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Slovenian National Theatre - Drama

Author: Tea Knaflič

Date: 19. August 2020

Time to read: 4 min

The Slovenian National Theatre Drama is situated in the city-centre of Ljubljana, which places it at the heart of Slovenia's social and cultural events.

Ljubljana's vibrant cultural pulse is reflected every day through various events, such as musical and cultural performances, exhibitions, expert lectures, literary competitions and book clubs. The Slovenian National Theatre Drama Ljubljana has an important role in the Slovenian cultural mosaic. 

Drama through time

The building of today's Drama theatre was designed by the Viennese architect Alexander Graf in 1909. First construction works began in October 1910 and only a year later the first theatre performance took place. On opening night on 4 October 1910, Richard Wagner's Kaisermarsch reverberated through the building. Habsbourg was the first play to ever be performed in the theatre. It was written by the Austrian playwright, theatre director and writer Baron Alfred Berger.

The first play to ever be performed in the Slovenian language was Tugomer. It was written by Josip Jurčič and Fran Levstik and is also known as the first Slovenian tragedy.

In all those years, the building was renovated a few times and somewhat enlarged according to a design by the Slovenian architect Dušan Medved, who included the fundamental ideas of his predecessor, architect Josip Černivec.

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A wide range of performances

Every year, Drama carefully selects a repertoire of the most topical works by Slovenian and foreign authors.

The performances often reflect topical issues currently faced by society, including polemical ones. The best performances prompt an individual to self-reflect and think, which has always been the primary role of theatre.

The Drama theatre company consists of 43 brilliant actors, recipients of numerous Slovenian and international awards.

In Slovenia, their faces are also well known from television screens and cinemas. The company is led by the Director of the SNT Drama Ljubljana, Igor Samobor, who has received a number of the highest awards for his roles.

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2020 – a challenging year

For the Slovenian National Theatre Drama Ljubljana, 2020 has been a year of trials. Due to the coronavirus, the theatre season was abruptly interrupted in spring. Many performances, premieres, tours abroad, the 7th Drama Festival and the Šugman Award ceremony for best performance according to the audience were cancelled.

Director of the SNT Drama Ljubljana Igor Samobor explains the interdependence of theatre and its audience:

"...Theatre evolved from a ritual, its purpose has always been seeking answers to unsolved questions of our soul, nature, society that surrounds us or our relations.

The essence of the ritual is seeking those answers together, in close conjunction. The purpose of the carnival was a joint discovery, a joint deliverance, a personal or a joint catharsis". He concludes his thought with a bitter reality that due to the coronavirus: "This interlacement of opinions, feelings and stories is now interrupted".

Social and global issues remain and, according to the Director of the SNT Drama Ljubljana, are only further deepened by the coronavirus. He also notes, "The purpose of the theatre is not to moralise or try to repair the world.

Thespians are translators of the world into a stage language".

The way forward

"This might be the time to choose a different perspective. To consider what are our main priorities in life. Everyone knows the expression 'Is the glass half full or half empty?' We have become used to looking at a half-empty glass.

The true challenge of this crisis might be to start seeing things from a different perspective, or at least try to – the glass is half full."

Although some changes have been announced, Director Igor Samobor remains optimistic about the coming theatre season and promises that all creators will strive to look at the world from a glass-half-full perspective.

An invitation

A good theatre performance uncovers the blind spot of humanity while discovering its essence, undoubtedly proving to be a gift to society. Reward yourself.

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