Moderators: Milena and Jelena Bogavac

Ever since its inception the importance of BITEF resided not only with the participating productions but also with the tradition to discuss them publicly within the accompanying programme entitled Meeting the Creatorss. All significant authors who visited BITEF over the last fifty years, talked about their productions, issues they raise and their broader social context. These public discussions were taped, transcribed, published in the festival bulletin and preserved in the festival library and Jovan Ćirilov’s endowment kept at the Archives of the City of Belgrade.Special curiosity is the fact that all discussions, from the First Bitef, were recorded by Petar Marić which makes him the most experienced member of Bitef team.

During the Cold War Bitef’s Meeting the Creators was the only place where artists from the East and from the West could argue about their concepts and experiences. After that the public debate tradition continued and the discussions addressed different artistic practices, formats, artistic process and also the policies of the authors in the course of their work in the theatre, i.e. performing arts. Over the years the programme changed its name: Meeting the Creators became Meeting the Authorsto indicate clearly a different and new perception of the artistic process. From the term’creator’ which brings to mind ‘creating from nothing’ the event arrived at the term ‘author’ , less godly and less mystical but more in the spirit of modern artistic practices. During two festivals the discussions following the productions of the main, competitive, programme the authors and performers were joined by localintellectuals, that is artists presenting their professional views on the issues raised by the productions. After that, the programme changed its name again and the discussion with the audiences of the Main Programme productions became Meeting the Audience to emphasize that this programme was intended primarily for the spectators and their questions.

In the year of our jubilee it occurred to us that the concept of round tables dedicated to Main Programme productions should be a talking-room, with one-on-one meetings. One author and one moderator. Short and clear questions. Several performative elements to make the discussion format more interesting to follow. It goes without saying that the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions and the talking will take place on the stage, right after the performance. In this way Bitef debates about art and society will be shorter, clearer and more precise, more in the spirit of the age. In a world in which the basic unit of communication is reduced to 140 characters, we shall try to communicate in a more reduced and provocative way.

The conversations with foreign companies will be in English and with companies from Serbia and the region in local languages; English interpretation will be provided for foreign guests.

Milena Bogavac