Initiated in January 2011, Sharing a Common Culture: Balkan Theatre Networks for EU Integration, is a regional project that involves youth from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia in the creation of plays that highlight their common European culture while promoting cultural and ethnic diversity.

Partnering with the Centre fo Drama Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Student Cultural Center in Serbia, the Common Ground Theatre promotes tolerance by debunking stereotypes.

Goals, objectives & results

The overall goal of the action is to harness the power of culture to reinforce a participative democracy based on EU common values by enhancing regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations, while respecting and promoting national cultural heritage.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To encourage creation of new networks of cultural CSOs as basis for sustainable inter-cultural dialogue and cooperation within the region and between the region and the EU;
  2. To increase awareness of and access to different cultural traditions within and beyond national boundaries through the exchange of cultural experiences;
  3. To increase youth participation in production of inter-ethnic, intended-outcome and interactive theatre performances.

The expected results of the action are:

  • Opportunities for a long term development of new creative relationships between the EU and Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.
  • A network of arts professionals and youth leaders who are committed to developing cultural relations at the grass-roots level in future;
  • Developed partnerships between cultural organizations, CSOs, educational institutions, youth leaders and the wider community;
  • Changes in young people's attitude towards the place of their community and other communities in their country, the region and Europe;
  • Inter-cultural dialogue and cooperation developed among artists from different backgrounds and countries and creation of a forum among participating artists and organisations for cultural dialogue and exchanges


  • Produced formative research measuring youth access and attitudes toward cultures across the three countries
  • Organized an inaugural conference in Skopje, brining together 40 youth and stakeholders from across the region
  • Developed a curriculum for the theatre plays
  • Organized a playwrights seminar in Skopje for six playwrights from the three countries
  • Set up the foundation for the creation of the Balkan Cultural Network

Future plans

  • Six plays will be written an staged by youth across the three countries, creaitng an opportuniy for hundreds of youth--actors and audience--to meet each other and learn more about the cultural traditions in their neigboring countries.
  • Interactive debates will follow each performance
  • Final theatre event to be held in Skopje

Theatre plays

Six new theatre plays – two per country – were produced and performed by the youth themselves promoting and raising issues amongst youth participants and audiences about diversity, intercultural dialogue, social and civic responsibility and regional cooperation based on common cultural values.

As a result of their participation in the project, the young people learnt the necessary skills to playwriting, set and costume design and acting. Some of them were trained to lead the facilitated discussions with the audience. At the same time, this learning process enabled the young people to develop their capacity in teamwork, communication, presentation and organization skills.

The theatre plays were touring locally in the partner-countries. The audiences participated in discussions following each performance providing space for the audience in close interaction with their peers on stage to comment, to ask questions and to explain the feelings they experienced during the performance.

The dramas were also presented at the regional level, providing excellent opportunity for youth who participated in the project to learn more about what peers from other countries did, what were the issues and topics of their concerns. This enabled youth to indentify the differences and the commonalities across the region. It was also a platform for youth to meet, interact, share experiences and get to know each other and each others' culture better. The action in the dramas and the characters they represented gave flavors, scents and faces to the "abstract" notions youth had about their neighbors from the region.

This project offered a platform for youth and adults to network and contribute towards promotion of local and national culture traditions. Moreover, working together on drama production on local and regional level strengthened the links between diverse youth at a time when mutual understanding is most needed and in a context where inter-cultural exchange can make a critical difference in building more tolerant and open societies. In addition, it created new partnerships between youth and cultural organisations in the three Balkan countries. Moreover, through the regional meetings with partners and exchange of the youth theatre performances, the Balkan Theater Project has significantly contributed to promotion of the historic European values of coexistence, reconciliation, inter-cultural tolerance and collaboration. 


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Formative research May 2011


Brochure: Sharing Common Culture: Balkan Theater network for EU Integration (ENG, MKD, ALBSRB, BIH)



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The Centre for Common Ground (CCG as SFCG is known in Europe) has been working toward reconciliation, interethnic relations and stability in the Western Balkans since 1994, beginning with Macedonia and later expanding into Kosovo after war erupted there. Although inter-communal tensions never exploded into full civil strife as they did in Kosovo, Macedonia did balance on the verge of civil war in early 2001 and sharp divides still exists between ethnic Macedonians, Albanians, Turks and Roma. Read more ...

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