Dodona Research Papers

Rabije Bajrami, and a string of other prominent art figures such as directors Melehate Qena, and Ismail Ymeri pushed the development of an alternative theatre in 1985, in order to combat what they saw as a cultural void within society.

"Driven by this cultural void in the lives of children and adults, I began to focus on the idea of establishing a new theatre that will play a huge role towards communities not only in the capital city, but also all of Kosovo", Bajrami wrote in a 2002 publication celebrating a decade of theatre productions at Dodona.

In 1986, Pristina’s municipality approved the establishment of a theatre on the site of Dodona, then known as the Theatre for Youth, Children and Dolls.

Plays for children were held at various venues such as the Youth and Sports Palace, and hundreds of primary schools.

It was not until 1992 that the venue swapped its name for Dodona, after the famous pagan oracle thought to be of Illyrian descent.

Although the theatre’s mission remained encouraging theatre interest in children, the team elected to also host performances aimed at adults, taking advantage of the two stages to accommodate their productions.

Dodona became a cultural phenomenon in the early nineties, transforming itself as the epicentre of theatre and Albanian expression, and a recreational necessity for Albanians that did not have the luxury of enjoying cinema and television produced in Kosovo.

"During those years, Dodona became a symbol of theatre in Kosovo. For almost ten years, Dodona Theatre was the only cultural window in Kosovo, and, honestly, unique theatre and art in general can be identified almost always with the name Dodona during that decade," said Rabije Bajrami.

The popularity of the Dodona was so strong that even those with meager finances went out of their way to enjoy a show at theatre.

"Those that did not have money to purchase the tickets discovered a way to get in free. They would climb on the roofs of neighbouring houses and then secretly enter through an upstairs window of Dodona Theatre," said Rabije Bajrami.

As Albanian schools and institutions faced closure by Serbian powers, Dodona also became a temporary classroom, office space and meeting point for the Albanian community. And despite the risk, the show went on at the theatre.

Renowned actor and director Faruk Begolli described after the conflict this phenomenon as "a certain protest against the violence, a certain manifestation of pride and dignity, a form of no surrender".

The artful protest did not end during the violent years of 1998-99, even though the Dodona team was forced to seek refuge in Macedonia with hundreds of other Kosovo Albanians.

They continued to organise theatrical productions in the neighbouring country, notably Enver Statovici’s play "Who is to blame that I am Albanian".

After the end of the conflict, Dodona returned to Prishtina, and immediately began operations under Faruk Begolli, who became the new director.

Besides regular production of pre-conflict favourites and new plays, Dodona partnered with UNICEF and travelled around Kosovo to perform educational plays urging children to protect themselves against the dangers of mines.

Although Dodona’s budget was, and remains, tiny compared to other theatres in the region, it has established itself as a stepping stone for new artists, actors and directors eager to expose their creativity.

More than 370 productions have been held at Dodona since the end of the conflict. Today, the theatre continues to hold plays for children during the day, in addition to ballet lessons throughout the week.

Adult-targeted productions are held in the evenings, with ticket prices costing 3 euro.

A new collective volume with over twenty important studies on less well-studied dialects of ancient Greek, particularly of the northern regions.

The book covers geographically a broad area of the classical Greek world ranging from Central Greece to the overseas Greek colonies of Thrace and the Black Sea. Particular emphasis is placed on the epichoric varieties of areas on the northern fringe of the classical Greek world, including Thessaly, Epirus and Macedonia. Recent advances in research are taken into consideration in providing state-of-the art accounts of these understudied dialects, but also of more well-known dialects like Lesbian. In addition, other papers address special intriguing topics in these, but also in other dialects, such as Thessalian, Lesbian and Ionic, or focus on important multi-dialectal corpora such as the oracular tablets from Dodona. Finally, a number of studies examine broader topics like the supraregional Doric koinai or the concept of dialect continuum, or even explore the possibility of an ancient Balkansprachbund, which included Greek too.

This new reference work covers a gap in current research and will be indispensable for people interested in Greek dialectology and ancient Greek in general.

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