The National Theatre in Belgrade Celebrated Its 153rd Anniversary with a Ceremonial Programme Held on the Main Stage

22 November 2021

On November 22 the National Theatre in Belgrade celebrated its 153rd anniversary with a ceremonial programme traditionally held at noon on the Main Stage during which numerous awards were presented with the mention of the nine premieres and the most significant events which took place within the past year. 

Acting General Manager Svetislav Bule Goncić congratulated to all the employees the 153rd anniversary of the National Theatre founded by Prince Mihailo in 1868. 

“This theatre is older than any of us and in reverence for this legacy we must do everything in our power to preserve the dignity and honour of this institution. Personal and private motives and interests should not be more important than the reasons for which this institution still exists!”, Goncić stressed. 

Goncić also said that it was the National Theatre’s task as “the biggest national theatre” to keep “the memory of the tradition, of its foundations”, and also a challenge to turn this tradition into “something new, something modern that will address young audience of today”. 

“The National Theatre Day is the day when we remember, but also when we prosper and improve ourselves. A day on which we feel humble, but also proud to be a part of the National Theatre”, Goncić said, reminding us that the National Theatre survived “many turbulent times, wars, political turmoil, revolutions.”

“It survived, first of all, thanks to our fellow performers, technicians and the staff, but also thanks to our faithful audience. And now, together with the whole world, it faces this new pandemic challenge. I believe that yet again we will overcome all the obstacles together, that we will endure in this new age and continue to live our lives and remain a stronghold of our cultural life and creativity”, Goncić stressed. 

The National Theatre Day was marked also by a ceremonial presentation of this Theatre annual awards and of “Raša Plaović” award for the best acting achievement on all Belgrade theatre stages in the season 2020/2021 and this year’s recipient is Miodrag Miki Krstović for his role of Miloš in “Cement Belgrade”, a play of the Belgrade Drama Theatre directed by Sebastian Horvat. 

The jury led by theatre critic Dragana Bošković stressed “the moderation, sincerity, accuracy and authenticity of the acting tools used by Miodrag Miki Krstović in his gradual portrayal of the character of Miloš”.  

“In the duodrama that makes the second part of the play, engaged in a gracious play with his partner, Milena Zupančič, Miodrag Miki Krstović managed to unrepeatably bring to life not only the end of a reasonable life of his character Miloš, but also the end of history, civilisation, evolution that perfected a human being in such way to be able to express himself through speech, reducing him to a bundle of nerves in which an emotion resides, recognised, and yet elusive”, it was stressed, among other things, in the jury announcement read by jury president Dragana Bošković.

Receiving the award, Krstović said with a smile that it would be more difficult for him now to play the part of Miloš bearing in mind all the high praises he has to live up to.

By the decision of the National Theatre Management Board, the Best Play Award to be given to a production from this theatre repertoire was won by “Wolves and Sheep”, a play by Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky directed by Egon Savin, which competed with other nine drama, opera and ballet premieres. 

Actors Olga Odanović, Aleksandar Đurica and Nikola Vujović received awards for the best individual artistic achievements in premiere plays, as well as ballet dancers and choreographers Sanja Ninković, Igor Pastor and Dejan Kolarov. 

A plaque for significant contribution to the National Theatre work was presented to Ballet Manager Konstantin Kostyukov who stressed the importance of a team work between the performers and all those who work behind the scene. 

A plaque was also presented to the Belgrade City Museum, whose Manager Jelena Medaković expressed her hope for continuation of good cooperation between the two cultural institutions. 

The Seal of the National Theatre which is, by the General Manager’s decision, awarded for a special contribution to the life and work of the National Theatre, was presented to: Olga Odanović, Miloš Dujaković, Jasmina Trumbetaš Petrović, Vera Čukić, Ashen Ataljanc, Borislav Balać, Slavko Stanković and Tanasije Uzunović. 

Numerous other awards and public commendations were presented at the ceremony to the staff members in all National Theatre departments. 

The National Theatre Day, November 22, was established in 1968, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this theatre. On that day in 1868, according to the new calendar, the first performance of the newly established National Theatre – “Djuradj Branković” by Karolj Obernjak was staged At the English Queen’s Inn. The first performance in the new building - “Prince Mihailo’s Post Mortem Glory” by Djordje Maletić – took place on October 30, 1869.