Despite its humble beginnings as the twentieth solo concert of the much-loved Macedonian Opera star Tofovic, the Ohrid Summer Festival has grown in both scope and size over the last 40 years. The festival now prides itself upon the range of programming that it will present, this year through August 20, including symphonies, jazz concerts, ballets, and a host of differing performances by theatre companies from across Europe and the Middle East.
The Littoral Drama Theatre, from North Goritsa, Slovenia, will jump start the theatrical presentations on July 15 with a production of the Samuel Beckett classic Waiting for Godot, to be directed by Vito Taufer. Mr. Taufer and his troupe are not the only company based overseas that is slated to perform a piece well-known to English speaking audiences, Moliere's Don Juan will be given a rendition by the State Theatre of St. Petersburg, Russia on July 23, the Theatre de Terazie, based in Belgrade, will sing and dance through the classic musical Kiss Me, Kate on July 29, the Albanian Theatre will present Strindberg's Father on July 31, while the City Theatre of Istanbul, Turkey and director Lupco Gjorgieski perform Euripides' Medea on August 7.
After Waiting for Godot, plays and musicals dot the schedule for the remainder of the festival on an almost nightly basis, playing just steps from the other festival attractions in one of its four venues. Several companies will present premieres of new work during the course of the festival. The Final Flight, a play by S. Stanesku and directed by Niko Gorshich, will be premiered by the People's Theatre, Kumanovo on Aug. 6. The People's Theatre, Bitola's premiere of Hasanaginisa by A. Isakovic is to be performed July 20. Other premiere's include Peace presented by Theatre of the Minorities (Turkey) and Fisherman's Quarrels presented by the People's Theatre, Prilep.
The Ohrid Summer Festival houses itself in four unique performance spaces in Ohrid, Macedonia. The St. Sophia Cathedral will play host to many performances amid its numerous medieval frescoes that are said, along with a cathedral of the same name in the Ukraine, to be the largest collection from 11th Century Europe. A one-time war structure, the Ohrid Fortress, has been converted into a peformance venue in its original location at the summit of the hill of Ohrid. Just below the fortress lies the Antique Theatre, a reconstructed amphitheater on the grounds of the 2,000 year old Classical Theatre. The Antique Theatre is the hub of the Ohrid Summer Festival activities and will play host to its opening ceremony.
Other performances scheduled to be performed are Gertrude Stein and La Ronde - Love Marry-Go-Round by Nine and a Bit Theatre (Greece), Night of the Epiphany by the People's Theatre, Belgrade, The Gypsies Fly to the Sky by Theatre de Terazie (Belgrade), Towards Oneself by the Albanian Theatre, Servant's Comedy by Army Theatre (Bulgaria), and The False King Shcepan the Little by the Royal Theatre of Cetinje. For further information, please visit the festival's official website.