The double 54th and 55th edition of Bitef will take place 13–25 September, under the slogan Edge of the Future. The main programme will consist of fourteen productions from ten countries.

bitef festival 2021

The Link Between Selection’s Thematic and Artistic Focuses

One of the festival’s focuses is posthumanism, i.e. the vision of a world that should be less anthropocentric. This vision was created also based on awareness of the global environmental crisis and the possible cataclysm – which are also festival themes. The aesthetic (formal) focus of the festival is closely related to the thematic focus: it dehumanises the bodies of performers in various ways, through choreographic processes, lighting and video effects, the absence of performers, their digital presence, and the use of robots and drones on stage. Projects that explore this artistic phenomenon dominate the latter half of the festival.

Performance Future Fortune, author: Dragana Bulut, photo: Dorothea Tuch

Choreographer Dragana Bulut first time at Bitef

One of the shows that explores the dehumanization of the performers’ bodies is the Future Fortune choreography, by prominent choreographer and author Dragana Bulut, which premiered on the stage of the Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) theatre in Berlin, and it was created with support from the Bitef Theatre programme for the independent scene. With the presence of a humanoid robot on stage, the production that started as the recreation of historical avant-garde (Karel Čapek’s R.U.R. where the term robot first appeared), is conceptually deconstructed and becomes a debate on the (in)ability to design and control our future.

Performance I Put a Spell on You, author: Ehsan Hemat, photo: Victor Malyshev

Iranian choreographer Ehsan Hemat for Bitef audience

In keeping with the same artistic line, the performance I Put a Spell on You, by internationally recognized Iranian choreographer Ehsan Hemat, is performed by three dancers from Iran, Belgium, and Japan, in a claustrophobic empty space, with robotized and mutually estranged movements. In conjunction with the supervision of the dancers by their fourth “partner”, a realistically present and active drone, such a choreography articulates one of the main problems of the modern world, the one that is becoming increasingly detached from humanistic deeds and turning to authoritarianism: technological and media control and manipulation. The participation of this choreography at Bitef is the result of the artistic team’s insistence that the festival also constantly invites non-European, non-Western theatre productions.

Reservations and sales of tickets

Due to the current epidemiological situation, reservations and sales of tickets for this year’s Bitef will start in the second half of August. Follow the Bitef website and social networks for more information.

The festival is traditionally supported by the City of Belgrade Secretariat for Culture and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, the Goethe Institute, and the French Institute in Serbia, with support from Teatroskop – the regional program for performing arts of the French Institute in Paris and the French Ministry of Culture. Once again, this year Bitef’s partner and a friend are I&F Group, within which the festival’s creative agency McCann Belgrade operates. The partners yet again are Erste Bank a.d. Novi Sad and long-standing friend of the festival Coca-Cola Hellenic Serbia.