Information about autumn activities in ASSITEJ Serbia

In this part of the world, in Southeast Europe and in the western Balkans, a new theatre season has commenced and will last until next June coinciding thus with the school year, which is particularly favourable for theatre for children and young people because it gives opportunity to schools to organize collective theatre visits.

Both big institutional and small independent theatres show a significant number of old performances varied in both artistic level and in topics, aimed at different age groups. However, the managers of theatres and theatre workers are well aware that every generation asks for new performances, as children’s perception of the world and the language are in constant flux. Theatre workers are continuously facing the challenge of exploring the specific traits of every new generation, of finding the topics it can relate to, and of the language that can help establish the communication. Still, the overall economic crisis has imposed a new challenge – how to obtain the finances necessary to procure any project which is not conditioned by anything, in the least by commercial success. The most worrying facts, however, is that we know the young audience less than ever, and that theatre touches very few of them.

On the other hand, two Belgrade international theatre festivals – Bitef in September and TIBA in June – have turned into the beginning and the end of theatre season. Bitef, Belgrade International Theatre festival, the festival of new theatre trends has been an internationally acclaimed festival for 46 years. Bitef is the place where creative energy accumulates, powerful poetics are recognized, and the innovative theatre approaches are appreciated. In spite of the fact that Bitef is mainly directed to “adult audience”, its main selection and the side programmes inspire and encourage young theatre workers in Serbia and in the region. That is why it is particularly encouraging that this year’s Bitef main selection presented several younger artists from Serbia and from the region that are equally active in theatre for children and young people, and promote the highest artistic standards and the full affirmation of the culture for children and young people.

Bitef Polyphony, as one of the side programmes of Bitef festival, has been trying to tackle crucial social issues for thirteen year, to explore and promote innovative, participative and socially engaged theatre in work with and for young people, as well as to support the use of drama and theatre in education and humanitarian work. This programme has managed, through its quality and consistency, to change the general attitude to theatre for children and young people, and to make theatre workers realize that it its role is much wider than to just nurture future ‘big theatre’ audience.

Bitef – this year under the slogan A Trip to the Truth – and the Bitef Polyphony – under slogan Truth or Dare – have posed many questions which were discussed at round tables and follow-up discussions. My colleagues and I start every season with the questions we pose after Bitef festival, after its impressive performances and the stimulating discussions. We ask the questions, we test them in practice, they influence what we do. I am confident that the reflections will be discernible on big and small stages up until the end of the season and the TIBA festival 2013.

It will be followed by the International Meeting in Linz – a welcome opportunity to approach all the questions from a different perspective which will open through exchange with our colleagues from abroad. I am deeply convinced that the possibility to present the results obtained in the period between Bitef Polyphony and TIBA festival, and to evaluate them through a dialogue with our international colleagues, will represent an invaluable impulse for the work until the next Bitef, the next TIBA and finally, until the congress in Poland. I am looking forward to it, because I perceive the meetings as challenging, productive and invigorating. So: if not sooner – see you at the International Meeting, and then at the 19th ASSITEJ Congress and festival.

Moving into a new office

For the first time, ASSITEJ Serbia has its own offices in which we have moved after the renovation. The office is situated in the heart of Belgrade, above the ‘Boško Buha’ Theatre, near the National Museum and right across the National Theatre. Two offices, shared by ASSITEJ and TIBA festival represent a considerable encouragement to the centre. We would like to welcome all our members, friends and our colleagues: do come and visit us! Our address is the Republic Square 3, Belgrade, Serbia