Rand Lecture: Serbian Director Nikita Milivojević
December 2, 2016
UMass Amherst Campus
Highly acclaimed Serbian stage director Nikita Milivojević delivers this year's Rand Lecture. He will be on campus directing the premiere of “Refugee,” a play that loosely traces Draga Dragicevich’s 7-year sojourn as a displaced person, beginning at the El Shatt refugee camp on Egypt’s Sinai desert.
Milivojević has been at the forefront of the most impactful and innovative theater making across Europe and the Middle East over the last three decades. Besides "bringing Serbian theater into a new century" (as noted by the artistic director of Belgrade's famed BITEF theater festival), Nikita has developed and directed productions in Greece, Turkey, Sweden, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Albania, Cyprus, Macedonia and England--where his adaptation and direction of Shakespeare’s “Henry VI” at the Globe Theater in London (2012) won critical kudos for its daring and imaginative staging.
Moreover, in a cultural, political, and historical context, Milivojević has experienced first-hand many of the themes and issues that “Refugee” explores: displacement, exodus, economic sanctions, the collapse of a nation's infrastructure--and perhaps most importantly, of its sense of a hopeful future. As Milivojević has noted, over 500,000 young people left Serbia during the tumultuous and bleak decade of the 1990s.
Milivojević has made theater in a time of war, sanctions, civil unrest and strife. These experiences shape not only his theater aesthetic but also his outlook on the world and the ways he builds new communities through theater. He is part of the “revival” of Serbia, striving to break that country’s isolation by building bridges with international partners. This is one reason he conceived, organized, and spearheaded the first international Shakespeare festival in Serbia in 2015, the Itaka Shakespeare Festival at Čortanovci.