About the event
“Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever”
– Native American proverb
“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation to come”
– Steve Jobs
The 2018 edition of the Summer Scriptwriting Base is dedicated to storytelling in the Digital Age. Humans are story-driven creatures. We need stories to convey meaning, values and hopes. Human knowledge is based on stories and the human brain is a sort of cognitive machine necessary to understand, remember and tell stories. Stories mirror human thought, as humans think in narrative structures and most often remember facts in story form. Neurologists confirm that when a human hears straight data, only the language parts of our brains work to decode the meaning of this data. But when we hear a story, all the parts of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing that story light up and become active.
The Summer Scriptwriting Base 2018 program consists of lectures and workshops that will help us learn how to create good stories, and to explore the forms stories could take in the Digital Age. In 2018 we continue our collaboration with the Architectural Reserve of Bozhentsi, a small village of traditional XIX-century houses in the mountains of Bulgaria. The program has an open unit – free for everyone to come and to learn – and a closed unit, reserved for preselected participants. As in every year, we welcome as participants students and young professionals from all around Europe and beyond: screenwriters, playwrights, storytellers, journalists, science communicators, bloggers, content creators for creative industries, and all other people who write. The two previous editions of the Summer Scriptwriting Base had participants from 20 countries, and we aim to continue having this diversity. All events from the program are in English. We look forward to meeting you in Bulgaria this summer!
We congratulate all our participants who were selected and participated in the SSB 2018 “Digital Village”: Antoniya Atanasova (BG), Boris Cremene (MD), Marina Zheleva (BG), Zlatina Todorova Ivanovs (UK, BG), Anguelina Ranguelova (BG), Noel Leung Wai Chun (HK), Vesy Deyanova (AUS, BG), Irina Breitenstein (ROM, FR), Todor Velev (BG), Albena Puneva (BG), Marie Simons (GER), Veni Petrova (BG), Jakub Crcha (SVK, USA), Ana Petrova (BG, FR), Martin Luchev (BG), Vasil Vasilev (BG), Miglena Dimova (BG, DK), Dio Todorov (USA), Maria Nadia Nielsen (DK), Caroline Greenman (UK), Johan Peeters (BEL)
Inauguration of the Summer Scriptwriting Base "Digital Village"
Great chance to meet the speakers, mentors, participants, and organizers of the Summer Scriptwriting Base and to have a welcoming drink.
French Institute – Sofia
"Transmedia Storytelling” (keynote speech by Sytze Schalk)
French Institute – Sofia
During his keynote Sytze Schalk will talk about the history, practices and techniques around transmedia storytelling and he will connect these themes to his own work as a writer and designer for transmedia.
"Immersive Experiences" (lecture/workshop by Simón Hanukai)
Old School – Bozhentsi
In this part lecture, part interactive workshop, participants will be introduced to the essentials of creating Immersive Experiences in the digital age. Immersive experiences, which have recently been taking the world by storm, take the audience out of their seats and place them at the center of the playing space. They transform the passive role of the spectator, into that of spect-actor and co-creator who is essential to the action and narrative of the performance. Immersive experiences challenge traditional performance methods and call for a new, more holistic, approach to storytelling. After receiving a crash course in the techniques, participants will create performative compositions, in order to experiment with this interactive form.
"Storytelling in a Converging World" (lecture by Aiste Ptakauske)
Old School – Bozhentsi
In a not-so-distant past, we could hardly imagine that we won’t need to go to a bookstore to get a book or to drive to a cinema to see a movie. However, now there is nothing more natural than watching films, reading books or playing video games on the same screen of a laptop, a tablet or a phone. Media convergence changed our patterns of content consumption dramatically. Consequently, the ways of creating content have changed too. Instead of focusing on creating content for one medium in particular (for instance, film, radio or television), content creators have to think about stories that could work across different media at the same time. Thus, we will discuss how to shape stories that have the power of captivating an audience that is impatiently jumping from one medium to another.
"Playing the System - New Narratives" (workshop by David Finnigan)
Old School – Bozhentsi
How do you turn a music festival into a game? How can you use your theatre to have a conversation with people who will never see your theatre? What happens when you threaten murder in the title of your play? In this workshop, we are going look at how theatre is tangled up in the complexity of the real world, how we can map that complexity, and make it work for us.
"Practical Toys for the Playful Playwright" (workshop by Caspar Schjelbred)
Old School – Bozhentsi
20.07 – 28.07
A play is not called a play for nothing. In this workshop writers will be invited to get active on the floor and concretely play with their ideas – as if they were directors or improvisational actors with a license to modify or even completely change the script. We will take spontaneous play seriously and use it methodically to generate new ideas from seemingly nothing and also to look afresh at older material. We will use creative acting exercises in combination with narrative improvisation techniques for the purpose of creating characters and situations from scratch, as well as for editing and rewriting existing scenes. Participants will work both individually and in teams; all will get ample opportunity to experiment with their ideas both as actors and directors. The workshop will be conducted in conjunction with the other two workshop and can be used by participants to elaborate what they write there – or to create and write something totally different, a complete scene at the very least.
"How to create an exciting story taking inspiration from Science" (workshop by Andrea Brunello)
Old School – Bozhentsi
20.07 – 23.07
“Story” is everywhere. “Story” is the way we perceive reality. Reality does not exist, only our perception of it exists, because reality is a creation of our (collective) brains. We need “story” to make sense of the world.. But… have all stories been told? Has every possible topic been explored? Is there still room for something new? The answer is affirmative and its key word is in front of our eyes: science! Science has brought us to perceive and imagine the world in new and exciting ways. For this reason scientific results can and should be brought at the heart of modern storytelling, because science is at the heart of our perception of reality.
But how to do it?
Starting from the principle that storytelling relies on rules as much as on personal intuition,in this workshop we will explore what are the fundamental elements of a good story and how to take a scientific topic and turn it into prime “storytelling material”. Taking inspiration from novel and profound scientific theories and ideas, each participant will work towards the development of an engaging story that will then be delivered to the rest of the group.
This workshop is a continuation of Andrea Brunello’s talk on how to find beauty in science from last year’s edition of SSB.
"The Storyteller’s Toolkit" (workshop by Daniel Bye)
Old School – Bozhentsi
25.07 – 28.07
The workshop will explore techniques for generating, developing and shaping material for storytelling, alongside developing the tools for delivering your story to an audience. We will investigate multiple potential starting points, from personal anecdote to political anguish, and find what they all have in common. Your relationship to the audience and their role in bringing your story alive will always be at the center of what we do. And we will spend considerable time in the space between truth and lies, which is where the excitement is always to be found. Or is it? You’ll find out.
Morning Training Sessions with Caspar Schjelbred
Old School – Bozhentsi
every day 8:30-9:00
Get a fresh start to the day with a proper physical and creative warm-up. Wake up body and mind through basic movement exercises and short freestyle improvisations (dance, mime, clown, slapstick).
Presentation of the results of the Summer Scriptwriting Base 2018 - site-specific performances
Different locations in Bozhentsi
The Summer Scriptwriting Base will finish with a public presentation of the results where the participants will have the possibility to share their work with an audience.
Concert: Vlatko Stefanovski (Macedonia) ft. Teodosii Spassov (Bulgaria)
Bozhentsi main square
Vlatko Stefanovski: born in 1957 in Prilep / Macedonia in a theatrical family. He started playing guitar at the age of 13. In his late teens he formed the group LEB I SOL which became one of the most important names in the music scene of former Yugoslavia. LEB I SOL had released 14 albums and had toured around the world.Since the mid- nineties Stefanovski has developed a very successful solo career. He has recorded remarkable solo releases, like Cowboys & Indians, Sarajevo, Vlatko Stefanovski trio, Kula od karti, Thunder from the blue sky etc. The collaboration with Miroslav Tadic, on the albums Krushevo, Treta majka, Live in Belgrade, and Live in Zagreb put a new light on Vlatko’s acoustic guitar work, and his further exploration of the Macedonian traditional music. Stefanovski is well known for his unique guitar technique and tone. During the first edition of the Summer Scriptwriting Camp 2016, we enjoyed the great lecture of Goran Stefanovski, this year we’ll enjoy his brother’s music!
Teodosii Spassov: Bulgarian jazz musician who plays kaval. The kaval, an eight-hole wooden “shepherd” flute, is one of the oldest Instruments in Europe, rich in tone and technical possibilities. Theodosii Spassov has developed his own unique style of playing the instrument by synthesizing traditional folklore with jazz, fusion and classical music. For over 20 years, Theodosii has toured all over Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, Canada and United States. In 1994, he performed with Sofia Women’s Radio Choir which was awarded with a Grammy award for “Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares”. In April 1995, “Newsweek” magazine recognized Theodosii Spassov as one of the most talented Eastern-European musicians in its “best of the East” article, noting that “Spassov… is not merely surviving the post-communist cultural wasteland. He has actually invented a new musical genre.”
In Bulgaria, Theodosii Spassov is a national figure and musical hero, and was recently honored with the “Music Artist of the Year” award. He is the Artistic Director of the world-renowned “PHILIP KOUTEV Ensemble Of Music, Drama And Dance”.
DJ Set Balkan Beats: Nikola Gruev - Kottarashky
Bozhentsi main square
Kottarashky and The Rain Dogs did great gigs during the two previous editions of the SSB. This year the leader of the band, Nikola Gruev – Kottarashky, comes for a DJ set which promise to be remembered for a while.
Speakers & Mentors
Sytze Schalk is an award winning playwright, (social) game designer and transmedia content producer. After graduating from the ‘Writing in Performance’ course at the Utrecht School of Arts he worked as an independent playwright, scriptwriter and teacher on several Dutch and international productions. He has worked at the National Theatre Studios in London and the Royal Dutch Theatre. Since 2015, his main focus is on developing the project Shatterland, a transmedia storyworld for young adults, which comes alive in interactive theatre shows, gaming, literature and illustrations. For his work on the Shatterland project, he was awarded the Dutch Wim Bary Stipendium for exceptional young art talent in 2017.
Sytze is also a teacher and researcher in narrative design at the Utrecht School of Arts.
David Finnigan is a writer, theatre-maker and pharmacy assistant from Canberra. He writes plays, create performances and games that often sit at the intersection of science and art. He works a lot with research scientists to produce work looking at complexity and earth systems science. David is a member of science-theatre ensemble Boho (Australia) and an associate of Coney (UK) and the Sipat Lawin Ensemble (Philippines). He is a Churchill Fellow and an Australia Council Early Career Fellow and winner of the 2017 Griffin Playwrights Award. He’s online at davidfinig.com.
Daniel Bye is a theatre-maker from the north of England. His work mixes storytelling, stand-up and experimental theatre techniques to create work that is uniquely challenging and accessible. As writer-performer, his internationally-touring shows include The Price of Everything, Instructions for Border Crossing and Going Viral. He has directed for leading UK theatres and companies including the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Red Ladder. He regularly collaborates with the composer Boff Whalley to create large-scale community works for choirs and huge ensembles. You can find more for Daniel and his work on his website.
Andrea Brunello – in his work, Andrea Brunello links theatre and science. He holds a PhD in Physics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (USA, 1997). In 2001, Brunello decided to follow his artistic side by pursuing a full-time professional theatre career. He is the founder and artistic director of Teatro Portland (Trento, Italy). He is also the artistic director of Arditodesìo Company, a professional theatre company founded in 2002, for which he has written and produced more than ten original plays that have toured all over Italy and abroad. The works deal mostly with social issues and make use of spoken word and storytelling techniques. In 2012, Brunello founded the Jet Propulsion Theatre (JPT), a permanent laboratory for the theatrical creation connected to science, the people of science, and the scientific tale. As a research lab that aims to narrate science by mixing it with theatre, JPT aims to bring out the human side of science through theatre. Brunello is currently affiliated with the physics Department of the University of Trento where he has recently taught a course called Emozionare con la Scienza on scientific storytelling and scientific playwriting. JPT productions are both in Italian and English and have toured around a great number of venues, theatres, universities, and schools.
Aiste Ptakauske is a published author and creative content producer who works across media and continents. Ethnic Kitchen, Aiste Ptakauske’s documentary about immigrant women in post-Soviet independent Lithuania, is included into curricula at several European universities. Aiste Ptakauske is a winner of many prestigious national and international awards including an Augustinas Gricius Prize for the Best Fiction Debut in Lithuania, a Fulbright scholarship, and an Iconic Women Creating a Better World for All award from the Women Economic Forum. Aiste Ptakauske is regularly invited to lecture, teach, and coach in different parts of the world. She gave talks and ran workshops at the Oyun Yaz new drama festival in Istanbul (Turkey), the Mohammed V National Theatre in Rabat (Morocco), the Central Theatre Group of Los Angeles (USA), the California Institute of the Arts (USA), the Banff International Literary Translators Center (Canada), and the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab (USA) to name a few. She is currently a faculty member at the Faculty of Creative Industries of Vilnius Gediminas Technical University where she teaches Introduction to Screenwriting, Fundamentals of Media and Message Strategy, and Live Show Production. Since 2015, Aiste Ptakauske has been running Ethnic Kitchen, her own company that produces socially relevant audiovisual, interdisciplinary, and cross media projects.
Simón Adinia Hanukai
USA / Azerbaijan
Simón Adinia Hanukai is a theatre maker, director, educator, and co-artistic director of Kaimera Productions who splits his time between New York and Paris. Originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, he started his career in Oakland, California, where he was a founding member of headRush Crew and the co-artistic director of the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company.
The original full-length dance theater pieces that he created with both companies over the course of six years were toured nationally, and were seen by over 25,000 people per year. Highlights include sharing the stage with Desmond Tutu, Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Neil Young, Alfre Woodard and Martin Sheen. Since launching Kaimera Productions, Simón has created work and taught extensively throughout the U.S., Middle East, South Asia and Europe. Recent directing and devising credits include Les Alibis (Junevents Festival, Atelier De Paris, France), JUPITER (A Play About Power) (La MaMa E.T.C., NYC), Decline & Fall (Tricklock Performance Lab, New Mexico) and Flying Ace and The Storm of the Century (Odin Teatret, Denmark). Simón is an Ambassador for the World Theatre Map, and professor at Sciences Po University in Paris. He holds a Masters in Education from the University of San Francisco’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Social Justice and an MFA in Theater Directing from Columbia University.
Denmark / France
Caspar Schjelbred – born in Denmark, raised in Sweden, Parisian since 1999. Works as a freelance teacher, director and performer. Specialised in physical theatre (clown/mime) and improvisation. Solo artist with PLAN C since 2012 (Paris, Brussels, Montreal, Sofia, Gothenburg and Australia/NZ tour). Member of the improvisational theatre company The Improfessionals since 2001 (artistic director 2008-2014). Co-directs Impro Academy in Paris since 2006 and teaches across the world with IMPRO SUPREME since 2010: North America (New York, Montreal), Europe (Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Rome, Sofia), Asia (Singapore), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra). Student and main associate of Ira Seidenstein (International School for Acting And Creativity – ISAAC). Participant in the two previous Summer Scriptwriting Camp/Base 2016 and 2017, Caspar has been a regular visitor to Bulgaria since 2014 when he was first invited there by HaHaHa Impro Theatre with whom he has recently co-created the physical comedy show AVANT-GARDE. Holds an M.A. in History of science (2007) from Université de Paris 1–Panthéon-Sorbonne (history of psychology and the study of emotions in 19th century France).
Caspar Schjelbred official website.
Summer Scriptwriting Base “Digital Village” will take place in the village of Bozhentsi in central northern Bulgaria. Bozhensti was established after the incursion of Ottoman Turks in Veliko Tarnovo, the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, in the 16th century. Many residents of the capital then fled to settle in remote and secure parts of the mountains. According to the legend, among them was the young female noble Bozhana, who chose to hide in the area where the village today is, and gave it its name. The noble’s sons engaged in trade and the village gradually grew to become an important trade junction during the National Revival towards the middle of the 18th century. The main production consisted of leather, wool, beeswax and honey. The peak of the history of Bozhentsi was in 18th and 19th century.
Bozhentsi lies 15 km east of the city of Gabrovo and it is noted for its well-preserved Bulgarian National Revival architecture and history, and is thus a well-known tourist destination in the area. It was proclaimed an architectural and historical reserve in 1964. Due to this, there is a ban on the construction of any buildings that do not fit with the village’s style. Today, the permanent population of Bozhentsi is only 41 people.
As the settlers during the Ottoman rule were mostly wealthy people, many of the houses have two storeys, the first being used as a cattle-shed and the second being inhabited by the owners. Characteristic features of the Bozhentsi architecture are the verandas, the stone-plate roofs, the corner fireplaces and the ceiling woodcarvings. The pavement of the streets in the village is only cobblestone.
The participants will be housed in traditional 19th century beautiful houses. For those of the participants who want to be closer to the nature, there will be possibility for pitching tents in the houses’ yards. The workshops from the program of the Summer Scriptwriting Base “To Die Laughing” will take place in the former class school which was constructed in 1872 and was situated in an imposing building near the entrance to the village.
The capital of Bulgaria and it’s biggest city with about 1.7 million citizens. Today, Sofia is a dynamic Eastern European capital, distinguished by its unique combination of European. Ottoman and Communist-style architecture as well as many beautiful orthodox churches. Furthermore, it claims to be one of the few European capitals with beautiful scenery and a developed ski-resort so close to it – the Vitosha mountain.
The inauguration of the Summer Scriptwriting Base and the first lecture will take place in Sofia
Check our gallery here.