Meeting the Authors is a standard Bitef side program, which entails public debates after each main program performance. Since the inception of the festival, this program has been envisioned as a space where the authors of the main program performances meet Bitef audience and discuss the productions, processes, artistic principles, the issues raised by the plays, but also the broader social context which gave rise to their creation. All the renowned authors who have presented their work at Bitef for over fifty years took part in this program, and all those discussions have been recorded, transcribed and preserved in the festival’s archives, but also in Jovan Ćirilov’s legacy, kept by the City of Belgrade Archives. The transcripts of those discussions represent invaluable documents for researchers, historians, artists, but also for the audience interested in the history and significance of Bitef.
Ever since the Cold War and the times when this festival was the only theatrical meeting point of East and West, and Meeting the Authors an opportunity for the most important theatre artist to exchange their opinions and experiences, the program has changed its name and form several times, keeping up with the spirit of times and trends on the global performing arts scene. Known as - Meeting the Creators, Meeting the Audience, Thematic Meetings with the Audience, and finally, Meetings the Authors - this program never changed its essence; it has always offered the audience an opportunity to put their impressions in order after the performances, as well as to pose questions to the authors or to comment on their work.
At the 53rd Bitef, the format of the Meeting the Authors is devised as a chatroom which opens with concise questions. The discussion is limited to 60 minutes, including questions from the audience. Aside from the authors of the performances, other members of their companies, performers or creative team members, who might be interested in hearing the opinions of the Belgrade audience, can also take part in the discussions.
The talks with guests from abroad will be held in English, while the discussions with authors from Serbia and the countries from the region will be in local languages, with interpretation provided for foreign guests.