East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP) supports the
development of contemporary performing arts (dance and theatre)
in 18 countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Bitef theatre, Serbia

Sylwia Śmigiel
Anđelka Janković , program coordinator: e - mail: [email protected], phone: +381 11 33 46 160, fax: +381 11 32 36 234, mob/cell: +381 69 899 24 01


Information about institution: 

Bitef theater is an avant-garde theater situated in a picturesque reconstructed evangelical church at the heart of Dorćol.

Ever since its foundation in 1989, the idea of the theater has been to spread the influence of the Bitef festival, which is to reveal new theater trends and provide a space for artists whose work represents a step out of the traditional and established boundaries of stage expression. Paying particular attention to theater of movement, contemporary dance but also the latest local and international plays, Bitef is a theater with a repertoire developing in many directions.

Organized according to the model of modern European theaters, Bitef has no full time artistic ensemble and directors, actors, writers, dancers, musicians and producers are only engaged for the duration of certain projects. This model has been proven to be the most efficient way to operate the theater.

A small number of select people are employed by the theater. These people work with organizing the Bitef festival and concurrently perform technical and logistical service for the artists working in the theater during the season.

Theatre director: Jelena Kajgo. Essential personnel: Andelka Jankowić – programme manager, producer, Marija Janković – ballet pedagogue, Milica Pisić, Nevena Javanović, Ana Ignjatović Zagorac, Miloš Isailović, Strahinja Lacković, Nikola Tomašević, Luka Lukić – dancers.

Apart from producing shows, the theater facilitates education through holding various seminars, workshops and table discussions. For this reason Bitef maintains a constant development, and is open to the most diverse kinds of new, fresh, brave and different stage expressions.

During the last two theatre seasons, Bitef has been defining its repertoire to contain primarily dance and physical theatre whilst also leaving adequate room for the development of diverse, borderline theatre productions which bring together musical or experimental dramatic theatre.

One of the most significant aspects of the development of dance theatre within Bitef has been the founding and development of The Bitef Dance Company, the first professional troupe in Belgrade based in an institution of culture.

During its two years of existence, The Bitef Dance Company has produced no less than nine dance productions, performed numerous guest appearances in the region, and collaborated with some of the most eminent domestic and international choreographers – such as Isidora Stanišić, Zoran Marković, Maša Kolar (Croatia), Guy Weizman and Roni Haver (Israel), as well as Matjaž Farič, Branko Potočan, Edward Clug (Slovenia), Kjersti Müller (Norway), and Snježana Abramović (Croatia).

The work of the company incorporates daily classical training under the guidance of the ballet pedagogue Marija Janković, as well as training in contemporary dance techniques and daily work on new and diverse theatre productions.

Important projects:


It’s hard for the theatre to point out their most important projects, but the development of the  contemporary dance scene with the respective acts successes and publicity is for them their most important accomplishment.

  • “Myrrh and Cinnamon” - choreography - Guy Weizman and Roni Haver (Israel), music - Arvo Pärt, Lepo Sumera, Mart-Matis Lill, Erkki-Sven Tüür, scenography - Ascon de Nijs, costume - Slavna Martinović.

The performance “Myrrh and Cinnamon” is inspired by the well-known Old Testament poem “Song of Songs” as well as various aspects and manifestations of love. It is gentle, cruel, aggressive and poetic.

  • “Othello” (co-production Bitef theatre and Budva City Theatre) - choreography – Zoran Marković i Maša Kolar, music - Lajko Felix, Koncert 98, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alvo Nota, Trioon Vol II, set design and costume - Angelina Atlagić.

Othello when the party’s over? Dance over? Game over? Othello’s characteristically tragic plot, more a consequence of intrigue and coincidence then hubris-induced damnation of the main characters, treated with a purified approach to dance theatre, apostrophizes passion, reading into it at the same time some contemporary symbols.

  • “Unsent greeting Card” - choreography – Matjaž Farič, music  - The band “Beirut”, costume - Dejana Vučićević.
  • “Heroes Have Danced” - choreography - Branko Potočan, music – song motifs, costume - Dejana Vučićević. Premiere:  2nd of March 2011, Bitef theatre.
  • “Alpha Boys”- concept and choreography - Guy Weizman & Roni Haver Roni Haver, music: Elad Cohen Bonen, musical contribution - Jens Bouttery, dramaturgy - Veerle van Overloop, scenography - Ascon de Nijs, costume - Slavna Martinović, lighting design - Wil Frikken, choreographers’ assistants - Dunja Jocić and Jorge Morro, dancers of the Bitef Dance Company - Đorđe Makarević, Luka Lukić, Milica Pisić, Nikola Tomašević, Strahinja Lacković, Uroš Petronijević, musicians - Žarko Andrejić, Bojana Račić, ballet pedagogue: Marija Janković.

Premiere: Bitef theatre, 28th April 2011. Alpha Boys was originally produced by Club Guy & Roni. Co produced by Grand Theatre Groningen.

“Alpha Boys” based on the Language of Walls, originally created for women. This new version is performed mostly by MEN!

Alpha Boys portrays the story of a band of seven men hanging around in a bar and their dream of one day breaking through. Until that day arrives, this band of anti-heroes is dealing with the joy of maturing and waking up from their college dreams. As an experiment in trespassing gender barriers, Alpha Boys is a wonderful chance to see the freedom men discover when allowed to walk around with red pumps and blond wigs.

With all clichés involved: football, alcohol, and a cupboard, the performance seeks to explore the concept of the new metro-sexual man. These guys will do a lot for you to like them. Self-respect and shame were left behind when they stepped into their realm.

  • Divine Comedy -  concept and choreography - Edward King (Edward Clug), music - Borut Kržišnik and Milko Lazar, costume Designer - Maja Mirković, assistant of the costume designer - Biljana Tegeltija Bojanić,  the concept of scene: Edward King (Edward Clug), lighting design: Edward King (Edward Clug), dancers of Bitef Dance Company - Nikola Tomasević, Strahinja Lacković, Miloš Isilović, Uroš Petronijević, Ana Ignjatović Zagorac, Nevena Jovanović, Milica Jević, guest - Ašhen Ataljanc, alternative dancers: Nemanja Naumoski, Miona Petrović. 

Premiere: 7th August 2011 The theatre City  Budva, 14th October 2011 Bitef theater, Belgrade. Co-production of Bitef Theater and The theatre City  Budva.

  • “If Everyone Could Hush Down a Bit” - concept and choreography: Snježana Abramović Milković, coreographer’s assistant: Ognjen Vučinić, music: Uroš Petković, costume designers: Maja Mirković i Biljana Tegetlija, video design: Dorijan Kolundžija, lightning design: Milan Tvrdišić, video designer’s assistant: Filip Mikić, dancers of the Bitef Dance Company: Ana Ignjatović Zagorac, Luka Lukić, Milica Pisić, Miloš Isailović, Miona Petrović, Nemanja Naumoski, Nevena Jovanović, Nikola Tomašević, Sanja Ninković, Strahinja Lacković, guest - Ašhen Ataljanc,   alternations: Uroš Petronijević i Ana Đurić, ballet pedagogue: Marija Janković

Co-production Bitef theatre and Bitef festival. Premiere: 45. Bitef festival, 15. september 2011.
Photography: Jelena Janković, organization: Danka Milenković.

Objectives: Bitef Dance Company was formed due to the lack of performances of contemporary dance in Serbia and its dancers have secured an elite dance troupe for Belgrade whose mission is to promote contemporary dance in Serbia as well as to make guest appearances in the region and on the European dance scene.

International cooperation:
The two most significant Bitef international projects have been the organization of the Bitef festival, and the ENPARTS project.

This year, the 45th Bitef festival took place, and its programme’s primary purpose is to invite the most renowned foreign troupes and artists to present productions previously chosen by the selectors to be representative under the “new theatre tendencies” slogan. The side programme offers a chance to many foreign artists and experts to diversely express themselves in order to communicate their experiences and knowledge. For more details see: www.bitef.rs

Bitef is a part of Programme Culture 2007-2013 as co-organizer of the ENPARTS project which was chosen during the initial bidding. ENPARTS is a project which aims to ensure permanent cooperation with the most representative European institutions of performing arts.  It is an experimental five-year-long project which supports new forms of expression and encourages artistic co-productions. Leading beneficiary: La Biennale di Venezia (Italy). Co-organizers: Bitef Theatre (Serbia), Dance Umbrella (UK), Musicadhoy (Spain), Musik der Jahrhunderte (Germany) and Berliner Festspiele: spielzeit’e europa (Germany) and Dansens hus (Sweden). For more details see: http://www.labiennale.org/en/enparts/home.html  

Bitef festival important awards: Since its establishment, Bitef has managed to preserve its place in the family of major international festivals. For its continuity and quality, Bitef was awarded the Special Prize for 1999 by "Premio Europa per il teatro".


Bitef Festival - every year Bitef publishes a festival catalogue and bulletins. The catalogue offers a critical presentation of the festival as a whole and is available for sale immediately before opening of the festival. The Bitef bulletin is published every day and describes the current events. 

Much has been written about Bitef, and in many languages. Of special note, however, is the monograph “BITEF - 40 Years of the New Theatrical Tendencies” (“Documents of Belgrade International Theatre Festival, 1967 – 2006”) published by the Historical Archives of Belgrade and “Studio of Natalia Vagapova” in Serbian and Russian language.

For Bitef theatre - Bitef Dance Company 2009-2011. Publication about everything that has been done in the past 2 years since the BDC was owned.