New Stages South-East: Bulgaria

Сцена от постановката "Чайка" на режисьора Юрген Гош © Матиас Хорн

Ausschreibung für Dramatiker*innen

Writing, Re-writing, and the Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback

Playdevelopment workspace with Maria Milisavljevic (Germany)  

Place and time: Goethe Institute Bulgaria, 13 – 16 May 2021
Duration: 3-day workshop, 6 hours max. p. day
Application deadline: 30 January 2021 


The Goethe-Institut Bulgaria opens a call for Bulgarian authors actively working in the field of drama. Six authors from Bulgaria will be selected to participate in a 3-day “playdevelopment workspace” with German author Maria Milisavljevic on the topic of “Writing, Re-writing, and the Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback”. The workshop will be part of the First International Festival of South-Eastern European Dramaturgy in Sofia.

This is not a workshop, but a workspace, aiming at creating a safe and open space for each participating playwright to work on a new script, scene or text close to their hearts. 
This is not a workshop, and as such is not the goal of the workspace to produce polished, finished (and consumer-friendly) scripts. It is rather the journey and exploration about and around the texts that the focus will lie on.
Playdevelopment is a relationship with the text and the people that you decide to work on it with. It should not be a technique to get your script “ready for production”. Yes, as most playwrights know, there is hardly any time or money for this process, unless a production is pending. Still, it can be helpful (and even healing) to perceive the development of one’s play as a creative journey full of respect and love for the written word – and to ask your collaborators to do the same.
The key in creating a creative environment for working on a text is openness and the ways in which we decide to communicate. The language we chose and the position out of which we decide to speak are just as relevant as taking the time to read the script several times before starting the process. 
In playdevelopment the most important person in the room is the text. 
It is never criticized, it is commented on. 
It is never put down, it is lifted up. 

This workspace will start out with a short introduction of various forms of playdevelopment processes and a sharing of the various experiences of the participating playwrights. The playwrights will then spend two of the three days, working on their scripts. During this time, each will be visited by the mentor for one-on-one sessions, to introduce, discuss and shape their work. This will give them a first feedback. The mentor will pose questions to the text, mirror it in understanding and effect, and will discover with the playwright ideas and opportunities to further work on. 

On day 3, a short introduction into the “art of critique” will be given. How do we talk about each others’ texts? What are phrases and ways of addressing the text that can be helpful? How can we communicate an honest and precise opinion and still keep up a creatively fruitful atmosphere? 

Finally, all playwrights will get together to read all scripts in the group. Each playwright will receive feedback from the group, who in turn can use the opportunity to apply the techniques they have just heard of before.
This workspace will be held in English. Written language is each participant’s native language. Translators are available. 
This workspace or variations of it have been held at the Arcola Theatre London, the Universities of Gießen, Dortmund and Bochum, at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Porto Alegre, and at Goethe Institute Tokyo. It is also a playwrighting course at Bard’s College New York – Berlin Theater Summer Intensive.
Maria Milisavljević, born 1982 in Arnsberg, Germany, is an award-winning, internationally successful playwright and theatre maker. Over the past twenty years, Maria has worked with various theatres and companies across Germany, Canada, the U.S. and the UK. Maria's first play Brandung won the 2013 Kleist Promotional Award for Young Dramatists (Kleistförderpreis) and opened at Deutsches Theater Berlin. Maria's play Beben won the German Playwright's Award ('Deutschsprachiger Autorenpreis') at the Heidelberger Stückemarkt 2016, the Else-Lasker-Schüler Award for Best New Play (Stückepreis) 2016, was nominated for the Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis 2018, and shortlisted for the 2016 Stückemarkt at the Theatertreffen Berlin. Maria’s plays have been produced at theatres in Germany, Canada, Mexico, Brasil, Serbia, France, Sweden, London, New York, and Vienna. Maria further holds a doctoral degree in English and also works as a translator. She lives in Berlin.
The Goethe-Institutes in Bosnia, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Cyprus are starting the long-term project “New Stages South-East”, aiming at highlighting and supporting new dramaturgy in the region and encouraging cross-border exchange in the field. 
Starting in 2021 the Goethe-Instituts will launch a broad platform in all participating countries including workshops, seminars, public readings, experimental formats and concluding in 2023 with a presentation in Germany and a publication. 
Each country will select 5-6 local authors (with or without an open call), who will participate in a workshop organized in their country of origin. Each of the participants will have the chance to travel to and take part in a workshop organized in one of the other cities. The organisers of Goethe-Institut will decide whom to send to which city based on applicants´ work, interests, contacts and preferences. Participants will be expected to participate with an already existing or a new idea for a new dramatic piece. 
The workshop program in all seven countries will be continued in 2022 with a new series of workshops and a new round of participants. Participants in the first edition in 2022 will be able to apply for participation in the workshops in 2023, if they motivate their application with the need of further mentoring, new areas of interest, new networking or partnering opportunities etc. 

The workshops aim to support authors in the development of a new piece. Developing and finishing a new piece in the period of the project in NOT mandatory. Anyways, those who finish and submit their work by the end of 2022 can be selected to participate in the concluding stage of the project. Their works will be translated into English and German and will be presented at the concluding event in Germany in 2023. 

First International Festival of South-East European Dramatury (IFSEED)

The Festival is organized by Goethe-Institut Bulgaria and its program is curated by the institute in cooperation with the other institutes participating in the project. It will take place in the period 13th-16th of May 2021. 
The program will include public events such as readings and reading performances, a professional forum with panels, discussions and networking events, as well as experimental formats and events aiming to bring dramaturgy closed to a broader audience. The professional forum and selected other events will be streamed online and promoted in all participating countries.  

Concluding phase 2022

In the concluding phase of the project in 2023 the organisers will select newly developed pieces (exact amount tbd), which will be then translated into English and German, presented in the concluding event in Germany and published in the publication. The pieces will be selected by a broad jury consisting of 1 member of each Goethe-Institut and Goethe-Institut´s headquarter and all 7 workshop leaders from each city. Their choice will be based on 1 page abstract + 1 page excerpt in English (translation to be covered by the organizers).
All participating authors must fluently speak English, since all workshops will take place in English. Writing language remains participants´ mother tongue. Translation services in and to English will be provided during the workshops in order to support the working process. Public events such as readings and performances will take place in the original language, mostly but not always with English subtitles. Translation and subtitling depend on each institute´s local program, concept and approach. 
The current open call is directed to playwrights from Bulgaria. The call is open also to Bulgarian authors living outside Sofia and Bulgaria, but the organizers cannot cover travel and accommodation costs of the Bulgarian participants for the workshop in Sofia. 
Further requirements: 
  • The call is open both to emerging and established authors. Applicants must have at least one already written theatre play and at least 5 publications (in print and online media, academic publications, books etc.) 
  • Fluent in English
  • Readiness to travel - each participant will be offered the oportunity to travel to 1 more city (Belgrade, Bucharest, Thessaloniki, Athens, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Nikosia) and participate in a local dramaturgy workshop there. All travel and accommodation costs for participating in the workshop abroad will be covered by the organizers.
Please send you application via email to until 30 January 2021. 

Required documents: 
  • Authobiography and/or portfolio in English 
  • Sample of work (excerpt from a play, article or other text) – preferably in English 
  • Motivation letter (max. 1 page). Applicants can mention here up to 3 cities (rated) where they would like to participate in a further dramaturgy workshop in. The final decision on the travelling plan of Bulgarian participants will be taken by the Goethe-Institut Bulgaria. 
Technical requirements: 
  • Subject of the email: New Stages Application [NAME]
  • Max. size of attachments: 10 MB (emails containing larger attachments will be rejected by the surver)
  • No authomatic messages and time limited download links