About the event

Humanity has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
— Mark Twain

As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.
— A Jewish Proverb

“TO DIE LAUGHING” is an international educational forum for scriptwriting, which will take place in Bozhentsi (Bulgaria) from July 29 to August 9 this summer. The village of Bozhentsi is a traditional Bulgarian village and an architectural reserve. The participants will be housed in traditional 19th century houses. Other locations of the Camp will be Sofia, Gabrovo and the world famous abandoned monument of Buzludzha. The forum is destined to students and young professional of all artistic fields and creative industries interested in developing their skills and knowledge in writing scripts for theatre, cinema, contemporary dance, and other cross-disciplinary and cutting-edge art forms. It will also allow the participants to meet future friends, partners and collaborators from all around Europe.

As the famous American comic actor and writer Sid Caesar said “If you have no tragedy, you have no comedy. Crying and laughing are the same emotion. If you laugh too hard, you cry. And vice versa.” In the practical workshops of the program of “To Die Laughing” the participants will explore the meeting point of the comic and the tragic.

Starting point of the practical work will be the visit of Buzludzha monument (often voted “the most surreal and weirdest abandoned place on the Earth”) and the lecture and the exhibition curated by the Serbian philosopher and art historian Marko Stamenkovic in Gabrovo’s House of Humor and Satire. The exhibition is called “To Die Out Laughing” and it is a word play on the expressions “to burst out laughing” and “to die laughing”. It draws from a selection of visual materials from contemporary art across the globe and it addresses historically and culturally diverse interactions of seemingly unrelated phenomena with the aim to contest what is considered legitimate forms of knowledge. This visits and lecture will give material to work with during the workshops that follow: scriptwriting for theater, for documentary movies and for a physical approach to writing. In the program of the Summer Base there will be also another three very interesting lectures which are destined to open new fields and to give new ideas for writing people: writing for video games and interactive platforms, writing theater texts out of scientific materials and creating “theatrical” mobile phone applications. All the lectures of the program will be free and open to public.

The lecturers and the mentors are renowned and innovative practitioners from all around Europe who have been carefully chosen for this event.

The program of the forum will be open to foreign participants as all lectures and workshop will be in English.

One of the main goal of the “To Die Laughing” is the materials created during it to become a base for future collaborations and productions in theater, cinema, dance and all sorts of possible cross-disciplinary projects.

speakers & mentors

Sarah Grochala (UK) 

Sarah Grochala is a multi-award winning playwright based in London. Her play S-27 won the 2007 iceandfire/Amnesty International Protect the Human Playwriting Competition and was also shortlisted for the King’s Cross Award and the Leah Ryan Award for Emerging Women Writers. S-27 premiered at the Finborough Theatre in June 2009. It has since been revived by the Griffin Theatre in Sydney and by Intersection Theatre in Toronto. Her play Waiting for Romeo (Romeo’yu Beklerken) ran in rep at Tiyatro Yan Etki, Istanbul from 2014 to 2016, winning the 2015 Ekin Yazin Dostları Theatre Award for Best Play (Small Venue).
In 2011, she won OffWestEnd.com’s Adopt a Playwright Award for her play Smolensk. Her most recent play Star Fish was shortlisted for the 2016 Nick Darke Award and BBC Script Room 10.
Between 2012 and 2016, she was an Associate Artist with the theatre company Headlong, where she worked on creating theatrical experiences using digital media.
Her work has been supported and developed by the National Theatre Studio, Royal Shakespeare Company, Arts Council England, The Peggy Ramsay Foundation, The Orchard Project (USA) and The Studios Key West (USA).
She is currently a member of the Orange Tree Writers’ Collective and a senior reader for Theatre 503. She teaches playwriting at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, where she leads the MA/MFA Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media.
Her book on playwriting, The Contemporary Political Play, was recently published by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.


​Andrea Brunello (Italy)

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 – www.teatroportland.it). He is also the artistic director of Arditodesìo Company, a professional theatre company founded in 2002 (www.arditodesio.org), for which he has written and produced more than 10 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, www.jetpropulsiontheatre.com), 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 – a joint collaboration with the Physical Science Communication Laboratory of the physics Department of the University of Trento – aims to bring out the human side of science through theatre. Brunello is currently affiliated with the department 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.

Lynda Clark (UK)

Lynda Clark ​is born in Nottingham, UK, in 1981, Lynda Clark is a writer and former videogame producer. She has contributed scripts and in-game texts to a variety of titles for Sony’s PlayStation Home platform, written for several independent games studios as a freelancer, and created branching adventure cards for a tabletop game. She’s undertaking an AHRC/M3C-funded PhD in interactive fiction at Nottingham Trent University and is currently on placement at the National Videogame Arcade, where she delivered workshops in interactive fiction during their 2016 GameCity festival, and established the Hello Words interactive fiction writers’ group in association with Nottingham’s UNESCO City of Literature team.

Fernando Sánchez-Cabezudo (Spain) 

Fernando Sánchez-Cabezudo comes from a family of architects but became involved with the world of interpretation from a very young age. Passionate about theater and French literature, he had his first professional experience in Paris and Madrid with the theatre company Épée de Bois. In 2000, he became part of the theater training laboratory of the teatro de la Abadía under the direction of José Luis Gómez, and later he joined the company for different productions.
In 2005, he launched his own theatre show project called Metro cúbico that has since then toured in more than 16 countries. In 2007, he received the Young Creator Award of the community of Madrid. After producing and directing several shows, in 2010 he decides to found his own theater space called Kubik Fabrik in the heart of Usera, a neighborhood at the outskirts of Madrid, and in this way to link culture to citizen identity. Currently, he is also the artistic coordinator of the corral de comedias of Alcalá de Henares – one of the oldest theaters in its genre of Europe.

Katharina Maschenka Horn (Germany)

Katharina Maschenka Horn is a Berlin-based dancer, choreographer, and teacher. After working as a freelance artist in the Netherlands, Katharina returned to Germany in 2009 with the solo creation Pigeonhole, which won the 1st prize in the choreography competition U30 in Tanzhaus Köln in 2010. Since 2010, Kathrina has been working with Nir de Volff/ Total Brutal (Berlin, D), performing in several creations in Germany, Brazil, Thailand, Israel, and Macau, as well as teaching the ‘use-abuse-method’ based on the work of the company. Since 2014, Katharina has been performing at Schaubühne Berlin (D) in the production NEVER FOREVER of Falk Richter and Total Brutal, which was performed at the Venice Biennale 2015. Katharina has been traveling regularly to Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina since 2008. She has taught at the University of Arts Tirana in the department of Choreography with the support of the DAAD and has also created six choreographies in collaboration with the contemporary dance scene of the Balkan region. Her new work touch of MADNESS, in collaboration with the Bosnian director / actor Nemanja Mutić premiered in March 2017 in Dock 11 Berlin (D) with further performances in SARTR – War Theater Sarajevo (BiH), Perforacije Festival Zagreb (HR), Platforma Festival Zagreb (HR), Dom Omladine Belgrade (SBR), and the National Theater Banja Luka (BiH).

Elitza Gueorgieva (France/Bulgaria)

Elitza Gueorgieva is an author of documentary films, performer, and writer. She was born in Sofia and has been living and working in Paris for the past 15 years.
After completing her M.A. in Cinema, she worked as an assistant director and editor for a number of production companies. She also authored a number of documentaries, namely Waiting for, and Every wall is a door (2 Specials Mentions of the jury of Cinéma du réel in Paris).
Elitza Gueorguieva is also a writer. Her first novel The Cosmonauts are just passing by was published in September 2016 by the Éditions Verticales (Award SDGL André Dubreuil for first novel). In addition, she has published short texts in different literary magazines (Dyonisies, Jef Klak et Vue sur cour).
Elitza is a regular performer of literary texts on different stages and in various forums (le Tarmac, Le Théâtre Ouvert, le Khiasma, le Festival Hors-Limites, la Maison de la poésie in Paris, Paris en toutes lettres, etc).

Marko Stamenkovic (Serbia) 

Marko Stamenkovic is born in the south of Serbia, Marko Stamenkovic (1977) is an art historian whose interests revolve around the political rationality of image-making and visual communication in the global context. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Ghent in Belgium with the thesis entitled “Suicide Cultures: Theories and Practices of Radical Withdrawal” (2014). Over the last decade, he has been working primarily in the field of contemporary visual arts as a curator, critic, writer, and lecturer, focused on the intersection of visual thinking with social theories, political philosophies, and cultural practices of the oppressed. Since the early 2000s, he has been curating projects and exhibitions in Serbia and abroad, among which: All Joy Wants Eternity (Tirana, 2017), Put Your Faith in Women (Vienna, 2016), Hello From The Other Side: Europe, Migration, and The Emperor’s New Clothes (Vienna, 2016), A Rainha Vermelha (Gent, 2013), After a Few Days in Our New Cave We Found the Perfect Spot (Zrenjanin, 2011), Withdrawal Syndrome (Niš, 2011), The Spirit of Nature – 14th Art Biennial (Pančevo, 2010), Hammam (Vranje, 2010), Zirkus Grau – Préparations pour un miracle (Prague, 2010), One Little Indian – And Then There Were None (Paris, 2010), Splav Meduze (Celje, 2009), Private Dancers (Belgrade, 2007), A Life Less Glamorous (Belgrade, 2006), and Dis-Economy of Life (Zagreb/ Osijek/ Skopje/ Bucharest/ Budapest/ Sofia, 2006).

Ani Vaseva (Bulgaria)

Ani Vaseva is a theatre director and theorist of performative arts. She is the author of theatre plays, of critical and theoretical texts on dance and theatre and holds a PhD degree in performance studies from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Among her last performances are Lovecraft (2016), Total Damage (2016), Maldoror (2015), A Play for You (2014). Her book What Is Contemporary Dance (2017) explores the complex processes and conflictual ideologies that stand behind the concept of contemporary dance. She is professor of history and theory of theatre and literature at the Luben Groys Theatre College, and has been teaching performance theory and practice at the New Bulgarian University.


Organizers:Arte Urbana Collectif – Sofia, Museum of the Architectural Historical Reserve “Bozhentsi” and the Municipality of Gabrovo
Partners:Institut Français Bulgaria, Museum of Humor and Satire – Gabrovo, British Council - Bulgaria, Famille Mundi - Paris, Maison d'Europe et d'Orient, Eurodram, Zona urbana
With the support of:Municipality of Sofia
Media Partners:BNR, BBC Knowledge, Eight, Bulgarka

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