Absolutely blank sheet of paper has no particular value, but if one draws a dot on it, the life will appear on the paper. The conflict of black and white that happened when God created the world is implied here. That event became the first, the most ultimate and the most divine drama. Based on this premise we have created the Theatre of Black and White. The theatre for me is a mystical space that I am trying to explore. The actor and the spectator live in this space emphasizing to each other, and everyone makes his own choice. My theatre might be sometimes paradox and grotesque so that the magic powers of the actors could be revealed more. The theatre in traditions of Jerzy Grotowski and Antonin Artaud appeals to me. Systems of Michail Chekcov and Jerzy Grotowski are directed towards the development of actor’s psychophysics and his feature to work with his inner energy.
The Theatre Festival of Black and White celebrates its 10 years anniversary. During these 10 years Katri and me brought up this project like our child. Now I can certainly say that the Festival stands on its feet and it makes the decisive steps in a world of theatre.
10 years – is it much or little? From the viewpoint of the theater’s history it is a short interval, but with the viewpoint of human life it is relatively long. This number seems to be even more substantial when looking on those past ten years which we have devoted to theatre.
— Kamran Shahmardan
Art director of Black and White Theatre
The Theatre of Black and White creates versatile, contemporary, bold, experimental theatre and its own production became notable worldwide. Its own performances have organized the Black and White Theatre Society and the International Theatre Festival. The soul and “engine” of the Theatre is the film and theatre director Kamran Shahmardan who has moved from Azerbaijan at the beginning of 2000´s. His temperamental nature of an artist had to get used to more chilly, Nordic atmosphere of Finland.
At the festival in spring 2004 I asked Kamran Shahmardan, the creative director of the Black and White theatre, what forces a person to invest all his time and money in such a project? According to him, a person must love what he does. Also he admitted that he is a hopeless romantic himself. In is opinion, “The beauty and love will win in the end of the world”.
I have seen all his creative performances in Finland. They combine intellectual reflection, and from the strong feeling the constant desire for beauty arises. The relationships between relatives and friends outside the border open such gates one might never think of knocking at.
— Matti Saarela, theatre critic
The main idea of the Theatre of Black and White is that art and theatre do not have any borders between countries and cultures and this is a great way to connect people. When you get acquainted with the theatre program, you can notice that the language of theatre is understood by everyone, no matter what cultural environment a person comes from and what language is his native.
When we choose the performances to the festival, the selection criterion is that performing work should contain as little as possible, preferably not at all, speech. The performances are carried out to a high standard and the views of the world, and its different cultures are respectful of cultural traditions.
— Katri Lätt, chairman of the Theatre of Black and White
The Festival has grown up and became the high-level event which has deserved its place in this world.
— Sinikka Hurskaine, patron of the festival
Imatra has become a meeting place for the international theater world.