National Theatre of Republika Srpska

narodno pozoriste rs banja luka

The National Theatre of Republika Srpska in Banja Luka was established on September 2, 1930 as the National Theatre of the Vrbas bannate (later as the National Theatre of the Bosnian Krajina Region) and since then has been an important carrier of the development of the performing arts in the city and the entire region. The greatest credit for the establishment of the Theatre belongs to the first Viceroy of the Vrbas bannate. Mr. Svetislav Milosavljevic, whose vision and energy set the foundation of the mdern Banja Luka. The official premiere in the Theatre, with the speeches given by the Viceroy himself and high ranking officials, took place on October 18, 1930 and the repertoire included Nusic’s Hadzi Lojo, Hej Slaveni (Hey Slavs) and Svabic’s Povratak (Return). The golden Theatre period lasted until the end of 1960’s or the earthquake that hit Banja Luka.

A period of stagnation followed that, by the natural law of ups and down, has ended a couple of years ago. Theatre projects that have been implemented by the National Theatre of Republika Srpska hosted many directors from Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Nis as associates as well as a number of local and foreign actors, singers, set designers, costume designers, writers, etc. The cooperation with local playwrights whose works have been performed within the theatre repertoire is especially important.

Division of Yugoslavia and further division of Bosnia and Herzegovina into two entities have left Republika Srpska entity with only two professional theatres: Children’s Theatre and the National Theatre of Republika Srpska in Banja Luka. In some other towns in Republika Srpska there are amateur theatres and theater festivals that Banja Luka based National Theatre selflessly supports and there are also plans for establishing of the new professional theatres. One of the new t eaters, established with the help of the National Theatre of Republika Srpska, is the city theatre Badger.
Apart from the regular activities, the National Theatre is additionally engaged on the establishment of the Academy of Performing Arts and education of actors and lately it helps and encourages the TV stations in Republika Srpska to start producing feature program. On the land given by the City Municipality, in the period between August 1933 and September 1934, the building named the House of King Peter I the Great Liberator was built according to the plans of the project engineer Josif Goldner in which the Theater, Museum, Society “Zmijanje” and KAB were located, and since 1935 the National Library of the King Peter I the Great Liberator as well.

The Theatre building from 1934 is the representative public building with the elements of Bauhaus but with the retention of some of the features of neoclassicism. Today the National Theatre has 80 employees and within the ensemble, there are 26 drama artists. Plays are performed almost daily, and tickets are regularly sold out. One of the largest and the most visited cultural events in the city is the Theatre Fest that is annually held at the National Theatre of Rebublika Srpska with the participation of many local and foreign actors’ ensembles. Place and role of the Banja Luka professional theater (the only one in Republika Srpska, in addition to Children's Theater of RS", also in Banja Luka!), which has always been more than a city theater, its "position and vocation" to be a NATIONAL, certainly gave the new coordinates which definition should reflect the program, repertoire and any other aspirations of the local (and present) "theater fans".

Finally, there is AUDIENCE, essential and necessary corrective element, especially here, in the environment and time when reasoned, thorough and professionally verified theater critics are a "missing link". That is in short, "a picture frame" of the Theatre and Performing Arts today and here, in the new century and new millennium. We started many things; many are yet to come, regardless of the reluctant circumstances, and without waiting for "better times". For when we closely look into the past time, we will not find many periods in which conditions for creating art work were much better and easier than today.

Since the establishment of the National Theatre to his first premiere on 18th October 1930, less than fifty days had passed. Founded as the second national theatre in Bosnia and Herzegovina (after Sarajevo) it did not have enough time to establish and affirm itself the World War II started, the period of occupation and after that a challenging period of rehabilitation and restoration, different scarcities and traditional classification of the performing art as ‘luxury’.
And, again, without resignation, we notice that desiring plays, performance, faith and hope we face another challenge of obstacles and temptations. Luckily, we overcame them before, and will overcome again.

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