Mihail Bilalov

Mihail Bialov is a contemporary theatrical and film actor, famous for his emblematic performances both in theater and in big screen productions. Let us now tell you a bit more about him.

He is born in Rousse on May 19, 1965. His mother is a dramatic actress and his father is a comedian actor. The family lived for a while in the town of Montana where his mother performed. Later they moved to the city of Burgas. Mihail learnt French from his grandmother. When he was just five years old, his parents got divorced.

Two years after the National High School for Ancient Languages and Cultures (Classical Lanuages School) opened in Sofia, the ten-year older brother sent Mihail a letter motivating him to come to the capital city of Sofia and enroll at the Classic School so that he could achieve his dream of becoming a researcher and polyglot like Jean-François Champollion – the Frenchman who deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphs.

So, at the age of 14, Michail moved to Sofia. In the following years, his brother had a strong influence on his further fate. Along with the brother’s desire to become a film critic, he ignited Mihail for acting and taught him everything about the magic of the theater and the cinema.

In 1984 Mihail finished his high-school education and in 1989 he graduated in the class of Professor Nikolay Lyutskanov at the now Krustyo Sarafov National Academy for Theater and Film Arts with a degree in Acting for Dramatic Theater.

He started work at the Burgas Theater, but briefly after that returned to the capital to take part in a casting at Sofia theater. He began to take on minor roles in various productions in the Mladezhki, Satirical, and National theaters, some of which, like A Farewell Dinner and The Name were translated by him. In 1994, he won the Askeer for Rising Star for his role in the Madame Butterfly play where he played the woman’s part of the main protagonist.

Months later he succeeded in getting a place for acting internship at the Paris Conservatory and despite the difficult economic situation in our country, he managed to cover the expenses and leave for France. Only four months later, however, he left the Conservatory for lack of financial resources and the need to find a job to support himself. At that time, he began to work as a salesman, then a secretary, an advertising agency employee, and also led a course for acting students. After overcoming his financial troubles, he got a degree in Landscape Design from the Versailles School in Paris and started his own business.

He returned both to Bulgaria and on the stage in 2009 upon an invitation of theatrical director Yavor Gardev to take part in a casting which was personally led by Americann playright Edward Albee for the performance of his The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?. For his performance in the play, in 2010 he received the Ikar for Major Male Role Award of the Bulgarian Artists’ Union.

Several years later Mihail Bilalov starred as Djaro in probably the most iconic Bulgarian TV series of present Undercover which role brought him fame not only in Bulgaria, but also in a number of other countries around the world.

During the years in France, Mihail was a fan of the TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. When invited by the director of the Bulgarian edition to become the TV host, he knew that this would be challenging due to the fact that the previous host who started with the show from its very beginning, Niki Kanchev, has become so popular and turned into an institution. Though he supposed that the audience would find it very difficult to recognize another person in Kanchev’s place, Mihail Bilalov took on the risk and as of 1 April 2018 he is the host of the new Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? TV format on the Bulgarian National Television.

Mihail Bilalov continues to actively take part in a number of theatrical productions in Bulgaria.

He is married to a Japanese who lives with their two daughters Ana and Olga-Elena in Paris.


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Profit-Yielding Building

dohodno1 One of the most familiar and iconic buildings in Rousse, the Profit-Yielding Building houses Sava Ognianov Rousse Theatre and is an architectural and a cultural monument of national importance.

After the Bulgarian Liberation in 1878, Rousse becomes the largest city and the greatest economic center in the Principality of Bulgaria. At that time, the local community of residents decided to act upon the idea to construct a building that would act as a cultural hub for the citizens, on the one hand, while its rented premises generate revenues intended for the development of the local schools, on the other.

dohodno2 On October 11, 1896 the Municipal City Council decides to allocate land for a theater building in the city center and announces a competition for its design. The winning project is the architectural plan by the Viennese architect Peter Paul Brang who at the time was designing buildings not only in cities around Bulgaria, but also in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Romania. The construction of the building began in 1898. The main building is completed in 1900 and the construction is officially announced to be over in 1902. The project for the theater premises is done by Mr Turnichek, a teacher in drawing, and by Romeo Giromagny, the Chief Artist of the National Theatre in Bucharest.

The facade of the building is a Neoclassical architectural masterpiece for its time and the decorative elements are in the traditional European 19th-century style. All architectural forms, ornaments and statues of the Profit-Yielding Building are made of stone. Seven figures rise from the roof and symbolize Art, Science, Agriculture, Handcrafts, Trade, Defense, and Flight of the free human spirit. Atop is the statue of Mercury as the symbol of Trade.

dohodno-zdanie-ruse On December 25 and 27, 1901 and on January 8, 1902 in the Casino located at the Profit-Yielding Building the Theatre played the Paris Junkie by Edmond Brizbar and Eugene New. This is considered to be the first performance of the Rousse Theatre in the Building. That is why the history of the Profit-Yielding Building is actually the history of Sava Ognianov Rousse Theatre, which to this day is housed there. Therefore, the more familiar name of the Profit-Yielding Building is simply The Theatre.

From 1928 to 1954 Liuben Karavelov City Library is located in the Building. From 1955 to 1990 the Zora Revival Community Centre is also housed there, and between 1947 and 1979 the Profit-Yielding Building hosts the expositions of the City Art Gallery.dohodno4

In 1975, the local governing body decides on a full reconstruction of the Building. In 1981 it is closed for renovation, but the reconstruction itself begins only a few years later. The overall renewal continues for the next 24 years. Finally, on July 1, 1999 the new Chamber Theatre Hall is officially presented to the public and on December 15, 2005 the new Big Scene Hall welcomes its first audience.dohodno3

In 2014 the Profit-Yielding Building is chosen by public vote the Bulgarian National Iconic Building of the Year.


1. Wikipedia
2. To and From
3. Boulevard
4. Vesti

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Kamen Donev

kamen2I wish I could tell you something you haven’t read about Kamen Donev; or that he himself has not communicated about his personality through the wording of his performances, through the dances and choreography he creates, or the irony and patented sense of humor he exhibits, all of which reveal a sincere love for Bulgaria, its past and present, people and traditions.

Kamen Donev is an actor, director, playwright, and choreographer. Born in Rousse, he graduated from the class of Krikor Azaryan and Todor Kolev—two names much famous in Bulgaria—at the National Theatre Academy. He participates in “The Street” blockbuster comedy series directed by Tedi Moskov together with Maya Novoselska, Krastio Lafazanov and many other favourites of the Bulgarian audience. kamen4 His father, Ivan Donev, was the founder of Naiden Kirov Folk Dance Theater in Rousse, and its director and choreographer until his death in 2012. Since then, Kamen Donev is also Chief Artistic Director of the ensemble. He has won numerous national and international awards in his career so far, including Ikar and Maxim. He has written a book, has worked abroad, but returned to Bulgaria, where he lives with his family today.

In recent years his success is all the more sweeping because of the performances he writes, directs, and performs such as “The Views of a Teacher on the Folk Art,” “The Views of a Teacher on the Common Instruction” and others. At the end of 2015 his performance “On the Weddings” attracted 12,000 spectators at Arena Armeets Hall in Sofia, which is a record attendance at a theatrical production for the country. He also authors skits that are published on the website.

If you succeed in digging up tickets for any of his productions scheduled for 2 or even 3 months ahead and go watch it, prepare yourself for a storm of emotions. Kamen Donev is an exceptional improviser who can make you cry with laughter – and that’s no exaggeration. Even when it comes to a line said many a time, it is performed as if it’s just been thought of and said out loud for the first time and with the sincere desire to be immediately shared with you. His performances are a colorful palette of dance and choreography in which he also invites guests to perform – singers and musicians such as the Boban and Marko Markovic’s Orchestra in “On the Weddings”. kamen1 A spectacle of folklore music and dances, accompanied by his mocking viewpoint, and combined with his explosive sense of humor are the signature of the artist Kamen Donev, with which he creates a unique insight into and of the performing arts in Bulgaria.

His interviews with have shown to a yet greater extent his sarcasm and harsh outlook on pressing social issues. I’ve seen him taking part in some of the protests two years ago. I’m far from limiting his rich personality within chauvinistic frames, but it’s exactly during these interviews that I cannot help but notice the “typical” traits of character people from Rousse exhibit: he is outspoken, calling a spade a spade, with an assertive and uncompromising opinion and an active citizenship standpoint – a noncommercial perceptivity of a nonconventional personality.

Read more about Kamen Donev here and here.

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Leon Daniel

leon2“Look at me. I am you.”

If someone had asked me a day before whose these words were, I would have immediately answered that “I am you.” are the emblematic words of a quick-tempered and sarcastic Beckstrom, the Swedish criminologist from my favorite crime TV series. He uses them to provoke suspects to admit to their crimes by speaking on their behalf as if he was in their heads and saw what they had done.

These words, however, belong to Leon Daniel. They remain his signature in the memories of some actors whose talent he encouraged on stagein an equally eccentric way as the Swedish Beckstrom encourages the intuition for investigation.

leon4Leon Avram Daniel a is Bulgarian stage director of Jewish origin, born in Rousse. He graduated from the State Theatre Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, known as Leningrad and the Soviet Union respectively back then. He started his career at Drama Theatre in Rousse until 1957 when he moved to Bourgas and spent the next three years there.

Despite having been exposed to Russian influence, Leon Daniel asserted his creative ideas and became known as opposing the communist government. It was in Bourgas when together with three other stage directors at the Bourgass Theatre, he formed the so called The Great Four. During the Communist regime in the late ‘60s they staged for the first time authors such as Brecht, Dürrenmatt, Mrozhek and Sartre whose plays were not allowed in Bulgaria at the time. In this way, The Great Four created a new stage language that opposed the canon of socialist realism speech on stage.

Critics define his work as a whole epoch in the development of the national theatrical art: “The theater of Leon Daniel is he himself, his own personality. He created a school and was a remarkable pedagogue without teaching at the National Theatre Academy. He was relocated for his ideas were challenging the regime and moved from theatre to theatre in the country and yet he indisputably remained a person that stood up for talent and the values of art. ”

leon1Next, he worked at the National Radio, the Bulgarian Army Theatre, Sofia Theatre, and many others. He was the director of one movie and three documentaries. He received numerous awards at international and national stage contests including an honorary Ikar for overall activity and Askeer for overall contribution to performing arts. He wrote papers, publications, and books. The play “Pygmalion” by G. B. Shaw which he directed is being performed in Sofia for a 10th consecutive year.

He is the father of the Bulgarian painter Andrei Daniel and the grandfather of the Bulgarian writer Ida Daniel. He died in Sofia in 2008. Among his favorite actors and friends who share his artistic ideas, are Yosif Sarchadjiegv, Iliya Dobrev and others.


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