Petar Pejaković on the occasion of this year's Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children
June 14, 2020 - “The Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children will be held for the 28th time in its traditional period from July 2nd to 10th. It is important that the Festival is held on those days, not only because of its long tradition, but also because during this global crisis it is a positive thing to start the entire "cultural summer" in Montenegro with a festival dedicated to children and children’s culture,” said Pejaković.
Youngsters deal best with big things, even when they, like coronavirus, seem like monsters from a fairy-tale. Even as its evil fire burned on all sides, and turned their world upside down, they were patient. And as one of the rewards for their courage, the Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children, as announced by the event’s Director, Petar Pejaković, will also be held this year, from 2nd to 10th July.
Although somewhat redacted, the 27 year-old festival will continue in its attempts to bring to the most sincere of audiences positive creativity for children and young people, both in the drama and in the literary and musical segments. Pejaković spoke further to Pobjeda about this year's programme.
How much, due to the consequences of coronavirus, has this year's concept for the Festival changes, and is it possible to hold it in the traditional period?
The Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children will be held for the 28th time in its traditional period from July 2nd to 10th. It is important that the Festival is held on those days, not only because of its long tradition, but also because during this global crisis it is a positive thing to start the entire "cultural summer" in Montenegro with a festival dedicated to children and children’s culture. Children are also the most impatient and deserve the most attention first, after an extraordinary period in which we were all deprived of many things. For that reason, the motto for this year's Festival is: "Everything has stopped, but the children are still growing". That is, everything can stop, but children cannot. This sounds like a just a phrase, but it's not really, it's already a basic, and if you will, harsh reality. We have an obligation to be aware of this, to respect it and to lend a hand.
Will the youngest audience be able to watch any performances from the region and abroad this year, and will it be possible to organize the competitive part of the programme?
We are still in discussions on performances from the region that will be part of the Festival. We are waiting for the general situation in the region to return to normal in order to bring the best possible performances from neighbouring countries. What is certain is that there will be several professional performances at the Festival coming from outside Montenegro. We have decided that this year there will be no competition taking the format of professional awards conferred by an expert jury. This is not the right time for that, and without participation from international competitors there would be no true or worthy competition. The children's jury will still work this year and will award the "Dragan Radulović" award. Here, the symbolism of this award and the act itself are more important than the competition.
Has the Festival programme already taken shape, that is, has it been agreed what will be performed at the Festival this year?
The programme of the 28th Festival has largely been agreed. There will be 10 performances on the main theatre programme. Most of the theatres in Montenegro, several theatres from the region and some of the best productions of the Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children will be taking part. The festival has striven, especially in the last ten years, towards quality internationalization, that is, towards the opportunity for our children to see and a broad range of quality theatre performances from all over the world. So far, the Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children has been attended by children's artists from 45 countries on five continents. This year, we are, in the artistic sense, in a kind of quarantine, and we rely on our own production and capabilities. We need to make the best of this difficult circumstance. This year we need to turn to ourselves, reflect, and honestly see where we are, what we are doing, and what and how to proceed. In the case of the Kotor Festival of Theatre for Children, it is a good opportunity to get a true picture of the Montenegrin youth and children’s theatre scene and to make the right decisions on how to improve it and quickly and in a quality way, and for sure a lot needs to be done.
Can we expect some local premieres at the Festival?
From 2nd to 7th July, the City Theatre of Podgorica will present two new premieres in Kotor: “Maca papučarica” (The Slipper Kitten) and “Na ivici neba” (On the edge of the Sky). The Nikšić Theatre will perform “Kraljević i prosjak” (The Prince and the Pauper). The Royal Theatre Zetski Dom will premiere the play “Ljubavno doba” (The Age of Love), made in the Drama Studio and intended for young people. In addition to these local premiere performances and several other performances from the region, the Festival will also welcome performances that were previously produced or co-produced by the Festival and the Nikola Đurković Cultural Centre: “Ivo Visin – kapetan od snova” (Ivo Visin - Captain of Dreams), “Lagarije - predavanje o surogatu” (Make-Believe - A Lecture on Substitutes) “Kinez” (The Chinese Man), “Cvrčak i mrav” (The Cricket and Ant) and “Kako rastu veliki ljudi” (How Great People Grow).
How has this year's music and literature programme been designed?
The other programmes will be quite comprehensive, considering this year's situation. A new book will be presented at the Festival for the first time from Ćuk Editions - “Ivo Visin – Kapetan od snova” (Ivo Višin - Captain of Dreams) by Jelena Lela Milošević with illustrations by Đorđe Kalezić. It is a continuation of the publishing endeavours by the Festival, aiming to fill the gap in domestic literary publishing for children. In addition, two more literary evenings are planned, three programmes of children's drama, five music and dance programmes, three exhibitions, animation programmes around the city, film screenings, and over twenty art installations in the Old Town, entitled “Stone Heritage".
How significant are the consequences of coronavirus on the event financially, and did you find support in organizing this year's edition?
The plan is for patrons from the Municipality of Kotor and the Ministry of Culture to set aside 40 percent of the previous sum used to support the Festival, which as part of KotorArt is one of the three festivals of national significance in Montenegro. It is difficult to know how many cuts there will be when it comes to other areas of life, but it would not be positive for culture and children to be most affected by the emergency situation.
Theatre is Resilient
Although we are currently a country without active cases of the virus, and many measures have been relaxed, the situation in the region and the world is still uncertain. Do you have access to alternative solutions if things take a turn for the worse?
We planned alternative solutions two months ago, so we have several scenarios for holding an extraordinary edition of this year's Festival. These include moving it, holding the various programmes separately, and virtual or “guerrilla” editions and programmes for children and youth. Theatre is very resilient, it is used to difficult conditions, and it has high standards and requirements, so it will surely survive and be a guide in terms of other areas of life.
Source: Pobjeda - Svetlana VIŠNJIĆ