Yugoslav Drama Theatre in Belgrade is one of the biggest and most representative repertory theatres of former Yugoslavia with a great number of awards at local and international theatre festivals – more than 250 since 2001 alone. Since the launch, in 1947, the working principles have remained unaltered: the best actors and the best directors are hired for the productions of classical and contemporary plays. Bojan Stupica, the theatre’s first director, defined YDT’s repertoire strategy as one strongly oriented towards works of the highest literary level. Directors at Yugoslav Drama Theatre always stood out for their new and inventive interpretations of the world classics and national dramaturgy, through which they were changing the notion of theatre in our country. During the 1980s, Artistic Director Jovan Ćirilov oriented the theatre’s profile toward a more modern scenic expression, by taking on a “new approach to classics”. The theatre has also collaborated with a number of acknowledged international directors to stage productions. Even at a time of great social turmoil, Yugoslav Drama Theatre welcomed significant works by contemporary writers from ex-Yugoslavia, as well as directors from this region. The reputation of YDT has been confirmed not only in the country, but also on tours abroad, from the very beginning at the Théâtre des Nations in Paris (Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt), in 1954 and 1955, as well as in 1956 in Moscow, Leningrad St. Petersburg), Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod) and Kiev. During more than half a century, YDT often gave guest performances abroad, visiting Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, Madrid, Athens, Bratislava, Bucharest, Thessaloniki, Strasbourg, Toronto, Wiesbaden, Tampere, Sofia, Nancy, Rome, Warsaw, Torun, Nice, Bonn, Bogota, Guadalajara, San José (Costa Rica), Beijing, Shanghai, etc. Some of the most significant events in YDT include the arrival of Jean-Paul Sartre to the Yugoslav premiere of The Condemned of Altona, in 1959, followed by the world premiere of Slavomir Mrozek’s play Tango in 1964, and the guest performances given by the MHAT, the Comédie-Française, the Piccolo Teatro of Milan, the Barrault-Renaud ensemble, the Théâtre National Populaire with Jean Vilar and Gérard Phillipe and others. Robert Wilson had his guest performances, the last one being performed in 2014. The theatre has been visited by many prominent figures: Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, Sir Ronald Harwood, Heiner Müller, to name just a few. In 1997, YDT burned to the ground and the new theatre building opened in 2003. YDT has three stages: Ljuba Tadić Main Stage, Bojan Stupica Stage (currently closed for renovation), and Studio JDP – a chamber theatre for experiments based on dramatic texts. Yugoslav Drama Theatre is a member of UTE – Union of the European Theatres – since 2006, in collaboration with which it has conceived and implemented several European projects as well as a number of regional co-productions.
Union des Théâtres de l'Europe gathered, in the last 3 decades, some of the most important European theatres and artists. Through festivals, exhibitions, exchanges, masterclasses, cooperation projects, the UTE help create a continuous flow between West and East, between generations, between tradition and innovation. Our celebration is inspired by this rich history. With the help of the Interferences International Theatre Festival, we wish to remember some of the best performances presented at past editions of the UTE festival and look forward to new horizons.