The Theatre Laboratory Sfumato was founded in 1989 by stage directors Margarita Mladenova and Ivan Dobchev. It was meant to be a theatre laboratory; a territory for theatrical researches. It sees itself as a long-term creative strategy, driven by the conviction that the artistic and the spiritual have a common nature.
The Sfumato (which is the painting method of producing soft, imperceptible transitions between colours and tones) seeks the intersection between here and there, now and always; it uncovers the no-play in the play; it uncovers the unseen and it analyses the archetypal oppositions. The Sfumato undertakes long-term projects about authors, subjects and preliminary ‘expeditions’ in order to accumulate scientific material with the support of a large number of experts — philosophers, scientists, theologians, psychologists, etc. The workshop constitutes the basic model of creative life for the Sfumato. With its parallel programmes and its annual festival, The Small Season, it is open to a dozen projects by young professional artists. It also keeps a large circle of foreign partners, more than 300 performances on tour and a dozen workshops all over Europe, Japan and Korea. Since 1994, the Sfumato has been established as National Theatre with the status of an innovative theatre. After leaving behind a long nomadic lifestyle, with several locality changes due to commercial constraints, the Sfumato has been based in an old public baths building, which was reconstructed according to a specific architectural project, since 2003. It possesses three stages with auditoriums of 180, 50 and 30 seats, respectively.