Tijuana / Photo: Bitef Promo
Tijuana / Photo: Bitef Promo

The fifty-sixth Bitef takes place in Belgrade in the period from September 23 to October 2, 2022. In the main program, the Belgrade audience will be offered an opportunity to see nine performances from Germany, Belgium, Mexico, France, Serbia, Slovenia, and Great Britain. Among the authors who will present their works are some of the most important names of the European and world theaters, such as Katie Mitchell, Jan Martens, and Alexander Zeldin.

The slogan of the Festival is We - The Heroes Of Our Own Labour, to shed light on the topic which is the focus of this year's festival. Bitef will tackle the issue of work in modern society, labor rights, the labor market after the pandemic, but also the issue of work in the actual performing arts.

There are two plays that most prominently unwrap the issue of deprivation of workers’ rights and their "invisibility" in contemporary society; one is Tijuana (produced by Lagartijas tiradas al sol, from Mexico, directed by Lazaro Gabino Rodríguez and Luisa Pardo), and the other is Gardien Party (produced by Zirlib, from France, directed by Mohamed El Khatib and Valérie Mréjen). Both will be performed on September 26, while Gardien Party will have a second performance on September 27.

Tijuana is a solo performance by the famous Mexican actor and author Lazaro Gabino Rodriguez. Having assumed a false identity, he moved to the Mexican city of the same name, rented a small room in one of the favelas, and got a job in a local factory, determined to check whether a Mexican worker could live off the minimum wage. 

This performance act, whose form can be defined as a "lecture performance", represents Rodriguez's performative archiving and reconstruction of the experiment that he has tried to implement in real life.

Rodriguez is also remembered among the theatre world for the fact that, on behalf of the non-European artists, he publicly opposed Jerome Bell's concept of avoiding air travel as a measure for, supposedly, contributing to environmental protection, finding it to be working to the advantage only of the European artists.

Gardien Party; Photo: Yohanne Lamoulère - Tendance Floue
Gardien Party; Photo: Yohanne Lamoulère - Tendance Floue

The title of the play Gardien Party cannot be translated without losing its original meaning which relies on a wordplay: this is not a "garden party”, but literally a party of guards, and not just any, but guards in museums. This warm, sad, smart and witty play talks about the destinies of six attendants of the major world museums from Paris, Marseille, Saint Petersburg, Stockholm, and New York (two of them), through their confessions about their work, their own attitude towards the artworks they look after, museums as institutions, and their life ambitions and defeats (some of them are overqualified for this job and happen to be doing it by an unfortunate twist of fate).

It is always performed in front of an empty museum wall in front of which is a row of attendants’ chairs, which will gradually get filled with favorite works of art of our protagonists’, the unfairly ignored guardian angels of museums. (Bitef chose to stage the play in the Historical Museum of Serbia). 

The festival has been traditionally supported by the Secretariat for Culture of the City of Belgrade and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, the Goethe Institute, the British Council, the French Institute in Belgrade and the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Belgrade. The Bitef partner and friend again this year is I&F Group, within which McCann Belgrade, the festival's creative agency, also operates. The partners of the festival this year are the Post of Serbia and Generali Insurance Serbia, as well as the long-time friends of the festival Coca-Cola Hellenic Serbia, Alma Quattro, Bel Medic General Hospital, Halo Creative Team, Docker Brewery & Beer Garden, and Homemade Bread Roles (Domaće kiflice).


Tickets can be purchased online at prodaja.bitef.rs. With online shopping, you will get a 10% discount on the price of individual tickets. Tickets can also be purchased at the Bitef Box Office in the MTS Hall (address: Trg Nikole Pašića). A 30% discount applies to the purchase of a set of tickets at the Box Office and it is possible to pay in cash or by a bank transfer (on the basis of a proforma invoice issued at the buyer's request).


At this year's Bitef, the media representatives will be able to get accreditation on the Festival's official website. The deadline for accreditation is September 14.