The 56th Bitef will be held in Belgrade from 23rd September till 2nd October. The main programme will present nine performances by the leading European and international artists from Germany, Belgium, Mexico, France, Serbia, Slovenia, and Great Britain.
Performances from Slovenia or by Slovenian directors are, due to their artistic values, traditionally most often selected in Bitef programme among the productions from ex-Yugoslav region. At 53rd Bitef 2019, the production by Slovenian National Theatre Drama Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, directed by Sebastijan Horvat, won all the festival awards: Grand Prix Mira Trailović, “Politika” Award for Directing, and the Audience Award, while Horvat achieved the similar success last year (Grand Prix) with the performance Cement Belgrade, produced by Belgrade Drama Theatre.
At 56th Bitef, the audiences will have an exclusive opportunity to see two Slovenian directors of younger generation. Their work has already been awarded in Slovenia but, in an international context, they will be the “discovery” of 56th Bitef.
The production Solo (coproduction between Maska Ljubljana and Mladinsko Theatre), directed by Nina Rajić Kranjac, involves the director’s a personal professional reflection, her position in her line of work and theatre circumstances in Slovenia. Although other participants contributed with their own experiences (which makes the performance a sort of devised theatre) it retains its autobiographical character, mostly due to the fact that Nina herself plays in it (and masterfully so). Both she and other participants (professional actors) play in a free, improvising, and physical manner, with frequent changes in genre and style. It will be performed in the new, spectacular venue on the site of Luka Beograd.
After the cancellation of his performance Lungs last year due to the pandemic, the Bitef audiences will finally have an opportunity to get acquainted with Žiga Divjak’s work. The Slovenian Mladinsko Theatre and Maska Ljubljana production, Crises, will be premiered at this year’s Bitef. This performance is deliberately put at the end of the festival because it expands the topical frame of the main programme: it tackles not only the social issues related to work but also the philosophical phenomenon of crisis. The phenomenon is approached from various perspectives, where not only negative aspects are indicated but also the potentially stimulating ones, which means that, after a rather dismal programme, we still do offer light at the end of the tunnel.
The festival is traditionally supported by the Secretariat for Culture of the City of Belgrade and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, Goethe Institute, British Council, and the French Institute in Belgrade. The partner and friend of Bitef is, once again, I&F Grupa, and McCann Belgrade within it, the creative agency of the festival. The partners of the festival are Pošte Srbije and Generali Osiguranje Srbija, as well as the years-long friends Coca-Cola Hellenic Serbia.