Bond Street Theatre has enjoyed a long and active history in the Balkan region, working in the area since 1999.
Kosovo Refugee Camps — Macedonia, 1999
As an immediate response to the war in Kosovo, Joanna Sherman and Michael McGuigan spent three weeks bringing laughter, joy and creative play to more than 10,000 Kosovar children in seven refugee camps located throughout Macedonia, many children having been traumatized by the war.
We staged shows in open areas before audiences of 1,000-2,000 people, and taught mime and theatre games to the children. When we returned to a camp later, we were pleased to find the children demonstrating what they had learned from days before. This project has clearly demonstrated to us the value of interactive theatre, and the healing power of all of the expressive arts.
One year after the war which devastated Kosovo, we had the extraordinary opportunity to collaborate and share theatrical ideas with Theatre Tsvete, an award-winning puppet theatre company from Bulgaria, making a positive contribution to the lives of thousands of Kosovar Albanians. Together, we created a compelling, non-verbal version of Romeo and Juliet, a story that addresses the tragedy of neighbor against neighbor, and yet takes no sides. The play was presented in theatres throughout Kosovo. We also conducted workshops for actors, directors, social workers, other professionals, and students, and gave performances and workshops for Roma, Albanian and Serbian children in rural villages and towns throughout Kosovo.
Bosnia and Serbia, 2001
Bond Street Theatre returned to the Balkans to continue our artistic-humanitarian work. Highlights include:
Arts Exchange, 2002
Bond Street Theatre and Theatre Tsvete traveled to Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia to conduct artistic exchanges with four theatre companies: Teatri Petro Marko of Albania; Theatre Boemi of Macedonia; Theatre Dodona of Pristina, Kosovo; and Dah Teatar of Serbia. Our primary goal was to initiate the formation of a Balkan network of artists devoted to peace and cross-cultural cooperation, which became the Performing Artists for Balkan Peace.
In each location, the companies shared performance techniques, training processes, ideas and missions, as well as their dedication to addressing the crucial issues of the region: corruption, trafficking, inter-ethnic tensions, war and healing. Bond Street Theatre and Theatre Tsvete also presented our non-verbal Romeo and Juliet at the International Theatre Festival Skampa in Elbason, Albania and the Theatre of the Minorities by the famous Bit Bazaar in Skopje, Macedonia. In Kosovo, both companies taught at the Arts Academy in Pristina, and at the new Actor’s Studio founded by famed Kosovar playwright and director, Enver Petrovci. Through UNICEF, the companies gave performances at refugee centers in Mitrovica, Kosovo, and the Flora Brovina Center for Women in Pristina.
The Edith Markson Travel Fund