Anniversary of The Belgrade National Theatre

The Belgrade National Theatre celebrated its 143rd anniversary on November 22. The celebration included various exhibitions and presentations and The Demons, a novel by Dostoyevsky adapted for the stage, was premiered. The ceremony was also marked with the presentation of awards. The theatre manager, Božidar Đurović, said that the Friends of the National Theatre Club is to be founded with a view to expanding the circle of theatre lovers. The „Raša Plaović“ award, named after one of the best Serbian theatre actors of the 20th century, went to actress Nataša Ninković for her role in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. The award was established for the purpose of the affirmation of the highest values in the art of acting and the stimulation of creative efforts on the stage. It is presented for best acting achievements of the season in professional theatres in Belgrade.

An exhibition devoted to one of the best-known Serbian writers and novelists from the late 19th and early 20th century, Stevan Sremac, has been organized in cooperation with the National Museum in Nis, a town in southern Serbia, where Sremac lived for a long time.

A documentary on famous Czech film and theatre director Jiri Menzel, directed by eminent Serbian film director Puriša Đorđević, was premiered. The documentary shows Menzel preparing THE LOVE FOR THREE ORANGES, an opera composed by Sergei Prokofiev, which Menzel staged for the Belgrade National Theatre. That was not the first production he has put on the stage of the Belgrade National Theatre – several years ago, Menzel also directed THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR by William Shakespeare.

An exhibition of photographs of National Theatre artists, taken by Dina Jonsen and entitled HIDDEN BEAUTY, also forms part of the anniversary celebrations.

The adapted „Raša Plaović" auditorium, in which a plate with names of all the winners of the award bearing the great actor’s name was unveiled, was opened by the premiere of THE DEMONS, a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, put on stage and directed by Tatjana Mandić Rigonat.

The Belgrade National Theatre was founded in 1868. The first attempts at providing Belgrade with a permanent professional theatre date as early as from the 1840s. The first play put on stage in the Belgrade National Theatre, on 22 November 1868, was a historical play Đurađ Branković by Karol Obergnac. It was actually played in an inn, AT THE ENGLISH QUEEN’S, which was to house the national theatre for the following year.