What makes theatre indispensable? It’s the powerful bond it has with freedom. With the feeling of being free. With the aspiration to find freedom on the stage, at a time when it is absent in reality. When this bond between the public and the theatre is lost, the meaning of theatre per- ishes along with it.
A free theatre is testimony to a free society. A struggle for a free theatre, specifically freedom on stage, is a struggle for the freedom of a society.
Freedom on stage represents the freedom of the society. A captured and blackmailed theatre can only serve the people in power who have captured and blackmailed society itself.
So, theatre — because freedom. So, we do theatre because we aspire to have freedom. We want a free theatre because we want to be free. We want to defend the theatre because we want to defend our freedom.
For the premiere of Bordello Balkan in April 2017, regardless of the ten- sions and incidents that could have occurred because of the war veterans, the audience showed up. This time, their coming was not an ordinary theatrical ritual, but an act of resistance. By attending the play, they wanted to show their solidarity with the theatre, especially with the freedom that they desire, and which they were ready to protect. Their coming was a struggle for their threatened freedom.
Theatre, because freedom!
Jeton Neziraj is a playwright from Kosovo. He was the artistic director of the National Theatre of Kosovo and is currently the director of Qendra Multimedia, a cultural production company aiming to create an alternative form of art production to address political and social issues with clarity and imagination. His plays have been translated into more than 15 languages.