The Croatian State Theatre in Zagreb and Cultural Policy in the Period of the NDH 1941 - 1945

This paper explores the hitherto underexplored activity of the Zagreb theatre in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which served as a central point for the presentation of the regime’s arts and culture. The aim of the paper is to further explore the developmental tendencies of the closely monitored cultural politics in the Independent State of Croatia which placed the theatre high on the list of priorities of ostensibly authentic Croatian artistic expression. Numerous examples are listed in order to illustrate how, despite frequent spectacular performances and intense international cooperation, artistic freedoms were limited by the narrow principles of the Ustasha movement and the new “moral outlook of the Croatian people” that was valid at the time. The goal of this article can be summarised as an exploration of the complexity of theatrical activity conforming to the programmatic guidelines of the new “propaganda, education and morals” of the Ustasha state. In conclusion, the paper suggests an extremely important role for theatre as a crucial educational and propagandistic institution in NDH.

Snježana Banović

Snježana Banović

Snježana Banović is a theatre director, writer and full professor at the Department of Production of the Academy for Dramatic Art in Zagreb. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from the University of Zagreb. She published three books (State and its Theatre, Theatre of Crisis and Official Exit) with one more in preparation (Theatre for People). Her main interest is in the area of cultural management, national theatres, national festivals and public theatres in the context of history and cultural policy in Croatia and the EU and most of her work is focused on these topics. She publishes reviews, studies and articles in journals, newspapers and on-line publications and is a member of various Croatian and international cultural associations. She was appointed two times as head of the Cultural Committee for Theatre at the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and was Artistic manager for Drama of the Croatian National theatre in Zagreb.


Southeastern Europe