Theatre Laboratory Sfumato was founded in 1989 by theatre directors (and professors at the National Academy for Theatre and Cinema in Sofia) Margarita Mladenova and Ivan Dobchev, as a space for theatrical research. Since 1994, it functions as a state theatre, having a strategy of theatrical innovation at its core. In its thirty-one years of existence, it managed to establish its unique style and working methods and has achieved critical acclaim, as well as international recognition. Sfumato has been a member of the Union of European Theatres since 2011. Sfumato was destined to be a theatre laboratory with a long-term creative strategy, driven by the conviction that the artistic and the spiritual have a common nature. The Sfumato (the term “sfumato” designates a technique of painting the air) seeks the intersection between here and there, now and always; it uncovers the no-playing in the playing; it uncovers the invisible through the visible and it analyses the archetypal oppositions. Theatre Laboratory Sfumato works on long-term programs focused on certain authors or topics, organizes “expeditions” to gather preliminary scientific and factual material, all in partnership with a wide range of experts – philosophers, scientists, theologians, psychologists etc. The workshop is the principal model of Sfumato's creative endeavors. Sfumato Theatre Laboratory has a wide circle of foreign partners; having put together co-productions with the Festival d’Avignon, the Hebbel Theater, Berlin, the Festival Passages, Nancy and the MESS-Sarajevo and having presented more than 300 performances on more than 80 tours all over Europe, as well as in Japan and Korea, at the Autumn Festival in Paris, Piccolo Teatro di Milano, TN Strasbourg, Spring Arts Festival, Japan; SPA Festival, Seoul; “Oscar Niemeyer” Centre, Aviles, Spain; Meyerhold Centre, Moscow; “Komisarjevska” Theatre, St. Petersburg; Culturgest, Lisbon; São João National Theatre, Porto; etc. More than 50 workshops of its directors were presentated to the public in Europe and the US. With its annual festival, The Small Season, Sfumato provides a space for young artists from all arts to showcase their work and experiment their ideas. It has established itself as the most active forum for unconventional art in Bulgaria. Among the showcased events, those nominated for the “Sfumato – New Names” distinction are being invited to feature in the program of the theatre’s next season or to create a new project. In recent years the festival has opened up to the international community. Almost all Sfumato productions were awarded with national and several international awards. Since 1994, the Sfumato has been established as a state theatre with the statute of an innovative company. After leaving their long-lived nomadic lifestyle behind, with several location changes due to commercial constraints, the Sfumato has been based, since 2003, in the building of an old public bath, reconstructed according to a specific architectural project.
Union des Théâtres de l'Europe gathered, in the last 3 decades, some of the most important European theatres and artists. Through festivals, exhibitions, exchanges, masterclasses, cooperation projects, the UTE help create a continuous flow between West and East, between generations, between tradition and innovation. Our celebration is inspired by this rich history. With the help of the Interferences International Theatre Festival, we wish to remember some of the best performances presented at past editions of the UTE festival and look forward to new horizons.