New Stages Southeast | Cyprus , 10.–12.9.2021
Shame and guilt

The picture shows stacks of paper sheets next to each other with texts printed on them.
New theatre works are being created | © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

Guilt and Shame is the thematic focus of the fourth of seven writers’ workshops to be held in 2021 as part of the New Stages Southeast project. The workshop took place in Nicosia on September 10 - 12, 2021 and was coordinated by Ulrike Syha.

The workshop in Nicosia was the fourth of a total of seven writers’ workshops. The theme of the workshop was Guilt and Shame.

New Stages Southeast is a project of the Goethe-Institut in the region of Southeast Europe, which aims to promote current and relevant social issues in contemporary theatre. The project will be continued next year with another series of workshops. The last phase of the workshop in the third year is a trip to Germany where the authors can present their texts to the public.

During the workshop, the participants did smaller writing tasks on various topics. Among other things, the participants were asked to write a dialogue in which one character tells another an obvious lie. In addition to the writing tasks, the participants' projects were presented and then discussed in the group, with the participants and the moderator giving their feedback. There were different projects, among others one dealing with the effects of toxic masculinity on men or one dealing with seven different facets of violence. In between, differences in theatre in the different countries were repeatedly discussed.

The participants came from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Cyprus. The workshop was led by award-winning German writer Ulrike Syha and Christos Georgiou, the director of CCOITI, theatre scholar, theatre director, production manager and independent consultant. The participants were: Marios Konstantinou, Maria Kyriakou, Maria Iole Karolidou, Achim Wieland, Galina Georgieva, Ionut Sociu, Bojana Vidosavljevic, Ivana Vuković and Anita Čeko.

  • The picture shows a group of ten people. They are standing in two rows. In the first row there are seven people, two males and four females. Behind them there are two females and one male. The background consists of green plants. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    Participants of the workshop New Stages Southeast in Nicosia

  • The picture shows the facilitator of the workshop (Ulrike Syha), she holds a blue pen in her hand and gestures while speaking. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    Workshop moderator Ulrike Syha discusses with the participants.

  • The picture shows one of the participants. He talks, gestures with his hands and looks to the side. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    Theatre professionals from Southeast Europe took part at the workshop.

  • You can see one of the participants sitting at her table. Her gaze goes to the front. She is wearing a blue top with white dots. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    Ivana Vuković

  • The picture shows one of the participants. She is looking straight with concentration and, meanwhile, grabbing her hair with one hand. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    Dramaturges from Cyprus were also there. Maria Kyriakou

  • Participants sit at their tables and look to the front right of a speaking participant. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    The participants listen to each other.

  • The picture was taken over the shoulder of one of the participants. You can see two other participants from the side. The fourth participant has turned his face to one of the other participants and is listening intently. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    Participants sit together and discuss their texts.

  • There are four people in the picture. They are all looking at the one who is currently talking. He is gesturing with his hands. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    The participants and the moderator discussing their texts.

  • The picture shows two of the participants. The one in front is slightly blurred. The participant in the back has her hand raised thoughtfully to her face. Both are looking forward and listening intently. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    Achim Wieland and Bojana Vidosavljević

  • The picture shows two participants. Both are looking ahead intently and listening. The second participant in the background is blurred. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    Maria Iole Karaolidou and Maria Kyriakou

  • The picture shows stacks of paper sheets next to each other with texts printed on them. © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides

    New theatre works are being created

Ulrike Syha

Workshop coordinator, Playwright, Translator

The picture shows a portrait of a woman (Ulrike Syha). She has tied back her hair and is wearing a white top and pushed up sunglasses. She is standing in front of a wall.
Workshop moderator Ulrike Syha | © Goethe-Institut, Andreas Loucaides
It's a very vivid group and a very fruitful exchange because we have participants from several countries and we are learning quite a lot about Southeastern Europe. We had a longer exchange about our respective theatre systems and how there are differences or similarities. And also about themes and topics, (such as) what are the questions that theatre makers ask in our countries or that the audience would want to have answered. We are also working on texts and doing some writing exercises.

It's not so easy to say whether or not this workshop has been a success or what the people might gain from it. My personal experience with this kind of programmes is always that it takes a lot of time to sink in and then to figure out if there are new networks or new connections to other writers. And usually the dialogue between the people, even the one at dinner time or during coffee break, is the essential part. I also hope of course that some of them take new ideas away for their projects and for the stuff they are working on.


Christos Georgiou

Executive director of CCOITI (Cyprus Centre of the International Theatre Institute), theatrologist, theatre director, production manager

​Christos Georgiou
© ​Christos Georgiou
What challenges do playwrights in Cyprus have to deal with?

Due to all the issues that the Cypriot society has been dealing with until today, with the Cyprus problem unsolved for so many years, with the financial crisis, the need for social self-awareness and the formulation of a Cypriot identity has matured, for which the domestic playwriting is one of the most effective means of accomplishment.

Consequently, an entire group of new “voices”, expressing new thematic orientations has been heard in Cyprus theatre the last eight years. Some of these plays, written by new and more experienced playwrights, sprouted on domestic thematic basis, seen in new viewpoints. Other plays seek to create a vaguer, from the national perspective, environment, with psychological or existential insights.

Do you believe that the project "New Stages Southeast" was able to assist local playwrights in their work? In which ways?

The New Stages Southeast project is giving step to the local theatre practitioners to collaborate with playwrights, directors and dramaturgs from Southeast Europe and Germany, to work on new projects and start a creative dialogue, to discuss current issues of theatre in their countries and to develop new theatre plays.