Maribor Theatre Festival


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Contact info
Festival Borštnikovo srečanje
Slovenska 27, SI-2000 Maribor
Phone386 (0) 2 250 6227, 386 (0) 2 250 6100
Fax386 (0) 2 250 6228
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Organised bySlovene National Theatre Maribor
Festival dates15.10.2015 - 25.10.2015
14.10.2016 - 23.10.2016
20.10.2017 - 29.10.2017
19.10.2018 - 28.10.2018
Aleš Novak, Festival Director
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Daša Šprinčnik, Producer and Public Relations
Phone386 (0) 2 250 6148, 386 (0) 31 342 178
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Špela Lešnik, International Programme Producer
Phone386 (0) 41 743 485
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Borštnik Theatre Festival - 2010 - 16.jpg

Every Autumn since 1966, various Slovene theatres have met in Maribor at the Maribor Theatre Festival (its Slovene name being Boršnikovo srečanje), organised by and held at the Slovene National Theatre Maribor. This most prestigious theatre event is the largest annual review of Slovene theatre production. The festival awards the Borštnik Ring, the highest accolade for theatre actors in Slovenia, further Borštnik Awards are bestowed for best achievements in directing, acting, set design, etc.

On its 45th anniversary the festival was reorganised and internationalised. In addition to the 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 programme features also international performances. A special Showcase selection is addressed to international professionals who participate also in debates and symposia.

Since 2011 the festival publishes a Contemporary European Drama collection, till now it comprises a number of selected cutting edge Slovak, Czech, Dutch, Spanish and Polish pieces translated into Slovenian.


The festival took place for the first time in 1966 under the name Slovene Drama Week and was re-named Borštnik Meeting in 1972 (today its Slovene name still being Boršnikovo srečanje, but it has lately 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 90s 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 programme, 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 the protest of numerous independent theatre producers and makers, arguing that with the festival's existing conceptually-closed orientation, it did not present the actual theatre production nor acknowledge the variety of aesthetics, poetics, approaches, and procedures.

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

The festival is named after Ignacij Borštnik (1858–1919), 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.


Each year, around 10 new performances are presented in the selected competition programme of the Maribor Theatre Festival (recent selectors were Gregor Butala, Primož Jesenko, Amelia Kraigher and Petra Vidali). These stagings compete for the following awards: best performance, best director, best actor, best young actor, other achievements (set design, costume design, light design, musical score, and other artistic categories), plus a special jury award, and the Dominik Smole Award, awarded for best original dramatic text or best translation, dramatisation, or adaptation. At the festival an award of the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia for best performance is presented, too.

Along with an accompanying non-competitive programme consisting of interesting performances of the previous season, a selector and the festival director select also a dozen of Slovene performances for the Showcase for international professionals. The Bridges section presents invited international performances.

Maribor Theatre Festival presents also the annual young production of the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT).

International symposia and conferences

In 2014 the conference programme was dedicated to the opus of Vitomil Zupan, the Silent Character(s) in Dramatic Literature, on Stage and in Reality, and the Theatre of Resistance, in 2013 the EX:pert Table on media and culture was organised, and an international conference on theatre archives organised by the Centre for Theatre and Film Studies, Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT). In 2012 the 4+4+4 Contributions on the Visions of Theatre were presented at the Vetrinjski dvor, the Literature in the Streets programme was presented in Maribor as well as in the partner cities of the Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012.

In 2011 the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia organised the symposium How Much Politics, How Much Fascism?, Maribor Theatre Festival hosted the 6th research workshop of the European Festivals Research Project (EFRP) to tackle the issues concerning artistic festivals and continuously operating cultural organizations. Young theatre critics from around the world were invited to Maribor to engage in critical writing at the Young Critics’ Seminar.

In 2010 the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia co-organised in collaboration with the international network of theatre critics AICT/IATC a conference on Inter-Criticism. The International Theatre Institute (ITI) prepared a symposium on Dramaturgy Between the Reality and Vision: Role of Dramaturgy – The Key for Theatre-making Process.

In 2009 the festival hosted the first two international symposia, namely, Art, Culture, City, organised by the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia, which focused on the role of the city in the context of its artistic production, highlighting the forthcoming project Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012, and the symposium co-organised with the Slovene Centre of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) entitled The Intertwining of the Festivals of the Western Balkans, featuring 15 international panelists.


Digital collections (photo galleries) presenting outstanding authors (e.g. Alenka Bartl, a costume designer, and actors who won the Borštnik Ring award) were compiled by the Slovenian Theatre Institute in collaboration with Novi zato, Prodok teater TV, Slovene theatre houses and regional archives. Further digital galleries present some recent Grand Prix performances, referential documentary photos, video and audio excerpts thus being accessible to wide public on the - Slovene theatre portal.

Contemporary European Drama book collection

The Focus programme section devotes special attention to playwriting and theatre of a selected country. In 2011 it was the Slovak drama and theatre: three contemporary Slovak plays were published in Slovene language. In 2012 the Contemporary Czech Drama translations were published, in 2013 the Contemporary Dutch Drama featured the four plays selected by the two Dutch experts, while in 2014 the Focus Spain resulted in the Contemporary Drama in Spain, edited by Alja Predan.

See also

External links


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