How Balkan Express was created?
Motivated by the need to communicate and work together a group of performing arts operators from the Balkans, strongly supported by the IETM (Informal European Theatre Meeting) joined forces in a creation of the Balkan Express project. It is a project of creation of a Balkan performing arts network - its aim is to develop as an informal platform of performing arts professionals from Balkan countries, as well as beyond, which facilitates the exchange of information, ideas and projects, the dialogue and communication, and encourages collaboration in the Balkan region, helping as well in establishing connections with other regions.
The reality of the south-eastern European region is in the lack of contact and real collaboration, reinforced by political and economic problems that the region has been facing, as well as the new situation created by the enlargement of Europe, creating new boundaries but also new opportunities for collaboration. Aware of these difficulties, but dedicated and enthusiastic, on the occasion of an IETM meeting held in April 2002 in Trieste, a few members from this region presented the idea of organizing a meeting that would discuss their mutual problems and lead to a better understanding of each other and possible cooperation. As a result, the BE project was created, eventually growing into a networking, meeting on regular basis.
Mission and actions
BE’s mission was defined: (Re)Establishment of the mobility of art in the Balkans with the aim to improve the exchange with the rest of Europe.
This mission is to be carried out through different actions that would allow the opening of the Balkan region and improve communication within the region itself but also with other European or non-European regions and countries: • The creation of an information point for Balkan cooperation through information centres in different countries and a Balkan performing arts database • Organizing individual and group visits and internship programs, within the region and beyond, thus helping the establishment of personal contacts and the exchange of information • Organizing training programs • Achieving certain political weight enabling some influence on important issues, such as the mobility of artists in an open Europe • Mediation between independent and governmental institutions
After the first meeting held in Ljubljana, a starting point of the project, three more meetings were held - in Medana (December 2002), in Flanders (March 2003, with the support of the Flemish Theatre Institute) and in Sarajevo (November 2003).
The next meeting will be held in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania, in June 2004, organised by Ecumest association.
Meanwhile, we keep you busy with the latest news and a number of contacts from the Balkan region on these pages!
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