contemporary art festival

ARTsakh Fest 2018 is the pilot edition of the annual contemporary art festival in Stepanakert that will take place on 5-7 October, 2018. ARTsakh Fest is an event of creative interactivity encompassing all aspects of contemporary art, such as contemporary dance, audio-visual installations, interactive public art, performances and much more. Alongside the public events there would be several open workshops including documentary photography,  experimental music and contemporary dance. In collaboration with the local community and the theatre troop, we want to revitalise the old theatre building and bring life to it by making this space the heartbeat of creativity in Stepanakert.

The multidisciplinary art event aims to showcase the glorious past of the theatre and to draw attention of the local and international community. In case of the success of the pilot edition of the festival, we intend to host annual events to follow up the first one.

The Stepanakert Drama Theatre after Vahram Papazian was established in 1932 and played a significant part in the cultural development of the city and Artsakh as well as contributed to the preservation of national identity and education of the Armenian people during Soviet Union. Many significant actors and troops have been invited to stage performances there, among others Vahram Papazyan, Isahak Alikhanyan, Arus Voskanyan, Karp Khachvankyan and Hrachya Nersisyan.

In total 395 performances, both classic and contemporary, were created staged in the theatre during its 83 years of existence. In no time the theatre became a popular and beloved cultural hub in Nagorno Karabakh oblast as well as in the neighbouring countries. The theatre had an artist studio, the graduates of which worked either in the theatre or in other cultural institutions of the region. The theatre functioned during the war in the 90s and staged many plays rekindling the spirit of the people. The building survived the war but due to lack of funding for refurbishing it the theatre moved to a new building in 2015 and the old one is abandoned.
The old building is located on a beautiful central historical street in Stepanakert. It is currently left vacant and awaiting renovation, though it continues to be the favourite spot for the local youth to meet up. From outside the “beauty of Stepanakert” as it used to be referred to, still looks great t and it has preserved its initial charm with carved doorways and magnificent arches.