The performing art in Albania are also known as “scenic/stage” or “interpretive” arts. From 1960-1996 “The People’s Artist” was an honorary title for outstanding art performers, created “in order to encourage the creativity of artists for the further development of our art by creating works of high artistic value, which reflect the heroic past of our people, its historic victories, its glorious work in building socialism as well as helping the communist education of the working masses”, affirmed by Law Nr. 3171, Dated 26.10.1960. The Merited Artist was a second-level award. Neither were awarded after 1991, but replaced in 1996 with “Grand Master of Work”, and again as “Grand Master” after a 2001 amendment of the 1996 law.
A new Law of Theatre was created in 2000, replaced by Law Nr. 9631/2006 on Performing Arts, and then both replaced by a new Law on Arts and Culture, Nr. 10352/2010111. In covering performing arts, music and circus, it outlined the following institutions: National Theatre; National Theatre of Opera, Ballet and Folk Ensemble; National Cultural Centre for Children and Puppet Theatre; National Centre of Art and Culture; National Gallery of Arts; National Circus; and National Comedy Theatre. In 2014 the National Centre of Art and Culture dissolved into the administration of the Ministry of Culture. Also that year, the National Comedy Theatre was closed and reopened as the National Experimental Theatre.
There have been many concerns form performers regarding their pensions, and the Ministry of Culture has drafted a bill for changes to the “Pensions of some complex artist professions” 2017112, specifically for state but also private employed performers of ballet, circus, opera, musical theatre, state ensembles, wind instrument orchestras, choirs, etc.
The Albanian Arts University, founded in 1966 as an Academy, has a Department of Music and stage Arts, and there is a public School of Ballet (Shkolla e Baletit), however there has been a continuous increase in private schools, businesses and not for profit organisations that preserve and promote diverse genres of performances.
The largest quadrennial performing event in the country is the Gjirokastra Festival which began in 1968, and it promotes mainly traditional dance, music, costumography etc., and takes place in the heritage castle of Gjirokastra.
The Albanian Dance Theatre Company was the first independent contemporary dance company in Albania founded in March 2000. Since its establishment, the company has had at least one new production every year. The National Centre of Mediterranean Theatre has contributed to Albanian theatre for over 20 years through international events such as the International Theatre Festival in Butrint and recently promoted their documentary “Future Begins Today” supported also by the Western Balkans Fund. Many performances are often held at heritage sites including the ancient theatres of Butrint, Apollonia and Bylis and castles of Gjirokastra and Shkodra. Since 2017, Reja (Cloud) Fest has hosted hundreds of performers in music, dance and other activities as well as training sessions and lectures, at the Cloud installation in the centre of Tirana. Other civil society organisations active in the performing arts are the Albanian Association of Contemporary Theatre, MAM Foundation for Contemporary Arts, DoArt, etc. Tirana has also restored the communist era amphitheatre by the artificial lake for various singing, dancing, theatre and other performances administered by the Agency of Parks and Recreation of Tirana Municipality.
A new multifunctional centre ArTurbina, a revitalization project, opened on July 2th, 2018. ArTurbina is a modern, multifunctional art centre. Its name is related to the origin of this building as a Hydro Turbine Laboratory during the communist regime. The new theatre has two stages, one with 400 seats and another with 150 seats, both with the latest technology.
In April 2020, Europa Nostra placed the National Theatre in Tirana on the top 7 list of most endangered heritage sites113, and in May 2020 the building was demolished after a two-year debate and protests to conserve and protect it, and Europa Nostra condemned the brutal demolitions. Many are looking forward to the new theatre. Another new building opened in 2019 in Tirana, Air Albania Stadium, rebuilt on the same site after demolition of
Dinamo Qemal Stafa Stadium, and available for various performances.
During the Covid 19 pandemic, even though the re-opening at reduced capacity of theatres and cinema, etc. was good news, the private sector considered this an unfair situation in relation to publicly funded institutions, like The National Theatre of Opera, Ballet and Folk Ensemble which receives the largest budget from the Albanian Ministry of Culture. Compared to other subordinate institutions, the private sector depends heavily on audience ticket sales. Throughout the summer of 2020, fall and winter, the artists, institutions, and organizations of cultural events continued online. The Albanian Ministry of Culture and its institutions organized several online events in opera, music and theatre. On February 10, 2021 the Online International Theatre began, with 20 participating teams and the support of the Ministry of Culture, National Theatre, Tirana Municipality, and Raiffeisen Bank.