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In the 2013/2014 season the number of performances at professional theatres increased by 5.7% compared to the previous year

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FYR of Macedonia/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.2 Performing arts and music

The latest data shows that there are 18 professional theatres, 2 theatres for children and youth and 8 amateur theatres in Macedonia. The professional theatres perform an average of about 1 000 performances per year, while the amateur theatres and alternative groups have 80 to 90 performances. The theatrical performances are annually attended by an average of approximately 200 000 visitors (in professional theatres). The capacity of the professional theatres is 3 178 seats. These theatres have a physical space of 18 436 sqm.

According to the State Statistical Office data, in the 2013/2014 season, compared to 2012/2013, the number of performances at professional theatres increased by 5.7%, while attendance increased by 0.8%. The average attendance per performance was 205 visitors.

In the period 2013/2014, compared to 2012/2013, the number of performances at professional youth and children's theatres decreased by 6.6%, while attendance decreased by 18.6%. In amateur theatres, for the same period, the number of performances increased by 10.7%, and the number of visitors increased by 3.3%.

According to the Government's Decision on the Network of National Institutions in the Field of Culture (December 2003), few of the professional theatres will become a part of local cultural centres in the cities of Kumanovo, Prilep, Strumica and Stip. The Theatre of Nationalities in Skopje was reorganised as two separate national institutions: Albanian Theatre and Turkish Theatre. Following the initiative of the Ministry of Culture, a new professional theatre was opened in Tetovo. In 2009 the professional theatres that became part of the local cultural centres (in Kumanovo, Prilep, Strumica, Stip and Veles) loudly spoke in favour of reorganisation and getting back their autonomy. They argued that their work had become more and more difficult, that there were a lot of unnecessary limitations to their basic functions and that de-fusion was a must.

Table 6:    Theatres in Macedonia, by type, 2013/2014








1 088

1 092

207 115

Prof. children




24 746





17 252



1 393

1 136

249 113

Source:    State Statistical Office, News Release No.

The Director of the Theatre for Children and Youth announced plans to shut down the so-called Youth Stage because it interfered with the performances for children and promoted "dark aesthetics" in the Theatre. The director requested the Ministry of Culture not to finance new plays for this stage in the Annual competition for 2016. However, the actors from the same Theatre published an open letter explaining that none of this was true, that the Youth Stage did not cause any problems for the children's repertoire because in 2014 there were 170 performances for children and only 12 for youth, etc.

The two leading musical institutions are: the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Macedonian Opera and Ballet (both in Skopje). Their main objective is to present works from world music literature from various stylistic periods and promotion of works by local composers. Apart from these, several chamber ensembles are active, as well as many individual musicians. There is an initiative from the local government to establish an Opera House in Bitola.

The concert life is mainly concentrated in Skopje (as capital city), whereas in the other towns it is occasional, depending on the conditions and possibilities to stage concerts, the interest on the side of the audience and the tradition of the performing arts practice. Concerts in smaller towns are, almost without exception, chamber concerts.

The Ministry of Culture also supports the programme activities of the professional folk dance group Tanec, which fosters vocal, dance and vocal-instrumental folklore tradition.

In 2008 work on a new building for the Macedonian Philharmonic started but the completion has been postponed several times.

Table 7:    Macedonian Philharmonic, 2007 - 2014






21 900



19 850



7 000



7 774



12 380

Source:    State Statistical Office, News Release No.

There are no specific regulations for the performing arts as a separate field and are rather mentioned in the Law on Culture.

On the other hand, in 2013 the Ministry of Culture prepared and the Parliament adopted the Law on the Support of the Domestic Music Production which was strongly opposed by experts and the opposition. The Law aims to support and promote domestic music production – mainly pop and folk music – for a period of ten years, to a total value of 5 million EUR. By means of yearly competition the creation of 200 new compositions (150 in the area of entertainment and 50 in folk music and children's songs) will be financed. Compositions will be selected in several categories: "talent", "renowned singer" "outstanding performer", "top performer", "songs that promote family values in society and families with many children" and "compositions that promote the history of Macedonia", and will be financed with 3 000 EUR (1 500 EUR for the composition and production, and 1 500 EUR for a video clip). The "Children's song" will be financed with 400 EUR (for the composition and production). The "Stars" category will be financed with 4 500 EUR (3 000 EUR for composition and production, and 1 500 EUR for a video clip). Macedonian Radio and Television as a Public Broadcaster is authorised to carry out all of the work (announce a public call, choose members of the Commission, recordings etc).

The first results were announced in 2014 and 36 compositions / performers were selected.

Chapter published: 06-10-2015

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