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EXCHANGE

Shadow play: Greek and North Macedonian Actors Respond to the Impact of COVID-19 on Arts

On the 21st of December 2020, an online event has held by the NGO Cooperation for a Common Future which promotes and supports bilateral youth cooperation between the Republic of North Macedonia and Greece. The event was focused on the impact of the global pandemic of covid-19 on Arts. The event was organized by Anelija Mitrova, Aigli Sakellari and Nikos Bakirtzis. There were two main speakers; one from and one from North Macedonia. The Greek speaker was actor Konstantinos Bibis. Simona Dimkovska an actress as well spoke about the Macedonian experience of being an artist during these uncertain and difficult times. Some of the questions that were answered during the 2-hour active and lively discussion were about the challenges that the artists are facing during the pandemic, the mechanisms for support of the artists during the “new reality” and the impact on them? Aigli Sakellari acted as the moderator. The two speakers initially focused on the devastating impact of covid-19 on Arts and how artists on both countries were affected by the lockdowns and the governmental decisions. They also compared their experiences as they are both actors and discussed the different approaches and responses to the pandemic and how it affected actors as well as the various people that are working behind the scenes of a theater production. Konstantinos Bibis also spoke about the Greek initiative “Support Art Workers” which mobilized artists across the country demanding fair treatment, protection and support by the government. Simona Dimkovska also spoke her engagement with the NGO “Cultural Echoes” whose mission is to promote urban and environmental responsibility and create a more sustainable, socio-culturally friendly and modern urban environment. As mentioned above, the audience actively participated in the Q&A that followed the initial inputs of the speakers and an interesting, productive and constructive dialogue among young people and artists from North Macedonia and Greece took place. The aim of the event was to give the floor to young people and more specifically young artists who are among the groups of the society that were impacted the most by the pandemic in order to share their experiences, concerns and ideas about the present as well as the future of the Arts in both Greece and North Macedonia. Based on the participation on a weekday as well as the engagement of the audience in the discussion the event can be considered a success and similar events will take place in the near future.

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