December 1999 would bring to the theatrical community and its fans in the city of Elbasan the first international theatrical meeting ever held in Albania. The exchange of centuries marked not only a fundamental change of time, but above all, it was an event that truly provoked new visions and concepts. The young age oriented towards art was essentially also the presence of new hope. The “grandeur” of ancient Europe had begun to decline, bringing more space towards the sense of reincarnation of the need for a new dimension of our human existence.
Skampa Festival is one of the biggest international theatre events in Albania. It is held annually every autumn in Elbasan, a city of magnificent cultural heritage. Since 2006, the festival has expanded also in the city of Tirana. The aim of this festival is to present the main trends in both Albanian and international theatre scenes in order to create a space for intercultural dialogue. It represents an adventurous voyage towards new artistic concepts. The profile of this festival was built on exchanging experiences, ideas, alternatives and values in the field of scenic and theatrical expression. It stays true to its originality by avoiding all traditional approaches and by being open to other arts and any innovative forms of expression. The festival consists of different genres, from physical theatre and classical plays to alternative performances, and its atmosphere is enriched by various parallel events such as workshops, presentations, concerts, exhibitions, meetings and discussions. Since the beginning, the festival has hosted over 200 national and international premieres with a rich variety of performances and styles.
Every year, Skampa Festival offers the audiences a selection of performances by Albanian and international performance troupes, welcoming more than 2500 artists from Albania and other countries like the Netherlands, Italy, Bosnia Herzegovina, Greece, Russia, Argentina, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldavia, Germany, Lithuania, France, Macedonia, USA, Bulgaria, Monte Negro, England, Poland, Kosovo, Hungary, Belgium, Serbia, Lithuania, etc. The International Festival of Contemporary Theater Skampa is organized by the Albanian Contemporary Theatre Association A.T.K and is supported by the Ministry of Culture as well as the Municipality of Elbasan.
The Skampa International Contemporary Theater Festival is one of the biggest theater events in Albania. Every autumn, the city of Elbasan becomes a theater capital, providing contemporary theater and collective art from the country, the region, and the world, bringing together young artists, students, and guest specialists, a populated audience, and thousands of theater fans. all ages. Throughout the week the city is involved in performances, seminars, training, and discussions, but also music concerts, readings, and exhibitions. Beyond enclosed theatrical spaces, the harmony of the city architecture with dramatic poetry invites everyone to have access to the contemporary and vibrant culture and to share their experiences as artists and spectators. The festival represents an adventurous journey towards new artistic concepts and new theatrical perspectives through the exchange of experiences and contemporary theatrical practices on the Albanian and international stages. Created as a festival of “New Forms”, it retains its originality in each edition being the same and different, promoting trends towards innovative forms of artistic expression, avoiding traditional approaches, and being open to theatrical collaboration with other arts towards a language in multilingualism. It is this intercultural design that makes the Skampa Festival a gravity of entertainment, discovery, creation, and a real challenge for artists and spectators, turning the festival into an expected theatrical event beyond local, national, and wider dimensions.
The city of Elbasan is among the cities that stands out for its rich cultural and artistic heritage in the country and where the theater with its achievements is a temple of pride that is lovingly conveyed by the citizens of Elbasan. At the end of the 90s, the idea of holding the Skampa International Theater Festival was born by the artists Xhevat Limani,Fatbardh Marku,Adonis Filipi. This idea found the support of the most popular artists of the city, the former executive director of the Skampa Theater Dhimosten Papa, the former mayor of the city Engjell Dakli. The project came to life in December 1999 as International Theater Meeting Skampa ’99, thanks to the special support of the former Minister of Culture Mr. Edi Rama, today the head of the Albanian government. The exchange of centuries marked not only a fundamental change of time but above all, it was an event that truly provoked new visions and concepts. The young age oriented towards art was essentially also the presence of new hope. The “grandeur” of ancient Europe had begun to decline, bringing more space towards the sense of reincarnation of the need for a new dimension of our human existence. Those December days of ’99 will long remain in the memory of the city. The streets and the castle alleys buzzed until dawn from the presence of numerous artists and theater lovers, like an endless feast. It had never happened Elbasan had gathered so many artists, young people, students, and theater icons from all over Albania. The boundaries had fallen. Albanian artists were together with colleagues from the region and Europe at their first international theatrical meeting, to exchange common ideas and experiences. Antonio Alamo -a Spanish playwright and director say:” Your culture should be welcomed. It imposes respect. This was revealed by your audience, which, surprisingly, I had not thought so.
The Meeting Skampa Theater would be transformed on the third edition at the international festival ‘Skampa’; an annual Festival in search of new theatrical forms. Each edition will now be represented by a relevant theme in line with the festival’s profile. The structural space was expanded thanks to the organization of educational activities, seminars, lectures, workshops, and training for young people, and students from contemporary realities and practices. They are now an integral part of the Skampa Festival schedule.Through the themes of each edition, the festival continues to be on a journey of discovery, and inspiration. Each edition of the Festival is inspired by the bounty of a theme around which the artistic planning takes place. It is an adventure for new artistic concepts, the presentation of Albanian theater trends, practice, and the world scene.
Over two decades around 100,000 spectators have followed and applauded over 4,000 artists from Albania, the region, and the world. About 300 theatrical performances with a variety of styles and artistic forms from Albania and abroad have joined us in our Skampa Festival from Italy, England, Turkey, Hungary, Kosovo, Greece, France, Romania, Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Germany, USA, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Russia, China, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Belgium, Croatia, Austria, Moldova, Poland, Netherlands, Sweden, Argentina, Czech Republic, Chile, etc. In recent years, some of the performances of the Skampa festival have been present beyond the city of Elbasan in Tirana, etc. From the first edition until now, the festival has not ceased to be a place of training and practice of various contemporary methodologies with young student artists from the Academy of Arts with individuals interested in theater. Are with dozens of theatrical, theoretical, and practical activities, from the managerial sphere led by artists, specialists, and prominent personalities from the country, region, and world, such as Philip de Moine (France), Uwe Hanf (Germany), Vangjush Furxhi, Adriatik Kallulli, Miho Gjini, (Albania), Sandy Marberly, Chris Feris (England), Bekim Lumi, Jeton Neziraj (Kosovo), Romano Fodai, Pietro Florida (Italy), Doru Motoc, Maia Morgenstern (Romania), Tamer Levent ( Turkey)), Alexander Iliev (Bulgaria), Zoltan Balazs (Hungary). Alicja Borkowska (Poland) etc