*μπουλούκι /bul: `u: ci/ 1. Scarce group of people syn. crowd, mob 2. Wandering theatre troupe 3. A group of animals syn. herd, pack
Boulouki Theatre borrows its name from the nomadic groups of actros – μπουλούκι* – who used to travel and perform across Greece. For almost 150 years the Boulouki artists toured in villages and towns and performed in coffee shops (kafeneio), schools and squares. Founded in 2017, our troupe creates new stories and explores the truth of old stories, today. Honoring the practice and tradition of boulouki, our mission is to create accessible theatre.
As storytellers with a shared creative vocabulary that traverses differences in culture and identity, we challenge and attempt to deconstruct the city’s divisions by working with artists who reflect the richness of Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal. The weave of intimacy and politics conveyed in our spoken accents, for example, was an important aspect of ILLUSIONS. That same weave reappears in THE FUTURE IS ANOTHER COUNTRY, which plays with and comments on language. Important themes of cultural difference, accessibility, audience involvement, bringing what is outside inside, and the city as a site of stranger-contact also appear in all our works and have begun to define Boulouki Theatre’s creative universe.
We tend to work in spaces that maintain a connection to the outdoors/polis through architecture, permitting this architecture and the urban landscape to affect the dramaturgy of our work. Similarly, these spaces have allowed us to challenge established spatial relationships between “stage” and audience. Through experimentation, we have been able to achieve an erasure of the divisions of institutionalized theatre architectures by curating shared atmospheres that audience and performers inhabit together and that facilitate the direct-address storytelling of our work.
In terms of artistic strategies, our projects draw freely from multiple traditions: from classical Western theatrical forms to street theatre, commedia dell’arte and improvisation. We continue to work with and across languages. Our most recent explorations have taken us in interdisciplinary directions, involving food, cinema and dance/movement. Stage sets and lighting are generally conceived to make the works as adaptable as possible to different kinds of venues. Whereas ILLUSIONS and the earlier MEDEAMATERIAL both brought the work of other playwrights to the stage, THE FUTURE IS ANOTHER COUNTRY is our first original creation. That it has been developed as a piece of devised theatre with a firm footing in strategies of “micro performance” has allowed us the flexibility to adapt to our current and shifting COVID-19 pandemic scenarios.
META - Montreal English Τheatre Awards
Montréal - 2019
Nominated for Outstanding Independent Production - Illusions
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