Martina Petranović

Theatre under the Bombs. Destruction of Theatre Buildings during the Croatian War of Independence

The aim of the paper is to discuss the destruction of Croatian theatres during the Croatian War of Independence when several Croatian theatres/theatre buildings were attacked and bombed, and consequently more or less severely damaged. Some of the damaged theatres include, for example, the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek, the Children’s Theatre Branko Mihaljević in Osijek, the National Theatre in Šibenik, and the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. The paper will also take into consideration the bombing of the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb, the influence of the bombing on the international Dance Week Festival in Zagreb and the Festival of Croatian Puppeteers and Puppet Theatres in Osijek, the damages of several performance venues in Dubrovnik, the destruction of theatre archive in Dubrovnik, and various theatre productions organized in favour of the damaged theatres and wounded or deceased theatre artists. The paper will also refer to the exhibition of the destroyed Croatian theatres in Prague Quadrennial 1995 which won the special award.

The aim of the paper is to present the damaged theatres, the nature of the damages and the consequences of the damages on theatre production in the mentioned theatres and cities; to trace the process of theatre reconstruction; to study the reactions of each attacked theatre, its ensemble and audience (number of opening nights, nature of the repertoire, process of creation and reception, guest actors, singers, directors and other artists, (re)locations of the performances, types of audience, theatre exhibitions…) and the reactions and various types of support (financial, artistic, moral…) provided by other Croatian theatres; and last but not least, to explore the symbolic potential of theatre productions, theatre buildings and theatre in general in the creation (or annihilation) of national culture, history and individual or collective identities in the context of war.


Martina Petranović is research associate at the Division for the History of the Croatian Theatre, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb. PhD in Theatre Studies (2010), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia. Co-author of 100 godina hrvatske scenografije i kostimografije 1909.-2009. (100 Years of Croatian Set Design and Costume Design 1909.-2009.) (ULUPUH, Zagreb 2011.) with Ivana Bakal and Ana Lederer, and co-author of Repertoar hrvatskih kazališta, knjiga 5 – Deskriptivna obrada važnijih predstava na hrvatskom jeziku i izvedbi na stranim jezicima hrvatskih izvođača do 1840. (Repertoire of Croatian Theatres, book 5 – Descriptive Analysis of Performances in Croatian or by Croatian Performers in Foreign Languages till 1840. (HAZU, AGM, Zagreb 2012.) with Lucija Ljubić. Author of Na sceni i oko nje (On Stage and Around It) (Oksimoron, Osijek 2013.), Prepoznatljivo svoja – kostimografkinja Ika Škomrlj (Recognizably different – costume designer Ika Škomrlj) (ULUPUH, Zagreb 2014.), and Od kostima do kostimografije. Hrvatska kazališna kostimografija (From costume to costume design. Croatian costume design) (ULUPUH, Zagreb 2015.). Research interests: theatre set and costume design, contemporary Croatian drama and theatre, theatre historiography.