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Bitola, Macedonia

The award for the best play overall at the 12th International Children’s Theater Festival “Bitolino” was awarded to the play “Still!” The statue that went around the world” directed by Kostas Silvestros and Panagiotis Tofi, produced by the theater group STILL! from Cyprus. The best performance was chosen by a three-member jury consisting of: Blagoj Micevski, Igor Ivkovic and Miodrag Necak.

“Bitolino” was held on the stages of the Culture Center, and some of the events outside the competition took place on the stage of the National Theater of Bitola. This year, the audience had the opportunity to see 12 plays from 10 theaters from 9 countries. The festival had 100 participants and over 2100 visitors.

The festival started with a theater workshop by the title of “Myths and Legends of Bitola” under the direction of director Blagojce Božinovski, with which through theater and theatrical language, children get closer to the process of creating a character and a children’s theater performance.

“Besides socializing and developing children’s creativity, the main goal of this theater workshop is to infect as many children as possible with the magic of the theater and thus start creating new theater-savvy generations, who will be the future audience with high theatrical criteria, and through theater and play, to introduce them to the history of Bitola and the many legends and myths told about it throughout the centuries” – said the people from the Festival.

Within the frames of the Festival, the audience enjoyed the performances: “You are lying Melita”- NI Theater for children and youth Skopje, MACEDONIA, “Heart in the dark” – Maribor Puppet Theatre, SLOVENIA, “El Ogrito” – Mil Rostros Theatre, MEXICO, ”STILL! – A statue that travelled the world “- STILL Theatre group, CYPRUS, “An Icelandic Advent Adventure” – Signs of North theater, ICELAND, ”Strays”- Hippo theatre group, GREECE, ”Under the Half of a Drop” – Station – service for Contemporary Dance, SERBIA, ”Where is Fofo?” – Ruti Tamir Mime and Theatre, ISRAEL, ”Lila” – Theatre Organization CLOU, CROATIA.

We saw performances that brought the theater closer to the kids through innovative use of space and different ways to tell the story’s moral, and wonderful visual experiences that use modern technologies to talk about issues we do not speak about often, such as autism. We saw emotional stories with traditional use of puppets and traditional stories with great music and songs; an interactive performance about raising consciousness about the environment, ecology and stray dogs and an almost hypnotic interactive performance that brings contemporary dance close to kids in a non-pretentious way. We saw perfect actors’ performances telling interesting stories through pantomime and a performance from the always interesting world of clowning, that has the power to bring us over the rainbow.

– It is very difficult to choose one best performance among those, because they all deserve it on it is own way. Still, one show that incorporated it all, somehow made our job easier, starting from a wonderful idea and story, perfect directing and choreography, outstanding actors performances, live performed music, scenography, costumes and especially video designs that constantly created magic on stage, all together made a show spectacle as we never saw before. Using international invented language the show came to the hearts of the audience and took all the votes from the jury. I am sure that you are already guessing that I talk about the show STILL, the statue that traveled the world, from our guests from Cyprus.– said Micevski who was the President of the jury.

At the opening of the 12th Bitolino International Children’s Festival in Bitola, the director of the festival, Vasko Mavrovski, came on stage with a banner in his hands that read “We deserve our own stage, we want a children’s theater in Bitola”.

During the festival, several meetings of Macedonian ASSITEJ centre were held.

The festival was held under the motto of “Follow the light”.

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