Blessed Unrest

Blessed Unrest and Teatri ODA

Building a bridge between Kosova and the USA


A marriage that spurns tradition, an impossible journey on horseback, a brother who defies the grave. Inspired by the Albanian legend as written by Ismail Kadare, Doruntine is a mythical tale of family loyalty, forbidden love and the power of a promise that can never be broken.

April 23 – May 10, 2015

The Interart Theatre
500 West 52nd Street, NYC
(just west of 10th Avenue)

May 2

The Emelin Theatre
Mamaroneck, NY

For tickets to the Emelin Theatre performance, please visit

We will also present staged readings of our original play The Sworn Virgin, which toured the Balkans in 2012, and begin the process of creating our next original play together.

About our Collaboration

Blessed Unrest of New York and Teatri ODA of Prishtina, Kosova have been collaborating since 2005, creating and performing original, bilingual plays in New York and on several tours through the Balkan nations of Kosova, Macedonia, and Albania. In 2008 we realized the first ever US/Kosovar theatre collaboration in the US with our acclaimed production of Doruntine, followed by a sold out Balkan tour in 2009. This spring, back by popular demand, Doruntine returns to New York.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Balkan Wars of the 1990s with US and NATO military intervention, Teatri ODA was founded to exert the power of arts and culture in defining their new nation and in the building of a democratic and open society. The founding of Teatri ODA in 2003, the only independent arts organization in the region, was unprecedented. They converted an abandoned bowling alley into a performance venue that now averages 180 events per year with 50,000 visitors.

Albanian is one of the oldest languages on the planet, and few Americans have ever heard it spoken. The ancient legend of Doruntine is central to Albanian culture, and in this version is retold with the perspective of American artists. We are giving artists and audience a direct and tangible connection to the history and traditions of Kosovar and Albanian people.

America’s relationship with the Balkans is imbalanced. We give military and financial aid, yet know little about each other culturally or artistically. Blessed Unrest’s partnership with Teatri Oda engenders a different kind of communication in which we exchange ideas and perspectives, and work together to create art.

Read more about our history together.

This project is being supported by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Kosova Ministry of Diaspora, SHS Foundation, and the generosity of individual donors. Thank you!

From the press

“emotional intensity…sheer originality…delightful surprises”

~ Time Out NY

“…Doruntine is a wholly theatrical and moving telling of a very relevant and powerful story. It’s a window into a culture not often heard from, and is yet another argument for the cultural importance of independent theatre.”


Doruntine is inventive, exciting theater that crosses artistic as well as national and cultural boundaries. …the story feels both ancient and cutting-edge. Doruntine is the kind of production I’d expect to see as part of BAM’s Next Wave festival.”

~ Elizabeth Bachner,

From the artists

“Kosova is one of the newest countries in the world. We want to be Kosovar cultural ambassadors, bringing our language and ancient traditions to an American audience.”

~ Florent Mehmeti, Teatri ODA

“Performing and living in an area of the world that has been isolated and ravaged by war had a profound impact upon me. I learned first-hand the power of culture as a tool to unite, create dialogue, and facilitate a process of reconciliation and rehabilitation among an oppressed people.”

~ Zenzele Cooper, Blessed Unrest

"At its best, independent theater is inventive, emotional, inspiring and has the ability to transform the atmosphere in a room full of people. In the several years I have been attending shows by Blessed Unrest, they have never ceased to amaze."

~ Amber Gallery, NY Theatre Now

Get to Know Blessed Unrest

A video by TDF (Theatre Development Fund)

Blessed Unrest receives Caffe Cino Fellowship Award

Watch our acceptance speech/performance at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards.