Prof. Dr. Lidia Varbanova, EMPACT Project Lead

Prof. Dr. Lidia Varbanova is an educator, consultant and researcher in the areas of strategy, policy development, entrepreneurship and innovations, environmental management and online technologies, with a special emphasis on arts, culture and creative industries, with professional experience in over 60 countries in Canada, Europe, Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Prof. Varbanova is an internationally acclaimed conference speaker and moderator, author of books published by Routledge, and an active member of several professional networks in Canada and Europe, former Board member and Vice President of ENCATC. Currently, Prof. Varbanova is the Director of the MA Program in Management of Performing Arts and Industries at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts and a member of the UNESCO International Expert Facility for the implementation of the 2005 Convention on Cultural Diversity.


Creative team:

Prof. Dr. Velimir Velev, Socially Engaged Art Interventions

Prof. Dr. Velimir Velev is an actor, director, theatre choreographer, scenographer and pedagogue with a long-standing successful professional practice in Bulgaria and abroad. He is the Head of the Drama Theatre Department at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts “Kr. Sarafov”, Sofia, and Head of the BA program in Theatre of Movement. He is the creator of VIA–Virtual InterActive Theatre and also of the Non-Physical Theatre in Bulgaria (a new genre between the Theatre of Body Expression and Puppetry Art, based on a new author’s acting “MethaMethod” system), as well as the Unseen Theatre –the first company of blind actors in human history, creating in the field of visual performing arts (shadow theater, marionettes, masks, visual impressions) without the use of any sight.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aleksander Mandzhukov, Collaborative Interdisciplinary Artistic Projects

Aleksander Mandzhukov is a Bulgarian artist – choreographer and teacher, whose professional creative interest is in the field of dance theatre and performance and in particular in physically representing the emotional history of the human being through the physicality and expressiveness of the body. The communication between “body, mind and spirit” (as one) with the space around, the transcendence and the cosmos of the other as a result of a provocation of an internal energy explosion through an over-tension presence of the body like a reflection of an emotional need.

Jordan Varbanov, Collaborative Interdisciplinary Artistic Projects

Jordan Varbanov is a professional actor and art manager, who has completed his degree at NATFA. His interests are in the field of theatre and performing arts and his experience includes participation in drama performances at different theatres in Sofia and other cities in Bulgaria. As an art manager, he has contributed to 3 performing arts productions and to a workshop for professional actors. Mr. Varbanov is the manager of the theatre company „5×5“. The goal of this non-profit organization is to assist the professional development of young and emerging artists in Bulgaria and to create opportunities for the independent art scene in the country.

Dr. Ekaterina Kancheva, Artistic Residencies

Dr. Ekaterina Kancheva works with professional repertoire theatres in Bulgaria for over 25 years. She has appeared as an actress in over 40 productions. She is the author of theater plays that are staged in various professional theaters in the country. She has also practical experience in the administration and organization of creative projects, touring, and marketing research. Dr. Kancheva has participated in various events in the field of performing arts – workshops, conferences, seminars and focus groups.  She has worked in prestigious Bulgarian theaters in various positions – as an actress and deputy director.


Management team:

Iliana Dimitrova

Iliana Dimitrova has profound expertise in coordinating national and international projects, such as the EC’s Erasmus, TIP PROJECT; StudAVP, Summer MEDIA Studio; Four Corners; Artesnet Europe and Inter}Artes. Ms. Dimitrova has managed projects on improving the quality of arts training and professional development of students and youth, improving the quality of management systems, incl. digitally managed learning processes, as well as programs on internship for NATFA students. Ms. Dimitrova is also in charge of coordinating NATFA projects that are co-funded by the Culture Programme of Sofia Municipality, the Ministry of Culture’s National Culture Fund and the Ministry of Education in Bulgaria.

Dr. Yana Dzharova-Karakoleva

Dr. Yana Dzharova-Karakoleva is a lecturer at NATFA in the Screen and Stage Arts Faculty. She teaches courses on: Reality Shows, History and Theory of  TV and Cultural Policies. Yana holds a doctoral degree in the field of Cinema Studies, Cinema Art and Television. She manages diverse international projects and works in the International Relations Department at NATFA.

Krassimira Tsareva

Krassimira Tsareva has worked as a financial manager and has coordinated national and international projects such as the European co-funded projects and programs: ERASMUS, TIP PROJECT; StudAVP, Summer MEDIA Studio; Four Corners; Artesnet Europe and Inter}Artes. Ms. Tsareva is in charge of the finance management of projects of NATFA co-funded by the Culture Programme of Sofia Municipality, the Ministry of Culture’s the National Culture Fund and Ministry of Education in Bulgaria. She is the Chief Accounting Officer at NATFA.

Desislava Dimitrova

Dessislava Dimitrova is an expert on Communications at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, General Directorate of “European Funds, International Programmes and Projects”. Her previous position was – Manager of Information and lead expert on Public Relations at NATFA (2014-2022). Her professional focus is on public relations and communication, inter-organizational communication and event management in the field of performing arts, especially drama, puppetry, and cinematography. Dessislava teaches the discipline Public Relations at NATFA and is a PhD student there.


Contact info of NATFA representative: Prof. Dr. Lidia Varbanova: