Bitef-Prologue will be organized at Bitef Theatre and on an open-air stage in Mira Trailović Square, where the official opening will be held, as well as the debate program and screening of the performances from the main program - with the strict implementation of health measures, measuring temperature, compulsory masks and maintaining physical distance. The diverse program, entitled Edge of the Future, will include theatre performances, professional and academic discussions and interviews, as well as meetings with theatre artists. Quite expectedly, the greatest attraction is the performance Uncanny Valley, directed by Stefan Kaegi, a coproduction of the Rimini Protokoll and the Munich Kammerspiele theatre companies, as well as theatre experiment by Geneva-based visual artist Simon Senn, Be Arielle F, produced by Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne and the author’s company.
At the press conference Bitef director Miloš Latinović pointed out the significance of Bitef-Prologue for theatre life, because it is the model through which the Bitef team wanted to show that continuity is possible even under pandemic conditions.
Artistic director Ivan Medenica spoke about the international support for Bitef, declaring that the greatest allies of the festival have always been representatives of the leading European theatre cultures. In presenting the side program of Bitef-Prologue, Medenica said that once again this year it is providing a broader artistic and social context to the moment when the festival is being realized, reexamining current cultural policies and management under pandemic conditions, as well as esthetic essence of theatrical art.
Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi thanked the Bitef team for their persistence and perseverance in organizing Bitef this year, adding that they keep setting new challenges for both theatre and society. In his words, this is the main reason why the EU Delegation to Serbia has supported the festival for the third time.
Goethe Institute Belgrade director Frank Baumann expressed his satisfaction that the Bitef audience will be able to enjoy excellent performances even in 2020, and that the Goethe Institute had contributed to the organizing of Bitef-Prologue by assisting in bringing in the Uncanny Valley production. Stating that the only performer in the play is a robot, he humorously commented that this meets all the pandemic health and safety measures.
Cultural Attaché with the Embassy of France in Belgrade Catherine Faudry pointed out the significance of Bitef in an international context, adding that the financing of culture and the models for its functioning under pandemic conditions are two important topics that will be discussed at this year’s Bitef.
Free side program at outdoor stage in Mira Trailović Square and live on the Bitef Festival YouTube channel
An international discussion, entitled Edge of the New Theatre Season, on systemic support of the theatre under pandemic conditions, will be held as part of the side program. The discussion will be moderated by Jelena Knežević and Aleksandar Brkić, and the participants will consist of local and international experts in the field of cultural policy and management: Florence Portelli, Deputy President of the Ile-de-France region in charge of culture, Ana Ilić, Senior Advisor to the Serbian Prime Minister for Cultural Industries, Prof. Milena Dragićević-Šešić, University of Arts in Belgrade Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Dubravka Vrgoč, head of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, Jug Radivojević, Director of the Belgrade Drama Theatre, and Marijana Cvetković, manager at the Station service for contemporary dance.
Also planned is another edition of the Philosophical Theatre, a program related to Bitef Festival and Bitef Theatre, within which Maja Pelević will talk to theorist and activist Svetlana Slapšak. Vera Konjović’s Waiting for BITEF book promotion, about Bitef on Film, a traditional part of the festival, will be held, as well as the presentation of the Polyphony program. The rich debate and discussion program of Bitef-Prologue will be rounded off by Ivan Medenica’s discussion with Prof. Erika Fischer-Lichte, one of the world’s leading theatrologists, on the topic of why there isn’t a digital theatre, but rather only live theatre.
With the aim of democratizing Bitef, the open-air stage will be used for the discussions, meetings with the authors and screening of performances from the main program. Admission is free, and in the event of rain, the program will be held at the Bitef Club. Once again, the tradition of cooperation with the festival media sponsor the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation (RTS) continues, and this year the premier performance of Uncanny Valley will be broadcast to viewers on RTS 2, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, 12 September.
Secure your tickets for Bitef and enjoy “live theatre” with discounts of 10% and 20% for online purchases
In light of the health and safety measures, the seating capacity of the audience has been reduced, but since theatre is a live experience, the Bitef team ensured additional performances: Uncanny Valley will be performed four times, and Be Arielle F will have three performances. Tickets for the Bitef-Prologue performances are still available. They can be purchased through the website https://festival.bitef.rs/ or booked by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +381 69 899 24 00. The price of a single ticket for each of the performances is RSD 2,000, while online reservations come with a discount of 10% to 20%. Admission to all the side program events is free.
The Festival has been traditionally supported by the City of Belgrade Secretariat for Culture, the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, and the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the Delegation of the EU in Serbia, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgrade, the Goethe Institute, the Embassy of Switzerland in Serbia, the French Institute in Belgrade, and the Open Society Foundations. Once again, this year the friend and sponsor of Bitef is I&F Group, which includes McCann Belgrade, the Festival’s creative agency. The partners of the festival are Erste Bank a.d. Novi Sad, and the long-standing friends are Coca-Cola HBC Serbia and MTS, Alma Quattro, the Bel Medic General Hospital, the Halo Creative Team, Mezestoran “Dvorište”, the “Zaokret” Club, Domaće Kiflice and Muffinstore.