M.A.P. International Theatre Festival will be held in Baku with support of Bakcell


YARAT Contemporary Art Space is pleased to announce the third edition of M.A.P. International Theatre Festival that will be held in Baku on 10 through 20 October 2019 with the partner support of Bakcell.

Serving as a platform for communication, education, exchange of knowledge and experience, M.A.P. Festival – an acronym for music, art and performance – combines different forms of theatre to help audiences explore a wide range of contemporary theatrical forms.

Just like in the previous two seasons, the Festival will encompass the main theatrical venues of the city, introducing the most outstanding theatricals of recent time. The festival programme features 16 performances, which represent different genres and schools from drama, contemporary dance, physical theatre, and puppet shows through to clownery and musical performance with circus show elements.

Participating in this year's festival are: State Academic Theatre named after E. Vakhtangov (Russia), Theatre “AKHE” (Russia), “Priyut Komedianta” Theatre (Russia), “Kukolniy Dom” Theatre (Russia), New Riga Theatre (Latvia), Academic Maly Theatre – Theatre of Europe (Russia), Puppet Theatre of David Espinosa (Spain), “OLE!” (Spain / UK), “WHS” Theatre (Finland), world-renowned “Kibbutz” Contemporary Dance Company (Israel), “Sardegna” Theatre (Italy), Atelier Theatre (Russia), Puppet Cinema (Israel) and Recirquel (Hungary).

The Festival is opening with the play “The Gathering of the Mad” by the producer Kamran Shahmardan, who has reconceived the namesake work of Azerbaijani literature classicist Jalil Mammadguluzada and rendered it new and topical for contemporary society tunes, music, and drive. The first festival “robins”, however, will appear yet early in September with Baku audience enabled to watch three Vakhtangov Theatre plays at once. The performance Eugene Onegin by Rimas Tuminas has already achieved critical and audience acclaim; in Baku, it will be staged in the State Musical Theatre. The other two plays (“Medea” featuring Yulia Rutberg and “Crawfish Cry”) will be staged by Vakhtangov Theatre in the Russian Drama Theatre.

Here one can also watch “Uncle Vanya” of the great Lev Dodin, with the magnificent Kseniya Rappoport as Yelena Andreyevna.

“Priyut Komedianta” Theatre of St Petersburg is bringing the fancy play “A Man from Podolsk”, which relates a story of a search for essence and inability to feel the taste and joy of life. Dmitry Danilov's text has gone through numerous stage directions, and was awarded the Golden Mask prize in the nomination “For Playwright's Work”.

The New Riga Theatre has joined the programme with the already acclaimed play “Sonya” of the ironical Tatyana Tolstaya. The play has been staged by the famous Latvian stage director Alvis Hermanis, the winner of Europe Theatre Prize in the nomination “New Theatrical Realities”.

Just like before, MAP Festival is striving to live up to the status of educational platform where young actors, directors, and playwrights may share their knowledge and learn from their more experienced colleagues. The October programme is going to be rich with lectures and master-classes from the guests of the festival. The detailed information will be available shortly on the Festival webpage.

Bakcell – the first mobile operator and provider of the fastest mobile internet in Azerbaijan, is the main sponsor and main partner of the M.A.P. festival for third year in the row. Bakcell is doing its best to contribute to development of culture and arts in Azerbaijan, as well as to promote moral and cultural values among the younger generation.

The opening of M.A.P. will be accompanied by the showcase of posters for all plays to have been staged over 3 years of its existence. YARAT Centre guests will therefore be able to learn about the most outstanding moments of the festival history even before they enter the auditorium.

“For me, the theatre is a mystical space I am trying to look into. Empathizing each other, an actor and a spectator live in this space, where each chooses their own way. Sometimes, my theatre may be paradoxical and baroque in order to have actors uncover their magical powers on stage even further. The theatre in traditions of Jerzy Grotowski and Antonin Artaud is somewhat homely for me. It also pertains to Mikhail Chekhov's and Jerzy Grotowski's systems that develop an actor's psychophysics and their capacities in terms of handling their inner energy.

A theatre without borders is something I would love to instill in the concept of the upcoming festival. The festival that erases borders, connects cultures and unites people through the arts using a theatrical bridge.

By erasing the boundaries between different theatrical forms, we would like to showcase a broad palette of media used in contemporary theatre, from street performances to opera and ballet, audiovisual productions, and clownery. Spectators will buy their tickets and thus will be able to choose between different theatrical genres. We should of course appreciate new trends in the theatrical world and try to amuse Azerbaijani spectators with new ideas.

It is the ability to choose between theatrical genres that constitutes the paramount objective of our festival.

It is the very Baku with its infrastructure, numerous theatres and museums, parks and boulevards that is the principal character of our festival.

I am confident that the theatre is a soul and mirror of the society. Besides, I absolutely disagree with the notion of “the theatre nation”. A theatre is a planet-wide phenomenon; it has a synthetic language and is therefore accessible to each and every nation. I don't even speak of our theatrical legacy. It is all about the traditional street theatre, whose roots go back centuries. And it is our tradition to remember it during holidays of Novruz.

We also gave the world our own genre, the mugham opera, enriching the theatrical community with this valuable contribution. We love the theatre and we appreciate it. The time has come when we shall vote for it by our attendance and participation in a theatrical life. You can love the theatre, or you can hate it. Just do not stay disinterested.

I am very grateful to YARAT Contemporary Art Space and personally to Aida Mahmudova for this opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with Azerbaijani spectators.

М.А.Р. is your theatrical feast. Welcome!” (Kamran Shahmardan, Artistic Director of M.A.P. Festival).


YARAT Contemporary Art Space is an artist-founded, not-for-profit art organisation based in Baku, Azerbaijan, established by Aida Mahmudova in 2011. YARAT (which means 'create' in Azerbaijani) is dedicated to contemporary art with a long-term commitment to creating a hub for artistic practice, research, thinking and education in the Caucasus, Central Asia and surrounding region.

YARAT comprises YARAT Centre, ARTIM Project Space, YARAT Studios, YAY Gallery and an extended educational and public programme. YARAT Art Centre, opened in March 2015 and is the organization’s main exhibition space. Located in a converted 2000m² Soviet-era naval headquarters building, YARAT Centre represents a region-scale cultural hub and a a space for exhibition and educational projects. The exhibition programme features new commissions by artists responding to the region. The Center collaborates with established international artists and exhibits their works; it also supports and provides access to artists from different regions of Azerbaijan.

In October 2015, YARAT opened ARTIM Project Space, a public and experimental space in Baku’s Old City. ARTIM (meaning 'progress' in Azerbaijani) shows experimental practices and new work by emerging Azerbaijani art professionals (selected through open calls) and international artists from the residency programme. It features multiple small-scale projects each year and hosts ARTIM Lab, a programme enabling young artists to engage in workshops and daily studio practice to generate new ideas and works.

In 2016, YARAT launched a renewed residency programme. Aimed at developing young Azerbaijani voices and emerging international artists, the focus is on new, innovative practices and artists with an interest in the region. The residency programme hosts six international and four local artists a year at YARAT Studios’ spaces.

Education has been at the heart of YARAT's activities since its creation. With a dedicated public programme that includes courses, workshops, lectures, screenings, festivals, literature and theatre clubs, and family weekends, YARAT aims to give access to broad audiences of all ages, build art communities, and promote contemporary art.


About Bakcell

Bakcell, the First Mobile Operator and Leading Mobile Internet Provider of Azerbaijan, offers a wide range of products and Services to users of modern mobile communications Services. The company provides its customers with the best-in-class 4G mobile internet.

The 4G services of Bakcell are already available in Baku and Absheron peninsula, as well as central parts of more than 40 regions of Azerbaijan.

With more than 7500 base stations, Bakcell network covers 99% of the population and 93% of the land area of the country (except for the occupied territories). In 2017, Bakcell network has been recognized as the “Best in Test” in Azerbaijan by P3 Communications, being one of the most trusted independent authorities in mobile benchmarking. In 2018 Bakcell has been recognized as the Fastest Mobile Network in Azerbaijan. This award, presented by world-famous “Ookla” company, recognizes Bakcell’s commitment to delivering fastest speeds to customers all across Azerbaijan.


14 invitees’ theatres:

State Academic Thatre named after E. Vakhtangov Theatre (Russia); AKHE Theatre (Russia); Priyut Komedianta Theatre (Russia); Kukolniy Dom Theatre (Russia); New Riga Theatre (Latvia); Theatre of Europe (Russia); Puppet Theatre of David Espinosa (Spain); OLE! (Spain-UK) WHS Theatre (Finland); Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (Israel); Sardegna Theatre (Italy); Atelier Theatre (Russia); Puppet Cinema (Israel); Recirquel (Hungary)


7 theatre venues:

Azerbaijan State Academic Musical Theatre; Azerbaijan State Russian Drama Theatre; ÜNS Creative Scene; YARAT Contemporary Art Centre; Azerbaijan State Puppet Theatre; Azerbaijan State Academic National Drama Theatre; Opera Studio of Baku Musical Academy.