Performing Artists for Balkan Peace
After four years working closely with artists across the Balkans, the idea to bring these vibrant artists together was natural. The Performing Artists for Balkan Peace was created to bring together professional theatre companies, individual artists, and theatre practitioners from across the Balkans to exchange, discuss, and create new work that addresses the issues of the region.
The new network is devoted to the active pursuit of social progress and artistic cooperation through the performing arts, and strengthening the role of the artist in the community. The PABPcollaborates on original performance projects and involves local communities through site-specific works, workshops and outreach.
The PERFORMING ARTISTS FOR BALKAN PEACE is an ongoing and expanding network of professional theatre companies, individual performing artists, and other theatre practitioners devoted to the active pursuit of peace, social progress and artistic cooperation through the performing arts, and to strengthening the role of artist in the community.
History & Projects
August 2006 – Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The group re-met the following year in Mostar, this time with additional artists from across the Balkans and Eastern Europe to share artistry, vision, frustrations, and hopes. The experience was, in a word, inspirational. The group had seven days to reconstruct Honey and Bloodas the opening performance of Mostar Youth Theatre’s Festival of Authorial Poetics, an annual festival that attracts students and professionals from around the world for an intensive series of workshops and performances.
The PABP encouraged the Festival participants to join the project for its next challenge: creating a site-specific work that would transform destroyed sites around the city of Mostar into performance spaces, and reflect on the themes those sites inspire.
The City of Mostar is a dramatic and inspiring backdrop for site-specific work. Ten years after the war, the scars are still highly visible, with shattered buildings still standing in central locations. With the help of the Mostar Youth Theatre, the group chose three sites: a bombed-out bank, a destroyed library, and an abandoned stadium. We used resources found on location and little else. The groups realized that this site-specific work was very useful in that it mimicked the conditions we find in our outreach work in refugee camps, prisons, orphanages – that is, few resources and much inspiration.
The final production, Going Places, took the audience from site to site where the old buildings came to life just long enough to tell one piece of the story of Mostar. The audience, a mix of artists, students and local residents gave very positive responses.