The Igor Madzhirov Festival reveals exciting worlds that tell stories as big as the universe

The festival was opened with the award-winning play "Ronja, the Robber's Daughter"

Under the motto "Unleash your imagination!" from September 27 to 30, the second edition of the International Festival of Children's Theaters "Igor Madzirov" is organized by the Theater for Children and Youth in Skopje.

The grand opening of the second edition of the International Children's Theater Festival "Igor Madzhirov" was held on September 27 with the award-winning play "Ronja, the Robber's Daughter" at the Theater for Children and Youth, which was performed out of competition for awards.

The following days of the festival program included the performances "Forest of Songs" by "Kuskus" Institute, Art Production from Ljubljana, Slovenia; "The Bremen Town Musicians" at the Babec Theater from Bitola; "This Is Me" by the Poko Loko Theater from Zagreb, Croatia; "The Boy with the Suitcase" by Mal Teatr "Dushko Radovic" from Belgrade, Serbia; "Pinocchio and Red Riding Hood in search of Aladdin's lamp" produced by the Albanian Theater for Children and Youth; "Happy House" by guests from the City Puppet Theater from Rijeka, Croatia; "Bambi" at the Theater for Children and Youth from Kragujevac, Serbia; and the play "Error 404" performed by "Angeles de Trapo" from Malaga, Spain.

- Children's theater is one of the pillars on which the identity and culture of a country is built. The audience for which we create it is also the most valuable and sincere audience, and therefore we have a sacred obligation to approach the creation of these plays with the greatest dedication and love, the way only children know how to devote themselves to what they love. This year we tried to make a selection of plays that we call "small forms", but what we want to say between the lines is that nothing is small in our theater world. It is magical to see how in small spaces, with only necessary props and scenography, you can create whole exciting worlds that tell stories as big as the universe - said Katarina Ilievska-Siljanovska, director of the Theater for Children and Youth - Skopje, at the opening of the festival.

This year, in addition to the Grand Prix award, the festival also awards the Best Director Award, two acting awards, scenography, costume design, and a special award. The composition of the expert jury includes the director Tin Grabnar from Slovenia, who is the president, and the members: actor Dragan Dovlev, current President of the Festival Council, and Milivoje Mladjenović, a theater expert and former director of Steriino pozorje. A novelty for this year is the introduction of a children's jury, which has the task of evaluating and awarding the best performance of the festival, according to their choice.

"Bremen Musicians" performance at "Babec" Theater from Bitola

Since this year, the "Igor Madzirov" festival has also started cooperation with the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Skopje, where a puppet theater workshop is held for students and already graduated actors and directors, and it is led by the actress and director Tamara Kucinović, professor of puppet theater from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Osijek, Croatia. Within the festival, there is another workshop for children and teachers on the subject of puppet theater, led by director Davor Dragojevic from Podgorica, Montenegro.

- I want to emphasize the importance of our patron of the festival, Igor Madzhirov, a symbol of children's theater in our country, in general. I believe and wish that this festival will grow into a tradition, because it is an important actor both for the audience and for us as the only professional institution in the field of children's and youth theater - says actor Dragan Dovlev, president of the festival council.

This year's festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture. The plays are performed on the stages of TDM, Comedy Theater, MNT, Albanian Theater for Children and Youth. The patron of the festival is the president Stevo Pendarovski.

(The text was published in "Cultural Press" number 198, in the printed edition of the newspaper "Sloboden Pechat" on 30.09-01.10.2023)

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