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Director Galin Stoev: "France was one of the countries that accepted me unreservedly"

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Photo: BGNES

Galin Stoev, one of the renowned Bulgarian theatre directors abroad, is the new head of the National Theater in Toulouse. For 26 years he has been working as an actor and theater director not only in Bulgaria, but has also gained experience on stages in England, Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, Belgium, Argentina and France. His first play as a director was put on stage at the "Ivan Vazov" National Theater in Sofia in 1999 and two years later he won the prestigious "Askeer" award for theater art for "Arcadia" by Tom Stoppard. He had studied acting and directing with Prof. Krikor Azaryan at the Krastyo Sarafov National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts together with actors that were to become very popular in Bulgaria, such as Kamen Donev, Stefan Valdobrev, Marius Kurkinski, Koina Russeva and Stefka Yanorova.

Finding your place and establishing yourself as an artist and director in France is no easy task. For Galin Stoev, however, France was one of the countries that accepted him unreservedly, perhaps because he did not seek acceptance.

There he met the interest of the audience, curious to know how an alien would describe French culture from his point of view. "French culture looks very closed and hard to reach from outside," Galin Stoev says. "On the other hand, there is a very simple path and when one understands it things really come in the right place. If you see the codes of this culture, you can access it easily." Mr. Stoev succeeded, not only on the stage of Comédie-Française. Of course, he did not forget to repeat to himself he was very lucky. Because on his way he met artists and institutions open to his work and his artistic quests. And in this sense, the path towards the position of head of the National Theater in Toulouse naturally followed.

It was quite exciting and at the same time a bit frightening, the director says about the position he took on January 1. “The responsibility is quite great and attention to this theater is great. I needed time to realize this. I have long stopped identifying myself as a Bulgarian only, but as an artist and as a person working in a sphere that is supranational. As soon as I accepted this, all the problems or issues that could limit me disappeared. The moment I accepted that I was an artist going through different contexts, through different languages ​​and ways of thinking and doing theater, this nomadic way of working and living became the most sustainable thing in my career. Through constant shifting and through a deliberately maintained instability, I managed to build what might be the most stable thing in me - my own identity as an artist. My work has been the only thing making me feel I have roots and I am stable.”

As a business card to the audience in Toulouse, the Bulgarian director decided to present the "Delhi Dance" by Russian writer Ivan Aleksandrovich Vyrypaev, one of his favorite contemporary playwrights, whose texts he had already put on Bulgarian stage. Of course, this was a risky venture in France, because it would have seemed more logical to put Molière, as most directors would do. That is why Galin Stoev decided to do the opposite:“It was not only artistic but also an ideological choice on my part. After my nomination I had little time to decide what to show. And because I did not have a play that was ready, the options were two - to restore some old one I had done in France or Belgium, or to do something new, which is the more risky option. At the same time negotiations with the Ivan Vazov National Theater for putting a play on their stage were going on. All these elements combined and then I thought I was going to do the hardest thing - I would put a play in Bulgaria, the place where my career started and that made me the way I am.”

For Galin Stoev this was also an opportunity to return to Bulgaria and to work with actors he knows and loves, as well as to discover those from the newer generation. On the other hand, it signaled the audience in Toulouse that:

“On this stage from now on we would hear not only French, but other languages, too. We will also be seeing foreign teams and cultures presented. This is part of the project’s aim for opening up. Delhi Dance will be played in Toulouse by Bulgarian actors in Bulgarian language with French subtitles.”

English version: Alexander Markov

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