New European Drama, 2011

A divide of epochs does not usually coincide with the turn of a century. Experience has proven that almost as a rule great scenic changes occur a couple of years earlier. On the stages of Europe, the turn of this millennium has been marked by the emergence of New European Drama, a phenomenon conceived in Great Britain sometime during the mid-nineties, which has then spread throughout Europe. The epoch of The Director’s Theatre has come to an end. The second half of the nineties has brought the writer to the centre of attention.
New European Drama emerges as a reaction of tpose who are creating it to the environment they live in: it is a reaction to the crushed illusions of dreams of a happy, united Europe; to the return of conservatism; to the all-destructive war on the Balkans; to the demolition of family values; to the consequences of Thatcherism in Great Britain…
| The International Small Scene Theatre Festival in Bijeka, the first to be held in the new millennium, has been conceived as some kind of resume of the past eight years of its existence. That is precisely why its focal point becomes New European Drama with a view on Croatian theatre as its reflection, in spite of the fact that such a reflection is still in embryonic form.
For the first time – if, for the occasion, we disregard the Biennale in Bonn -, the most acclaimed young European authors shall have a chance of coming together ata festival which will try to answer questions concerning the actual existence of a phenomenon that can be labelled as New Drama and if yes, what its characteristics might be. Can one speak of a movement that still need be certified or just of a number of playwrights scattered throughout Europe, from Ireland to Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, of playwrights that share no common grounds but merely write about what troubles them?
New European Drama is a scenic phenomenon which will, some day in the future, undoubtedly mark the turn of the century since its domination on stage has actually just begun. That is why this year’s Theatre Festival held in Rijeka has no ambition of offering final answers concerning the phenomenon, but it will gladly raise some new questions.
Jasen Boko