Ksenija Đurović, Tijana Grumić, and Nikita Milivojević; Photo: Nebojša Babić
Ksenija Đurović, Tijana Grumić, and Nikita Milivojević; Photo: Nebojša Babić

In its new edition, BITEF turns to collective art practices, i.e., to the curatorial team that worked on the selection of the 57th edition: Nikita Milivojević (artistic director), Tijana Grumić (dramaturge of the festival) and Ksenija Đurović (programme producer). Drawing on our various experiences, we curated the programme of this year's festival so that it presents artworks that reflect the unique interests and perspectives of each member of the co-selector team, and the common line that stood out through all the performances turned out to be resistance, rebellion, and non-conformity. In accordance with all that, the slogan of this year's Bitef is the verse Strength, Don’t Let Yourself Be Anyone’s from the poem Forest, Plough, Primrose by young poet Radmila Petrović, in which she deals with the issue of heritage and (female) ancestors.

We believe that real resistance emerges through collaboration and building communities by bringing together diverse voices that disrupt established narratives and offer new possibilities. This type of collective work challenges hierarchical structures, democratizes the work process and, fostering cooperation, expands the possibility of action.

At its core, theatre has always been a platform through which prevailing social norms are questioned. In this age of uncertainty and post-truth, it is of crucial importance to explore the ways in which it is possible to articulate resistance to oppressive systems, that is, to re-examine existing social structures and initiate conversations that will require changes. Through their diverse perspectives, poetics and artistic practices, the artists whose works will be presented in the main programme of this year's festival illuminate the stories of marginalized communities in different ways, challenge hegemonic structures and highlight the resilience of the human spirit.

Resistance movements throughout history have often been driven by a shared responsibility for social change. However, young people have recently been forced to face various issues, such as climate change, environmental disasters, social and economic inequalities. The older generations neglect their responsibilities and thus burden the youth, who must be the bearers of change in a world for which they are not responsible. In this context, the theme of resistance and rebellion highlights the importance of empowering younger generations and their action in shaping the world they inherit.

The basic idea of Bitef is to celebrate new theatrical tendencies, so this time we will have the opportunity to see, alongside already established artists, several new names in the world of contemporary performing arts, authors who explore the language of resistance in specific contexts and in different ways. These are authors who bravely examine the limits of theatrical expression, defying conventions and grappling with the new and the unknown. Thus, the selection of the 57th Bitef will include a total of eight performances in the main programme, which deal with issues of rebellion and resistance, i.e., non-compliance in the most diverse contexts - from neglecting the ecological ruin of the world while sunbathing on the beach, to questioning otherness and fear of the other, all the way to megalomanic projects for the construction of national stadiums at the expense of necessary public services - and we will also have a performance in the prologue of the festival.

In the creation of the new edition of Bitef, and with the appreciation and respect of the legacy of the previous artistic management that had a significant impact on shaping the identity of the festival, the co-selector team decided to keep the Prologue this year as a connecting point that aims to maintain continuity with the previous festival editions. The decision to keep the Prologue as a means of continuity is not only an act of respect, but also in line with the cultivation of collective work and appreciation of the multiplicity of voices and perspectives.

Apart from the main programme and the Prologue, this year’s Bitef will have its usual side programmes such as Bitef Polyphony and Meeting the Authors. Also, the eleventh edition of the regional traveling festival of contemporary circus, Cirkobalkana, is realized within the framework of side programmes, thus continuing the tendency to support and strengthen marginalized artistic practices.


Nikita Milivojević, artistic director
Tijana Grumić, dramaturge of the festival
Ksenija Đurović, programme producer