The first to speak was Miloš Latinović, the Chief Executive of the Bitef Theatre, who thanked all those who had lent their support to the festival and especially the Secretariat for Culture of the City of Belgrade and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia which have supported this international festival for over five years.
Ivan Medenica, the artistic director of BITEF, said that the concept of this year’s BITEF has been under consideration for a year in the same building and within the same context as when the 52nd BITEF was announced. At the conference last year I was touched by the words of lady journalist Vukica Strugar who asked “Shouldn’t the theatre give us also some comfort and hope in these hideous times we live in?” That emotion and that question stuck in my mind and I began to think how could BITEF help yet without resorting to some naive optimism. The slogan does sound optimistic this year - Beti Đorđević’s pop song Let’s Start Love from the Beginning should be the inspiration point of this year’s festival - different forms of theatre put to use so as to revive humanistic values which ought to govern every society.
The BITEF team expressed their thanks to Mr Vladan Korać who ceded the right to use, as the official slogan of the event, the title Let’s Start Love from the Beginning by Aleksandar Korać, the author of a hit sung by Beti Djordjević.
Medenica pointed out also that the type of contemporary theatre which constructs this alternative form of the social community in a very obvious manner is the one based on a greater participation of spectators, the removal of the naturalistic fourth wall between the social reality of the audience and the fictional reality of the stage and interaction and cooperation between the performers and the spectators. Today the most topical form of this interactive theatre is usually defined as “immersive theatre”. This novel community, based on participation, acquiescence and cooperation within a performance situation is the ultimate outcome of the main programme of the 53rd BITEF. It is realised in the production of Invited by choreographer Seppe Baeyens and the well-known Belgian company Ultima vez from Brussels which will close the 53rd BITEF, Medenica said.
Ivan Karl, Secretary for Culture of the City of Belgrade, voiced his gratification with the fact that the support for BITEF was regenerated every year both at the city and the republic level. This is a good example of cooperation of institutions supporting something like BITEF that promotes the loftiest values. BITEF is a theatre beacon in this part of Europe and the world sending its light far and wide. BITEF has a feature both of an import and export character: all productions shown at BITEF have a road wide open to the world, among other things precisely because they were a part of BITEF programme. I believe that love which starts from the beginning will grow with every year.
Do not forget: the 53rd BITEF will open with Orestes in Mosul by Milo Rau, one of the greatest directors today. In addition to Belgrade theatres the productions of the main programme will take place also in alternative venues adapted for the 53rd BITEF.
With its support to BITEF I&F Group, partner of the festival, makes a present to Belgrade and theatre lovers for the third consecutive year. The cooperation was expanded this year and the Mc Cann Agency operating within I&F Group will creatively support the festival by offering it a new visual identity and promotional campaign.
It is a great honour for us to cooperate creatively with BITEF festival again. The well-known poster of the festival is in itself a small work of art and in that sense a true challenge for a creative agency, said Jana Savić Rastovac, the executive creative director at Mc Cann Belgrade.
There are over 50 remarkably good creative solutions from creative people in MC Cann agencies, of which there are 12 in the Adriatic and Nordic regions. It was interesting to see how this year’s festival theme is perceived by artists from different cultural milieus and how much we have in common in our different worlds. A jury made of 12 creative directors and the BITEF festival eventually singled out the idea which invites us to think in a very persuasive manner. We have in mind the visual design by Daniela Spaseva, a graphic designer at Mc Cann Agency in Skopje.
This year’s subject, The Disintegration of the Modern World, did not require any particular research because the modern world is happening to us. Materialisation and digitalization have done their thing and all that it took was just look deep into myself and the surroundings. The symbolism of knives came naturally as a very clear answer to what is happening to us - coldness among people, alienation at all levels, from family to partnership to political community, disintegration of humane ideals. Knives are a metaphor of all gatherings in all communities, such as they are today. The question is do we like all that is offered us, explained Daniela Spaseva, graphic designer of Mc Cann agency Skopje and the author of the poster for this year’s BITEF.
TICKET SALE AND RESERVATION
The tickets for all productions of the 53rd BITEF can be reserved from 15 August until 1 September. Tickets can be bought as of 2 September.
THE CLUB OF BITEF FRIENDS
The festival was supported also by the Embassy of Switzerland in Belgrade, the Embassy of Germany in Belgrade, Goethe Institut in Belgrade and Institut Français in Serbia. We offer our thanks to the festival’s oldest friend: Coca Cola Hellenic Serbia as well as to Telegroup, the leading domestic IT company supporting art by proclaiming IT is Art; Schweppes Company which is again with us and Societé Generale Serbia which joined us this year as a friend of the festival.
LET’S START LOVE FROM THE BEGINNING
SEE YOU AT THE 53RD BITEF!