Maribor Theatre Festival

(Redirected from Borštnik Theatre Festival)

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Festival Borštnikovo srečanje
Slovenska 27, SI-2000 Maribor
Phone386 (0) 2 250 6148, 386 (0) 2 250 6100
Aleš Novak, Artistic Director

Festival dates3.6.2024 - 16.6.2024

195A6518.jpgView of the Slovene National Theatre Maribor, the main venue of the 58th Maribor Theatre Festival, 2023. Author: Boštjan Lah

Every autumn since 1966, various Slovene theatres have gathered in Maribor for the Maribor Theatre Festival (known in Slovene as Borštnikovo srečanje). This prestigious event, organized by and held at the Slovene National Theatre Maribor, is the largest annual review of Slovene theatre production. The festival awards the Borštnik Ring Award, the highest accolade for theatre actors in Slovenia. Additionally, Borštnik Awards are bestowed for outstanding achievements in directing, acting, and other categories.


The festival took place for the first time in 1966 under the name Slovene Drama Week and was renamed the Borštnik Meeting in 1972 (today its Slovene name is still Festival Borštnikovo srečanje, but it has come to be known as the Maribor Theatre Festival in English). Prior to 1990, the festival was also held in other Slovene towns; in the 1990s, there were several unsuccessful attempts to move the festival from Maribor to Ljubljana. Until 1992, all professional Slovene theatres presented at least one production at the festival's competition program, with independent productions appearing only in the off-programme. Subsequently, the selection became more rigorous, including only the most representative theatre productions. The 1990s saw protests from numerous independent theatre producers and makers, arguing that with the festival's existing conceptually-closed orientation, it did not represent actual theatre production nor acknowledge the variety of aesthetics, poetics, approaches, and procedures.

On its 45th anniversary, the festival was reorganised and internationalised. In addition to selected Slovene performances by repertory theatres from Maribor, Ljubljana, Nova Gorica, Celje, Kranj, Ptuj, Koper, and Trieste, as well as by a few independent theatre producers, the festival's program featured international performances. A special showcase selection addressed international professionals who also participated in debates and symposia.

Since 1994, the selector of the festival has had a two-year mandate. The jury usually comprises four to five persons (critics, directors, writers, theorists, artists, etc.). The Borštnik Ring Award recipient is selected by a different jury.

The festival is named after Ignacij Borštnik (1858–1919), a director, actor, playwright, translator, and the founder of the Slovene artistic theatre. He was the first Slovene theatre director in the modern sense of the word and a master craftsman of the most demanding roles, especially from turn-of-the-century modernist realism.

Prometej Drama SNG Maribor Peter Giodani.jpgPrometheus: A Beautiful Apocalypse (Slovene National Theatre Maribor), selected for the competition program at the 59th Maribor Theatre Festival, 2024. Author: Peter Giodani


Each year, around 10 new performances are presented in the selected competition program of the Maribor Theatre Festival. These stagings compete for the following Borštnik Awards: best performance (Borštnik Grand Prix), best director, best actor, best young actor, and other achievements such as set design, costume design, lighting design, musical score, and other artistic categories, along with a special jury award. The award of the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia for the best performance in the previous season is also presented.

The accompanying non-competitive program consists of interesting performances from the previous season, often created by a younger generation of authors whose innovative approaches to creating performances challenge the established concepts and boundaries of theatre. Additionally, performances by international artists and theatre houses are included.

The Maribor Theatre Festival also presents the annual production of the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT), and it has recently started running an international student program.

Zene v testu Borstnik 2023.jpgWomen in dough (Žene v testu) (Slovenian National Theatre Drama Ljubljana), awarded by the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia for the best performance of the previous season, at the 58th Maribor Theatre Festival, 2023. Author: Boštjan Lah

0I6A2847.jpgYoung Theatre, introductory event, Maribor Theatre Festival 2023. Author: Boštjan Lah

International symposia and conferences

Each year, the festival cooperates closely with the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia in organizing conferences, symposia, round tables, workshops, seminars, and talks dedicated to relevant topics such as festival production, criticism, dramaturgy, archiving, and intercultural exchange. The festival has also hosted several international symposia and conferences, prepared with international partners such as the International Theatre Institute (ITI) and the international network of theatre critics AICT/IATC.


Digital collections (photo galleries) presenting outstanding authors (e.g., actors who won the Borštnik Ring Award) were compiled by the Slovenian Theatre Institute in collaboration with the institute Novi zato., Prodok teater TV, Slovene theatre houses and regional archives. Further digital galleries present some of the recent Grand Prix performances, referential documentary photos, video and audio excerpts which are accessible to the wider public on the - Slovene theatre portal.

See also

External links