We are honoured to announce our collaboration with Goran’s family to create a bronze sculpture, in memory of Goran Stefanovski. An international playwright and lecturer, Goran died on 27th November last year, shortly after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. He was 66.
Goran was a man of great intellect, wisdom and humour. He is sorely missed by those who loved him and those who worked with him throughout his career that led him to Canterbury Christ Church University, where he taught screenwriting for 16 years. His cremated remains have been returned to his homeland and an Old World sycamore (platanus orientalis) has been planted in his memory in a little park in Skopje, North Macedonia, where he studied and later taught at the university for many years.
It is important to the family that Goran is remembered as the keen writer that he was. This page follows the progress of the creation of his sculpture here in our studios. You will find Goran sitting on a bench, notepad and pen at the ready, waiting for you to join him and tell him your story. The commissioned artwork will be installed under his tree.
Please revisit this page to see the progress of the sculpture. We will update it with photos (and the odd film) of its creation. You will also be able to follow progress on our social media channels.
Goran Stefanovski was born on 27th April 1952 in Bitola, a town then in Yugoslavia, near the border with Greece on the Balkan Peninsula in Eastern Europe. His father, Mirko, was a theatre director and his mother, Nada, a leading actress. Much of Goran’s childhood was spent in theatres.
Having fallen in love with all things English during his teenage years through the influence of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, Goran went on to study English Language and Literature at the University of Skopje. However, he couldn’t get the theatre out of his system and spent his third year of studies at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts (FDU) in Belgrade. He graduated as the best student of his generation in Skopje and took a job in the Drama Department of Skopje TV, although he was soon to return to the University to teach English Literature, with a particular focus on Shakespeare.
In October 1974 he met Pat Marsh, an English linguist who came to teach English at Skopje University. They married in March 1976. When they met, he was writing a play based on Macedonian folklore for Slobodan Unkovski, one of the directors of a theatre group he had become involved with as a student; Unkovski was to become a lifetime collaborator and friend. Yané Zadrogaz achieved great success and went on to be presented at the prestigious Belgrade International Theatre Festival (BITEF), then in Paris and finally at the Caracas Theatre Festival in Venezuela.
A radio play about Shakespeare, two TV plays with a contemporary setting and a six-part TV series set in the 1940s followed Goran Stefanovski’s early success in the second half of the 70s. In 1979 he wrote his best-known play, Wild Flesh, which has had fifteen productions to date all over Europe, including London, and is on the secondary school curriculum in his homeland. The play is based on the experiences of his father and uncles during World War II. It brought him the October Prize of the Republic of Macedonia for exceptional artistic achievement, the highest award of the Republic, as well as the 1980 Award for Best Yugoslav Play of the Year at the Yugoslav National Theatre Festival.
Almost every year for the next thirty-three years was to see a new and successful play by Stefanovski, many of them award-winners. In the 1980s he continually pushed the boundaries of Yugoslav theatre, both in an artistic and political sense. The False Bottom (1983) was particularly bold in its challenge to state censors. In 1988 The Black Hole received its first productions; with its unique structure and stunning theatricality, it is generally considered to be his greatest contribution to European theatre.
TIME FOR A CHANGE
In 1991 Yugoslavia began to fall apart and descended into civil war. The constantly deteriorating situation led his wife Pat to decide to make a new life for the family in Canterbury, England, from September 1992. For the next six years, Stefanovski was to commute between Macedonia and the UK, continuing his teaching in Skopje.
In 1992, Dragan Klaić, one of Goran’s former teachers at the Belgrade Faculty of Dramatic Arts and a close friend, put him in touch with Chris Torch of the Jordcirkus theatre group in Stockholm, who commissioned a play, in cooperation with the Antwerp European Capital of Culture, about Sarajevo, the Bosnian city then undergoing a brutal siege. Sarajevo, an oratorio for the theatre went on an extensive tour across Europe in the summer of 1993, including the London International Theatre Festival  and the Hamburg International Summer Festival. Sarajevo was published in London, New York and Illinois. This successful venture was followed by performance scripts for the festivals of European Capitals of Culture in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Avignon and Bologna, all in collaboration with Chris Torch.
Through this connection, Stefanovski had become known in Sweden and between 1998 and 2000 he was a visiting professor at the Dramatic Institute in Stockholm.
In September 2000 he settled in Canterbury and taught classes in screenwriting and playwriting at the University of Kent before taking up his post at Canterbury Christ Church University in 2002, teaching screenwriting there until his death in 2018. He was an extraordinarily popular teacher and a well-loved colleague.
Stefanovski continued writing successful plays which were translated and produced all over the world throughout the rest of his life. A highly regarded essayist, public intellectual and lecturer, Stefanovski contributed papers to a large number of conferences and held workshops all over Europe. His last public lecture was as keynote speaker at the International Federation for Theatre Research World Congress in Belgrade in July 2018. His last public appearance was to receive an honorary doctorate from the Bulgarian National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia.
His death has brought scores of tributes to his brilliance as a writer and teacher, as well as outpourings of admiration and love for him as a human being of great wisdom, modesty and kindness.
The above text has been edited from Wikipedia – see original here.
“My name is Goran Stefanovski. This is the story of my life in a few short sentences. I was born in the Republic of Macedonia, which, at that time, was part of the Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. My father was a theatre director and my mother was an actress. I spent my first 40 years in Skopje as a playwright and a teacher of drama. I married Pat, who’s English. We had two children and we were happy. We had a good story.” – Goran Stefanovski, “Tales from the Wild East” (2009)