Leading the ten-strong Kosovo Theatre Showcase at the end of this month, Qendra Multimedia look set to offer up a timely and challenging methodological take on international peace negotiations past and present in their play Negotiating Peace. Acclaimed Kosovan playwright Jeton Neziraj and socio-political centric theatre Director Blerta Neziraj have worked with creatives from across Europe – including Ukraine, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Czechia, Albania, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland and Estonia.
Alongside the headlining show will feature an audio walking tour of 1990s Prishtina as part of the IETM (International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts) Caravan, as well as creative pieces with complimentary themes to the central examination of peace agreements alongside identities in an increasingly fractured socio-political world. Gadjo looks at the treatment of Roma people in the region while open air piece The Lament of the Earth explores the experiences of sound experiences within the Deaf community through the topic of climate change. An interdisplinary and intersectional approach is complimented by panel-led discussions about the expectations of theatre in times of social crisis.
The showcase comes as renewed tensions between Kosovo and Serbia entered international headlines again earlier this month, as the ever-prescient themes explored reflect onto a difficult global situation. Considering the relationship between theatre and the peace process, Blerta Neziraj said “A topic like this, so relevant for the current times – especially the very present – somehow burdens you with added responsibilities that go beyond the responsibilities of an ordinary theatre process.”
“What does it mean to “negotiate peace” for a Ukrainian actor, or for an actress from Bosnia and Herzegovina? Or for the actor from Serbia and the actress from Kosovo? The main thing we are looking at in this theatre production is: If war has its demons leading people towards destruction and misery, what does peace have?”
Negotiating Peace aims to consider the models that have been, and are being used, to construct peace agreements around the world. At it’s heart, say the ensemble, is the background, challenges, and fear/hope that accompanies a process of peace. It looks to ask pertinent questions such as: Who can negotiate peace? Do political leaders have the legitimacy to do so? Do ordinary people really reconcile after the signing of an “act of peace” on their behalf? Can there be collective forgiveness, or is forgiveness an individual act?
The Kosovo Theatre Showcase will run from the 24th-29th October in Prishtina, Gjilan, Ferizaj and Gjakova. The full programme can be found on Qendra Multimedia’s website. Negotiating Peace will begin its European tour on the 16th October with later dates in Kosovo, North Macedonia, Germany, and the Czech Republic. See information here.