“The theatre is not the building, it’s the people who create answer to their needs and beliefs” says Eugenio Barba, Danish theatre director (Odin was on MOT), hero of the fatefully self-chosen “theatre of poverty”.

The Young Open Theatre in the anniversary year 2000, for 25 years already has been following this theatre logic, trying more and more directly to inoculate artistic energy and sense in life’s inertia.

The Young Open Theatre was a result of our wish to open the window to the world, when the theatre in Macedonia was entering an intensive period of self-actualization, ready to meet other cultures while making the way for new generation theatre authors in the process of creating powerful theatre expression.

The Young Open Theatre is a celebration of theatre. It emphasizes the meaning of theatre as a creative form and as one of the most important appearances of communication with artistic creations and social attitudes in our epoch.

MOT is the offspring of the ‘70s. It is an expression of the continuity of theatre and cultural tendencies and changes made by the Kaj Sveti Nikita Goltarot Theatre, of the ideas presented in the youth magazine Focus, of one generation, sacrificed in the early ‘70s, but with great ambition, creative visions, faith in the art and creation and with remarkable talent to fight for the realization of its creative ideas. The birth of the Festival was an outburst of positive energy, imagination and a desire for changes on the theatre map and much more! - in the overall cultural and social setting in our country for creating new criteria and values. The festival supported young theatre writers in their search for radically different audiences and a modern sensibility. The founders - 25 May House of Youth (Georgi Simeonov i Iso Rusi), today, Youth Cultural Center and the Open Theatre University of the Aesthetic Laboratory at the Philological Faculty in Skopje (Ljubisha Nikodinovski - Bish i Kiril Temkov) - have permanently incorporated themselves in the syntagmatic phrase Mlad Otvoren Teatar (Youth Open Theatre), more familiar to all as MOT.

The growth of MOT, has constantly made the checking and perfecting of its concept idea current, because in its development, MOT had surpassed the narrow financial and organizational frames that created it in 1976. In its activity MOT constantly faced new challenges, which it solved successfully. Even in the period of blockades of our country, International Theatre Festival MOT managed to integrate itself in Europe and the world as an active member (since 1992) of the Informal European Theatre Meeting - IETM seated in Brussels, Belgium. The links with over 330 theatre organizations, festivals, institutes and producers, who do not see their destiny locally, but rather try to make a “date” with the most current ideas in theatre, has confirmed MOT’s legitimacy and stamped the Macedonian passport for entering the international theatre network. Young Open Theatre today is a part of the world’s theatrical family.

On the initiative of MOT Festival, in October 1992, Constitutional Assembly of the Macedonian Centre of the International Theatre Institute - ITI/ UNESCO took place, that was accepted as an ordinary member on the 25th Congress of ITI in Munich, Germany (1993). On the 28th Congress of ITI, recently held in Marseilles, the Macedonian Theatre was promoted in the WTD - World Theatre Database and in World of Theatre.

The process of development of the new concept, which began with its foundation and expansion, continued with Searching the Roots (1992), with our own production and the re-make of the founders of the Macedonian theatre and drama, through The Antic and the Myth and Return to Avant-garde, which was also a reevaluation of the basic program directions and aims of the Festival. Celebrating its 20th anniversary (1995) with the theme The Theatre at the Cross-roads, MOT trod its way to the year 2000, here in the heart of the Balkan peninsula, on the crossroad between North and South, East and West for millennia - as a multitheatre meeting of all those who have the interest and desire to share their experiences and accomplishments. To round up its concept, MOT will turn more ambitiously to the cooperative presence in the Mediterranean region by becoming a member of the Mediterranean International Theatre Institute association of theatre festivals, seated in Madrid, Spain (1998).

As a first and only Festival in our country with international character MOT contributes for breaking up the isolationism in culture. With its contents MOT is a leap in the next theatre century.

Today MOT confirms its own identity: its international character with performances of over 400 various shows by theatres and alternative groups from about forty countries from Europe, the United States, Canada, Venezuela, India, Japan, the Republic of Corea and Mali in Africa. This confirmed the high rating of MOT.

Young Open Theatre Festival is a constitutive part and one of the most important appearances of the Macedonian Youth Culture. But, much wider. It is awaited and accepted as kind of theatre celebration, for the audience and for the participants. For years creating MOT’s spirit of intense mutual experience and co-operation, through the exchange of results from the research and the experiment, especially in the alternative and off-institutional forms - no festival kitchens and awards - we could say that the AUDIENCE first and foremost was and has remained the only barometer of the selection who allows no compromises.

Its motto is the one set by the Open Theatre University on its foundation “Mass, open and available for the presence and participation of everyone and everywhere!”. Constantly discovering new stages - from the Philological Faculty Auditorium in the distant 1976, then on to the Square and the streets, the pubs in the Old Charshija and the Fortress, conquering the stages of the professional theatre houses and reviving its constant base YCC - this festival redesigned the entire city into a theatre stage. MOT has become a kind of a hallmark for Skopje.

A Festival like MOT, first and foremost is an invitation to confront various artistic options and creative sensitivity that throw even minimal light on the world today and direct us to understand human and cultural relations in a time with political, economical and technological waverings. From the very beginning, maybe because I have always worked with spirit open for everything expressed on the margins of the predominant trends, I chose to seek for theatre experiences that are out of the known codes and out of the good trod road of the Macedonian theatre. I have been especially fascinated by mixed artistic disciplines and confrontation of cultures, although I am not selecting the productions/ performances primarily by these parameters.

From my point of view - as a man on the crossroad of the theatre - an international festival can never be just junction of performances which are known in advance to be successful, but with greater risk, a promotion of different approaches whose productions, have really reached different levels of perfection. I believe in slow processes, I believe in initial research, because in it I see the acute and original approach to the theatre act.

In this sense, the meaning of MOT and its influence on the development of the Macedonian theatre, and in a broader context of the Balkans and Europe is very important. Many of MOT’s performances are the most significant moments in our theatre: the pantomimists of the Drama Studio from London, who at the very birth of the festival, precisely at noon in the Philological Faculty Auditorium, with the glory of theatre with their show Prufrock, “inflamed” the two thousand audience; the carnival parade with the Comedians from Spain and their superb SolSolet in Kurshumli An; The End of Europe from Poland; the legendary Mass in A-Major by SMG from Ljubljana; Pandur’s Scheherazade; Sun 3 from the USA; the puppet Macbeth from Japan and Hamlet by the ITD from Zagreb; the parade and fireworks in celebration of MOT’s 20th birthday with Gigantomachia by the Plasticians from France, who filled the city center with the most numerous MOT audience; up to The Three Lives of Lucy Cabrol in the unforgettable performance of Theater de Complicite from London, the 300th performance of which was greeted with ovations - the actors and the audience sang the song from the show together (which here they discovered that it is from our country!) on the 21st MOT’96; the new circus and Circus Cirkor’s “oo Millenium”. These few shows alone, well known on the most important world theatre festivals, confirm the high rating, the creative quality and the validity of the concept of MOT. In the last few years, the world famous names - choreographers Joshiko Chuma from NewYork and Bert Gstettner and his troupe Tanz Hotel from Vienna have started the process of international coproductions / festival premieres on MOT (with participation of our ballerinas). The most important names of the ex-Yugoslav theatre scene were promoted here. Some of them made their debuts on MOT and we could not forget the glitters of the Macedonian drama and theatre, especially the alternative theatre and avant-garde, among which the Pralipe Roma Theater and the Theatre Workshop of the Faculty of Philosophy remain built in into MOT’s foundations.

MOT’s well known idea is - to grab “the spirit of the age,” to be current and to be in the midst of the world theatre happenings. As Joseph Hartmann, theatre director from Vienna noted sagaciously: “The Dramatical framework of “The theatre at the crossroad” is not dealing anymore with the quest for the necessary theatre progression, but searches for the incredible and the possibilities it offers for one special production”. The success and the growth of MOT, today, speaks for its importance and value, firstly it is the product of its own identification with the theatre of new technologies and the new circus, the theatre of motion and the modern dance theatre, but also with the new interpretation of the classics and with supreme acting. MOT’s striving for new theatre forms is and has always been a tendency to incorporate and elicit them in our theatre environment.

From its very beginnings, MOT’s desire has been to promote and support young theatre authors. MOT enabled the realizations of numerous festival premieres, its projects or co-productions.

“With its values that are becoming more and more evident, and its constancy and growth, MOT is turning into a unavoidable theatre happening on the Balkans, primarily as one of the driving forces of its own, and our country’s integration in the family of cultures (and especially theatre) of Europe and the world.” However symbolic that may seem, MOT did (and does) enable “the breakthrough through the wall!” (Evident Values: MOT ’96, Ivan Ivanovski, Kulturen zivot 3-4/96)

Today you can read about MOT in the “Festivals Planet” (Planéte Festivals) of the French Association of the Artistic Action (AFAA) or to search for it in the global theatre village on the Internet - the festival network FEST - PASS, as well as on the home site: and in the databases of the search engines Alta Vista and Yahoo etc.

At the end of the era, before the mysterious 21st century certain studies (and new facts) in the new theatre and dance in the world (and in our country) are getting to their end or appear as a kind of re-make: what, how and where to go to next?! After this period of 24 years it clear that MOT has set the global question of reconsideration and reevaluation of the existing value systems and theatrical poetics in our country and wider, in the search for the Theatre of the Future. Should we go on to a theatre in which the predominant part will be played by computerization, video, lasers and other new technologies?! A theater with no words, one of symbols and signs…

Ljubisha Nikodinovski - Bish
MOT Artistic Director