The jubilee 20th festival saw performances by the host Popular Theatre of the Croatian Reading Room of Hercegovac, the Orašje Municipal Theatre, the Croatian Amateur Theatre of Travnik, the Hrvatski Židan theatre troupe from Hungary, the Bunjevac-Croatian Culture & Arts Society of Lemeš from Vojvodina, and the Picolo Theatre of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar. A workshop was held in the frame of the festival for all stage participants led by Zagreb stage director Nina Kleflin.

The Days of Popular Theatre international amateur stage festival gathered Croatian amateur theatre troupes from Croatia and abroad that nurture the Croatian language through dramatic arts expression on February 28th and March 1st. The festival is organised by the Croatian Reading Room of Hercegovac with the help of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, which has consistently and faithfully supported this festival from its founding. The event was held under the patronage of the Croatian Ministry of Culture, Bjelovar-Bilogora County and the Municipality of Hercegovac.
Joining the many leading public and society figures of the county and the Municipality of Hercegovac was Croatian Heritage Foundation director Marin Knezović. He spoke of the great significance of this theatre festival in Hercegovac. “Theatre emerged from the need of people to create a form of spiritual togetherness. It is not only a togetherness of actors, those on the stage, but also that of the viewing audience. It is precisely this capacity of the theatre to create togetherness that drew the CHF, as this event serves as a conduit to achieving our important mission of creating togetherness between our country, Croatians in Croatia with Croatians living outside the country. The CHF has supported this festival for twenty years, and will continue to do so. I am confident that the festival will continue to progress,” said CHF director Knezović in Hercegovac. The event was declared official open by County Prefect Damir Bajs.
Thunderous applause for each of the six performances was the greatest reward for the actors and confirmation of the success of all the stage appearances. Performing on the stage of the Croatian Peasants’ Civic Centre along with the hosts (the Popular Theatre of the Croatian Reading Room of Hercegovac staged Vidimo se u Den Haagu (See You in Den Haag)) were two troupes from Bosnia-Herzegovina (the Orašje Municipal Theatre delighted the audience with a very professional adaptation of the play Traži se novi suprug (New Spouse Wanted), while the Croatian Amateur Theatre of Travnik performed Ćorkan i Švabica (Ćorkan and the German Lady)). The visiting Hrvatski Židan theatre troupe from Hungary played Koliko smo to smo (However Much We Are Is As Much As We Are), the Bunjevac-Croatian Culture & Arts Society of Lemeš from Vojvodina performed Tri put Bog pomaže (God Helps Thrice), and the Picolo Theatre of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar performed Kidaj od svoje žene (Ray Cooney’s Run For Your Wife). A workshop was held in the frame of the festival for all stage participants led by prominent Zagreb stage director Nina Kleflin.

Text and photos by: Nada Koturić