, Tetovo (Macedonia)

The first component was a three-day poetry-slam workshop, led by German-Iranian slammer and artist Michel Abdollahi. Young people interested in culture and literature from all three cities participated. Together, they learned about the techniques and artistic expression possible in poetry slams. In Germany this form of reading for an audience is very popular and widespread, in Tetovo, however, poetry slams were not well known at that point.

Many texts and concepts in various languages were created during the workshops. They were discussed and studied in groups so that they could be presented, "performed" at a closing poetry slam on stage in front of an audience. The participants' presentations were in Macedonian, Albanian, and English.

Im:pro - Improvisations-Theater Workshop
May 2011, MKC / KIC, Skopje (Macedonia)

Half a year later, a three-day workshop on improvisational theater took place in Skopje with the German trainer Michael Quednau. Participants had fun, showing a lot of enthusiasm for the exercises and rehearsals. The closer it came to the final presentation, the closer the members of each group felt to one another. Despite the fact that they had a very short time to prepare and had no previous experience in improvisational theater, the participants shone on the stage with their performances, spontaneous ideas, and wealth of creativity. The audience was also very engaged and actively helped to shape the performance itself.

With support from: Center for drama arts T-Haus, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Skopje, CIVICA Mobilitas