International Art Laboratory

History:

In the year of 2003, Non-profit organization “PIERROT”, State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora, Municipality of Stara Zagora, Foundation “Balkans stage”, The Swiss Cultural Program in Bulgaria and National center for theatre – Bulgaria joined efforts and created the unique First laboratory for directors “Puppets on the Balkans”. The workshop was meant for young directors, actors, stage designers, play-writers and everyone who want to improve and enrich their creative instruments in the field of puppet theatre art for adults.

The theme: “He and She – the sinful love”
Art director: Assoc. prof. Petar Pashov
Stage design: Marieta Golomehova
Composer: Petar Tsankov
Directors: Predrag Bieloshevich – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vladko Stefkov – Macedonia, Teodora Popova – Bulgaria, Sibel Altan – Turkey, Evi Kaburaki - Greece
Participants: the actors from State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora, State Puppet Theatre – Kardzhali and State Puppet Theatre – Varna.

In the year of 2004, Stara Zagora hosted the second laboratory for directors “Pupets on the Balkans”.
The theme: “Balkan legends”
Art director: Assoc. prof. Petar Pashov
Stage design: Marieta Golomehova
Composer: Petar Tsankov
Directors: Serdzho Dlachich – Croatia, Lilyana Dimich – Serbia and Montenegro, Veselka Kuncheva – Bulgaria, Nikolay Boyadzhiev - Bulgaria
Participants: the actors from State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora and graduates from the “Puppet theatre acting” class of Assoc. Prof. Zheni Pashova at NATFA “Kr. Sarafov” – Sofia, Bulgaria

In the year of 2005, the Laboratory for directors went beyond the borders of the Balkans
Art director: Assoc. prof. Petar Pashov
Stage design: Marieta Golomehova
Composer: Petar Tsankov
Directors: Deborah Morice – Great Britain, Darko Kovachevich – Macedonia, Veselin Boydev – Bulgaria
Participants: the actors from State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora, students from the “Puppet theatre acting” class of Assoc. Prof. Zheni Pashova at NATFA “Kr. Sarafov” – Sofia, Bulgaria, students from the “Stage design” class at the National Academy of Art, students from the School for stage arts in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The ІV International laboratory for directors took place in the year of 2006.
Directors: Sanela Miloshevich – Serbia and Montenegro, Margarita Blush – USA, Emil Yordanov - Bulgaria.
The actors from State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora as well as students from the “Puppet theatre acting” class of Assoc. Prof. Zheni Pashova at NATFA “Kr. Sarafov” participated in the creative process. Students from the “Filmmaking and cinematography” class took part for a first time and created a documentary called „LABORATORNO” about the process of creation.
The workshop becomes biennial.

The V International Laboratory for directors was held from March 27 to April 9, 2008
THE VISUAL THEATRE – A ZONE OF UNLEASHING DIRECTOR’S IMAGINATION Art director: Assoc. prof. Petar Pashov
Stage design: Marieta Golomehova
Composer: Petar Tsankov
Directors: Maya Vincent – France, Kaloyan Paterkov – Bulgaria, Petar Pashov Junior - Bulgaria.

What’s new?
Teachers from the Puppet Department at NATFA “Kr. Sarafov” were invited to take part. Within the Laboratory, the work of the Puppet Theatre Acting Department was presented to the theatre community in Stara Zagora and the region.

The VI International Art Laboratory took place in the year of 2010 (15.09 -10.10.2010). It was studying the improvised acting on stage „Commedia dell'arte”.
Art director: Ishtvan Nagi – Hungary
Assistant director: Gabriela Hadzhikostova – Hungary
Participants: The actors from State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora and actors from the “Melpomene” program. The performance “Commedia almost dell'arte” has been created thanks to the same creative process.
The VII International Art Laboratory started in June 2012. The theme was: THE MUSICAL – A PROVOCATION FOR CREATIVE RESEARCHES IN THE

SYNTHETIC PERFORMING ARTS
Art director: Ishtvan Nagi – Hungary
Assistant: Gabriela Hadzhikostova – Hungary
Costumes: Adriana Naydenova – Bulgaria
Participants: The actors from State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora and actors from the “Melpomene” program. The creative process was finished with the staging of the “We won’t pay” performance after Dario Fo.
A team of BNT2 (The Bulgarian National Television) has made a documentary about the art laboratory called “Who doesn’t want to pay again?” and directed by Yuriy Dachev.
The VIII International Art Laboratory started in the summer of 2014. The theme was focused on studying of the FEAR. A special team has been invited to document the whole process.

CREATIVE TEAM:
Veselka Kuncheva* – project leader
Marieta Golomehova* – Scenographer
Hristo Namliev *– composer of the project and also of the documentary
Yavor Kunchev – Choreographer
Christian Thomas (France) – sculptor
Tomas Moravek (Czech republic) – lights designer
Katarína Ďuricová (Slovakia) – lights designer
Veselin Hristov – director of photography and photographer
Marya Stoyanova – director of the documentary
Nina Altaparmakova – editor
Participants: The actors and the team from the ateliers of State Puppet Theatre – Stara Zagora. The purpose of the lab was not only to merge the participants into the vastness of the theatre illusion but also to involve, to share with and to infect the audience with our constant desire to discover that theatre is like the Universe –endless and deep.

The subject we have studied within the laboratory was the human fear – with multiple faces and transformations, with ability to control our world and ourselves. What the human nature is capable of when rising against the oldest enemy – the FEAR?
The results: The work created during the lab evolved into a puppet theatre performance for adults called “FEAR” and directed by Veselka Kuncheva. It brought us four nominations and three “IKAR” awards. A “FEAR” documentary was also created by the filmmaker Marya Stoyanova which takes part in different selections for International documentary festivals in whole Europe.

The IX edition of the lab will start on September 25, 2016 as INTERNATIONAL ART LABORATORY – ATELIER „AGAINST MYSELF“
Art director: Veselka Kuncheva
The Laboratory will explore the world of Dostoevski and will analyze man’s desire to go against himself.

A COUPLE OF WORDS ABOUT THE LABS:
Assoc. Prof. Petar Pashov: “….the laboratories for directors have been started in order to develop and enrich the instruments that both actors and directors use, to find new territories.

That is useful for everyone – the professional actors get an opportunity to work in an environment that the repertoire theatres could not offer…
People improve their skills and there are two weeks of great spiritual environment, like a campus that everyone attends.”
Petar Tsankov: the laboratory for directors gathers professionals and that’s an accumulation of experience for searching of another kind of creative language different from the realistic, familiar theatre that people are taught in NATFA. No one knows what will happen in the end. We get focused on the process and what we show to the audience is a stage of the process …

That’s something unique in the puppet theatre field. Such type of work requires a lot of qualities. The young actors taking part are fascinating with their purity and originality, with their lack of clichés which makes them the perfect instrument. At the same time, they learn a lot about concentration, about the creative process, about the hygiene of the spirit ...”