Zagreb City Theater Žar ptica (engl. firebird) held press conference presenting the project against bullying #naNAJjače and the 20th anniversary of the International Children’s Theater Festival on January 28, 2020.
– Theater, especially that for children, must have a significant place in the community and share responsibility in the upbringing and all the challenges of childhood. Theater Žar ptica, therefore, dedicates the 2019/20 season to combating peer violence. It all started by putting on the repertoire socially engaged play “If You Say, You’re Done!” by Dina Vukelić, directed by Krešimir Dolenčić, about the youth problem with peer violence. It has grown into a comprehensive project. So this year’s special, jubilee edition of the International Children’s Theater Naj, Naj, Naj Festival (26.2.-1.3.) is an integral part of this great project. All performances will be of a danating character, and in a few terms, workshops for children and parents will be held, led by psychologists from the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center. All ticket revenue goes to peer violence projects in six elementary schools across Croatia (from Gospić, Kamenica, Županja, Glina, Zadar and Metković). I am sure that through Naj, Naj Festival, that has positioned itself in the past 19 years as an indispensable place on the map of cultural events for children, the project against violence will most strongly resound – said Drago Utješanović, Director of the City Theater Žar ptica, Project Developer and Director of the 20th Naj, Naj, Naj Festival.
– In the celebrating year of its 20th anniversary, the established, International Naj, Naj, Naj Festival produced by the Žar Ptica City Theater also assigns an activist role in the theater for children under the auspices of #naNAJjače against peer violence, thematizing the problem of peer violence through appropriate performances and accompanying programs. With its play “If You Say, You’re Done!”, Žar ptica Theater gives an example of how children’s theater should not only tell fairy tales about good and evil, but should focus repertoire on texts and plays that detect the problematic situations of children and youth in today’s time and environment, which are often ruthless and cruel in their important formative years. For this purpose, our playwrights should order current problem texts, include them in the theatrical repertoire and thus, through art, warn about problems and try to repair the world with theater – said Željka Turčinović, Selector of 20. Naj, Naj, Naj Festival
At the press conference the Director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, prof. Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, emphasized:
– Child protection is not, nor can it be, a topic that only adults behind closed doors talk about; everyone in their own sector, in their own institution. It is very important to hear the voice of children and young people, to involve people from public life, to speak through art and all other available channels. It is also important that we hear from each other, work with parents, with young people, to ask and listen to them when they tell us what their needs are, and then to be ready to answer them. This project is an example of a wonderful fusion of the voice of children and parents, the profession, science and the arts.
Tickets for 20. Naj, Naj, Naj Festival are on sale for a symbolic price of 10 kuna from yesterday online at www.zar-ptica.hr