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About us

This is our jubilee, TIBA Festival’s 10th birthday (the first “round” one!), but we still believe to be just at the beginning. For, the truth is, things have only just started happening, problems are only just being noticed and dealt with, ideas are being born, and the Festival is growing. It is getting more important.


And it all started back in 2003, when the TIBA Festival was established. Its founder is the Belgrade City Council, and the organizer is the Boško Buha Theater, which came up with an idea of the necessity of having an international festival of theaters for children and young people. After years of isolation, which had extreme consequences on the cultural life as well, the desire of the organizer was to enable the audience, as well as theater creators for young people, to get acquainted with contemporary theater for children and young people globally. Since then, every June in Belgrade, artists from Europe and all over the world get together and share and exchange their theater experiences. The first TIBA Festival also instituted the awards to be presented every year. An international jury presented the Grand Prix of the first TIBA to the production Henry V by the Mala Scena Theater from Zagreb, and the Special Award for new tendencies went to the Lutkovno gledališče from Ljubljana for its production Papageno’s Magic Flute. Very soon after the first Festival, certain thematic-conceptual shifts in our theaters for children could be noticed, which undoubtedly occurred as a response from our domestic creators to the tendencies in the European and world repertoire that we had the opportunity to see at TIBA.


At the 2nd TIBA Festival, selector Igor Bojović wanted to provide the audience with an insight in the diversity of repertoire policies on various European stages, so we had the opportunity to see productions based on motifs of classical fairytales and myths, but also non-verbal dance theater, and one especially important segment – productions for teenagers, dealing with provocative issues – death, breakup of families, problems of growing up. These productions encouraged domestic creators to introduce these socially-engaged, issue-dealing productions into their thematic-conceptual interests. The Grand Prix of the Festival went to a classical Russian story freshly interpreted by first-class artists – Kashtanka by Ekaterinburg Youth Theater, and the Special Award for new tendencies went to My Long Journey Home by NIE (New International Encounter).


The program of the 3rd TIBA was mostly based on productions of nonverbal theater, very popular in the world and pretty neglected here, both in theater for adults, and especially in theater for children and young people. Also, for the first time, we are having a production for the audience aged one to three. NIE Company was awarded Grand Prix for Half Past Remembered, in which director Alex Byrne uses clowns, songs, story-telling, animation, choir and movement. The Special Award went to Chiffonade by Carre Blanc, and Kiki and Bozo by Malo pozorište Duško Radović.


After three years of existence, TIBA is taking a more and more significant place in the calendars of domestic but also international theater festivals. The domestic audience now has more opportunities to see productions that break the fourth wall, for which the audiences do not sit on chairs but on pillows, and is no longer just a silent observer but also an active participant… The 4th TIBA, among other things, is remembered by The Little Mermaid by the Irish Big Telly Theatre, which was interpreted in the natural ambience of Andersen’s fairytale – in the water. And since TIBA has become the main meeting point for artists around the world, it also gave birth to an idea for a Serbian-Danish coproduction, for The Petrified Prince by Mark van de Velden, at Malo pozorište Duško Radović, which received the Grand Prix of the 4th TIBA Festival. The Special Award for new tendencies also went to a domestic production Alice by Boško Buha Theater. The same production also received a newly established Award for the most significant artistic achievement, awarded by the ASSITEJ jury, which it shared with Elephant and Crocodile by the Danish Corona La Balance Company.


The 5th TIBA gathered theaters from all over the world, and productions of completely different theater directions – from fairytales to issue-dealing theater, bringing forward an idea that in theater trends are not important – it is more important to tell a story in a right way. The Grand Prix of the Festival went to Consol Theater from Germany for Red, Red Shoes, the Special Award for new tendencies was not presented, and the Award for most significant artistic achievement went to Malo pozorište Duško Radović for The Little Prince.


Starting from the 6th TIBA Festival, selector Igor Bojović ceded this position to director Nikola Zavišić, who made the selection of foreign productions, and Staša Koprivica, who became the selector for the domestic program. The audience had the opportunity to see the famous Bulgarian puppeteers (Princess and the Dragon, Puppet Theater Sofia), productions using the most modern digital technologies to present their story (The Japanese garden, Compagnie T. P. O. from Italy, DRONTE, etc. by Krepsko from the Czech Republic), to classical theater. The selectors, however, agreed that the only criterion for the selection of productions should be the serious approach to dealing with theater for children, which, in the words of Staša Koprivica, became a rarity. The Grand Prix and the ASSITEJ jury Award went to The Story of a Family by Compagnie Rodisio from Italy, and the Special Award for new tendencies went to Dronte, etc, by the Krepsko Company.


On the 7th TIBA, both the foreign and the domestic selection were based on musical and dance theater, and it became evident that the trend of the season in contemporary theater for children and young people was the use of live music, dance and movement, with the words coming last. The language of these plays is much more universal than that of verbal communication, and thus much closer to younger generations. The awarded productions also belong to this theater direction – the Grand Prix and the ASSITEJ jury Award for most significant artistic achievement went to The African Fairytales by Dschungel Wien Company from Austria, the Special Award went to The Book of Wandering by Malo pozorište Duško Radović from Belgrade, and the ASSITEJ jury also awarded The Rhapsody for Giants by Trickster Theater from Switzerland.


In 2010, at the 8th TIBA Festival, all were gathered around an idea that theater can truly be an active participant in creating the future of the country we live in, i.e. the future of the little and the young audience that it speaks to. The subtitle Small forms – big contents speaks of the fact that theater needs just one good idea and plenty of creativity to present a clear image of the moment in which they are growing up. Productions presented at the 8th TIBA were not technically demanding or massive, there was no beautifying of the reality, and they all called out to the audience to take part in the dialogue and exchange of experiences. And the side program of TIBA, which then became an important segment of the Festival, supported this idea. Organized by the TIBA Festival, ASSITEJ Serbia, Kazališni Epicentar and the British Council, we had the International Forum of text writers “Dramaturgy Growing Up”, dedicated to the possibilities, practice, and techniques of developing theater writing for children and young people. Another very important practice started at this Festival was the “Socially responsible theater for children and young people” Seminar, dedicated to the exchange of experiences of theater artists and education employees, and the discussion on possibilities for more direct cooperation between these two institutions, having in mind that it is the cooperation between these two institutions that will help us reach the joint target group – children and young people. All three winning productions were socially engaged – the Grand prix went to Malo pozorište Duško Radović for The Awakening of Spring, the Special Award went to In the Labyrinth of Sexuality by the Poetic Theater for young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the ASSITEJ jury awarded The Lord of the Flies by the Boško Buha Theater.


The 9th TIBA continues the similar thematic-conceptual tendencies, and the Minimal GIANT is a logical sequel of Small forms – big contents. A Seminar dedicated to the cooperation between theaters and schools, “The process of mediation between theaters and schools”, following the previous year’s positive experience, received accreditation from the Education Ministry of the Republic of Serbia. We also set forth a goal of these seminars, which is for them to become regular in practice and to enable theater and education workers to deal with the problems of their students, i.e. audience, in a unique and well-designed way. The Grand Prix of the 9th TIBA was awarded to two productions – A Nightingale and the Chinese Emperor by National Theater Kikinda, and Tales from a Sea Journey by NIE Company, which also received the ASSITEJ Award for most significant artistic achievement. The Special Award for new tendencies went to In the Shadow of Hamlet by the Children’s Culture Center from Belgrade.


We have now reached the 10th TIBA which is yet to begin, and which will host theaters and companies from Israel, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia. After ten years of existence, TIBA has become a well-established festival nationwide, and to the surprise of many worldwide as well, even more so. This encourages us to move forward in the same pace and make theater for children and young people a little more visible on the culture map. Or a lot more visible. This is our goal.