The side programme of Belgrade International Theatre Festival BITEFnew Theatrical Tendencies
For the last 17 years Bitef Polyphony exists within one of the most important theatre Festivals in the world, Belgrade International Theatre Festival/BITEF that celebrates this year 50 years of existence. CEDEUM (Centre for Drama in Education and Art), one of the founding originations of Bitef Polyphony, that has continued to develop it from year to year, introduced a significant chapter in designing side programmes, that has continuingly developed, and today, stands out as a concept that established the unique expression of BITEF's new theatrical tendencies.
Bitef Polyphony reveals, explores and presents the spaces of new theatrical tendencies that appear and develop through the engagement of theatre artists and other experts in collaborative work, primarily with young people in various areas and living fields of action, initiating changes and altering standard practices. Basic intention is to explore “new theatrical tendencies” in their origins, and the fact that there are numerous variations on research in this open and, mostly, marginalised field.
Bitef Polyphony is specially dedicated to burning issues of everyday life of young people, their growth, education, social integration, delicate questions and topics, the gap between generations, people, nations, cultures… but above all it is dedicated to permanent attempts to preserve continuity and to make grounds for mutual actions and discoveries important and valuable for life.
The first Bitef Polyphony took place at 34th Bitef, in 2000, with the support of European Cultural Foundation and Open Society Funds network from seven SEE countries. The topic of Bitef was Theatre and Evil, and Bitef Polyphony tackled the problem of violence, through the presentation and evaluation of the project Art for Social Change – Play Against Violence. The project was intended for artists and their role in working with young people under the crises, conflicts or war. Year after year, the Bitef Polyphony has been presenting different national, regional and international projects, providing a rich experience exchange via workshops, work presentations, performances, round tables and gatherings. Every Bitef Polyphony has been the inspiration and initiation of new actions and projects to become realized in the following Polyphony, thus forming a cyclic structure of continuous development. The author of the concept and long time editor of Bitef Polyphony is Ljubica Beljanski Ristic, the founder and former president of Cedeum. Since 2016. year a program Board was formed consisting of 7 members.
The name - Polyphony - is symbolically bound to the complex musical form and Bitef Polyphony is developing its layout like a musical composition through a specific structure of a cyclical organization and „feedback“. „Polyphony“ as a metaphor has become and continues to be its concept - different areas, authors, professions, generations, social categories… as well as subjects which emerge, come together, multiply, repeat, are rediscovered and introduced in a new form cultivating the principle of many voices, variations, counterpoints…
Bitef Polyphony continues its pursuit of polyphonic drama and theatre as a concept for the future and toys with counter pointing as a way of harmonizing and mutually complementing differences, disagreements, oppositions… But, most of all, it calls for action and reflection about the strength and power of the theatre to set in motion emotions, critical thought, to empower, to heal, to be responsible, to affect changes, to make the world better.
CEDEUM-Centre for Drama in Education and Arts is the program and executive producer of Bitef Polyphony in coproduction with Bitef Theater.
CEDEUM is the National Centre of Serbia in the International Association for Drama/Theatre and Education IDEA. In 2012 CEDEUM hosted the meeting of the regional network of IDEA- IDEA Europe, as part of the Bitef Polyphony Festival.