Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Special Issue

Theatre, City and Crisis: Some Aspects of Performing Arts in Serbia in the 1990s

  • Irena Šentevska
This paper discusses a specific point of response by Serbian theatre production to the social, political, economic and moral crisis of the 1990s (which includes Serbia’s involvement in the armed conflicts in former Yugoslavia) – namely, different modes of engaging with urban spaces as performance venues. The analysis is based on an in-depth study of the theatre production in Serbia (and Montenegro) in the 1990s, especially as a medium of artistic reflection of the social reality. Against the background of a state of permanent social crisis, which may be traced back to the late 1980s (the late socialist period in Yugoslavia), this study explores the points of closest encounter between the theatre and the city, identifying four basic models of such interaction in this particular social context. It argues for a more nuanced understanding of the social use of theatre, hoping to reach a more universal level of discussion as to how theatre responds to extreme situations of social crisis with its complex arsenal of expressive means.