YARAT Contemporary Art Space is pleased to announce the second edition of M.A.P. International Theatre Festival, held in various major venues across Baku from 6 – 11 November 2018.


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. The festival continually expands its geographical focus, and this year presents 16 performances by theatre companies from Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Russia and the United Kingdom.

The 2nd edition hosts an ambitious agenda informed by the artistic director of the project, Kamran Shahmardan, and his concept of ‘theatre without borders’. Shahmardan proposes a festival that erases borders, connects cultures and unites people through the arts:

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. By highlighting diversity we will give the freedom of choice to the public.

At M.A.P. Festival, Shahmardan also presents Alexander Vampilov’s play Duck Hunting. Considered one of the most controversial texts in Russian 20th century dramaturgy, the play successfully premiered in Spring 2018 in the Estonian Vene Teater.

The festival opens with a programme that includes a multi-disciplinary show Aria by the Italian collective NoGravity Theatre. Combining choreography, singing and costume, the performance includes musical compositions from Monteverdi, Vivaldi and Pergolesi. Merging together a number of artistic genres, dancers, musicians and singers, all equally play a central role in this performance.

Among the most anticipated events of the festival is the arrival of the legendary Mariinsky Theatre with a modern version of Joseph Haydn’s opera The Desert Island, conducted by Javad Tagi-zade, a young Azerbaijani talent. Other performances include La Verità, an acrobatic poem by the world acclaimed director and choreographer Daniele Finzi Pasca, and Gogol Centre, one of the most cutting-edge theatre companies in Moscow, which presents a new production of Who Is Happy in Russia? based on Nikolai Nekrasov's renowned poem. 

A rich programme of workshops and lectures accompanies the performances, enabling emerging directors, actors, playwrights and other professionals to meet and learn from their fellow colleagues. Among this year's highlights includes a workshop entitled How to write a play by Russian playwright and screenwriter Yulia Tupikina; an intensive one-day acting workshop led by director, actor and musician Alexander Dzyuba; a lecture on Japanese Theatre from Motoi Miura, the director of Chiten Theatre; and Marina Davydova, a theatre historian and critic, who discusses the evolution of the modern theatrical production. Dimitris Stamou and Demy Papada from Merlin Puppet Theatre introduce the youngest spectators to the art of playing with light through their work with light and shadow.

M.A.P. Festival, a highlight of Azerbaijan’s autumn calendar, invites a return of theatre to its former weight and significance in the cultural life of Baku. Organised and supported by Bakcell, the first mobile operator and leading mobile internet provider of Azerbaijan, Nikolai Beckers, Bakcell CEO comments:

M.A.P. Festival is a significant contribution to the development of art in Azerbaijan and an acknowledgment of Azerbaijani art in the world. This is a unique opportunity for people engaged in music, art and performance to demonstrate their works together with international professionals. Bakcell has been the main sponsor of M.A.P Festival from the first year. Being a national telecoms operator, Bakcell is committed to supporting projects that contribute to the development of music and arts in Azerbaijan.

YARAT is partnering with all major theatre venues in Baku, including the Azerbaijan State Academic National Drama Theatre, the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Azerbaijan State Russian Drama Theatre, the Azerbaijan State Musical Theatre, the Azerbaijan State Theatre of Young Spectators, the Azerbaijan State Puppet Theatre, ÜNS Creative Stage and Baku Convention Center.

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