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 The International Symposium of Theatre Critics and Theatre Scholars

 

Theatre and political correctness

 

Organisers: Sterijno Pozorje, Novi Sad
International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC)
Novi Sad, Serbia, May 27th – 28th, 2024
Chairpersons:
Prof. Dr Marina Milivojević Mađarev, Academy of Arts Novi Sad Serbia
and
Prof. Dr Darko Lukić independent researcher, Germany
Keynote speaker:
Prof. Dr Ivan Medenica, Faculty of Dramatic Arts Belgrade (Serbia)

27th May
Opening ceremony of the symposium and welcome speeches –
from 9:00 to 9:45 AM
Dr Miroslav Miki Radonjić on behalf of Sterijino Pozorje
Dr Marina Milivojević Mađarev on behalf of Association of Theater Critics and Theatrologists of Serbia
Dr Ivan Medenica, the keynote speaker

1. Mischa Twitchin / Armando Rotondi / Ana Dević – moderator Darko Lukić – from 9:45 to 11:00
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Senior Lecturer Dr Mischa Twitchin, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom
“Taking the Piss”

Critical theatre not only rehearses verbal or discursive provocation, but also offers visual or gestural challenge to the manifold sense of the “politically correct”. Often understood in terms of identity politics (especially regarding attitudinal anachronisms), theatre’s embodied practices symptomatize hegemonic matrices of power (including in forms of theatre making itself). Questions of care, however, are often experienced as simply “performative” (the proverbial “tick box exercise”). “Political correctness” is even interpreted as a mechanism of (self-)censorship, as a constraint on the civic space of theatre within “culture wars”. This may be seen as a “liberal” substitute for more fundamentally addressing dynamics of the politically incorrect; that is, the structural violence that generates forms of identity as an attempted defence (as with the entangled questioning of “our violence, your violence”). Politically in-correct theatre concerns the political in terms, precisely, of the theatrical – of “attitudes becoming form” critically. With the example of urinating on stage, my presentation will explore symbolic forms of the “incorrect” that, in English, could be called “taking the piss”. Interplay between the real and the representational is of the very definition of the theatrical and will be addressed here with examples from Oliver Frljic and the Mladinsko ensemble.

Mischa Twitchin is a senior lecturer in the Theatre and Performance Dept. at Goldsmiths, University
of London. He has contributed chapters to several collected volumes and articles in journals such as
Memory Studies and Performance Research (an issue of which, ‘On Animism’, 24.6, he co-edited). His book, The Theatre of Death – The Uncanny in Mimesis: Tadeusz Kantor, Aby Warburg and an
Iconology of the Actor, is published by Palgrave Macmillan; and his films are on Vimeo:
http://vimeo.com/user13124826/videos
Full Professor Dr Armando Rotondi, IAB – Institute of the Arts Barcelona, Spain
Negotiating Identities on Stage: Political and Non-Political Correctness in Translating European Performances into English

This paper explores the intricate dynamics of translating and staging European theatre plays in English, focusing on the nuanced interplay between political correctness and cultural authenticity. Drawing inspiration from Gunilla Anderman’s concept of “-nness” (2001), the study delves into a specific theatre practice and into specific case studies from the European theatre adapted for audiences in the UK and the US. Emphasizing the significance of maintaining stereotypical elements such as “Italianness”, “Spanishness”, “Germanness”, “Romanianness”, “Polishness”, and others, the research navigates the delicate balance between authenticity and political correctness in representation on stage (but also on screen).
The investigation not only sheds light on the complexities of linguistic translation but also examines the impact of these adaptations on audience perception. Through a critical lens informed by Edward Said’s notion of “Orientalism”, the paper uncovers how the preservation of cultural stereotypes may contribute to a fabricated sense of truthfulness, catering to audience expectations. Additionally, this exploration invites discourse on decentralised culture and repertoire, questioning the power dynamics inherent in the translation and staging of European theatre in English-speaking contexts. Ultimately, this study contributes to a broader conversation about the intersection of cultural representation, political correctness, and the decentralization of theatrical narratives.

Armando Rotondi, an academic, journalist, and theatre practitioner from Italy, holds the position of Full Professor in Performance Theory and Storytelling at the IAB – Institute of the Arts Barcelona where is also leader of the MA Programme in Creative Performance Practice. He is lecturer at the International University of Catalonia and Researcher at the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) With a background in comparative literature, translation and adaptation in theatre, he earned his PhD from the University of Strathclyde in 2012 and later three Habilitations as Full Professor at Academic level. Armando is a prolific author and speaker in Theatre and Performing Arts, Comparative Drama and Literature, Translation, Film, and Cultural Studies. As a practitioner, he has worked with renowned artists and contributed to international research projects. Currently, he is actively engaged in political theatre, alternative performance, and digital storytelling. Armando’s recent works include immersive performances, post-dramatic productions, and digital performances presented globally, showcasing his diverse expertise and commitment to the intersection of arts, science, and technology.

Associate Professor Dr Ana Devic, LINES Institute, KU Leuven, Faculty of Social Sciences. Belgium
(Mis) Conceptions and (Mis) Takes on Political Correctness in the Media, Academia, and on Stage
The paper aims to historicize the concept of political correctness in stage performances (in a broader sense), as originating in the U.S., showing the differences that occurred over time, and making comparisons to the European contexts.
I begin by looking at the debates on stand-up comedy and comedians in the U.S. since the late 1980s, initiated to a large extent by the fact that several famous comedians refused to do comedy shows on university campuses, where they had been attacked for the alleged lack of sensibility to racism and AIDS in their jokes.
I outline the media debates on political correctness in the U.S., which were two-sided: dealing with the limits of offensiveness, and with the (in-)visibility of people who had been traditionally under-represented or discriminated in the arts, and on stage and film in particular. The second plane of debates was linked to the changing academic culture of the time: the emergence of new academic departments dealing with the lack of history and representation of gender/women, racism/ ethnic and sexual minorities.
The “translations” of political correctness to Europe took place in the contexts both similar and not. Freedom of speech is protected on both sides of the Atlantic, but “minorities” in Europe are diversely officially defined and normativized. In several places, the very definition of minorities started being perceived as alien and forced upon the public, e.g., in France, where it was taken as if undermining democratic traditions and the very notion of citizenship. In Germany and elsewhere, the new Right has cleverly used minority-in-political-correctness discourse to argue that it is elitist and “imported.”
In much of postsocialist Eastern Europe, political correctness as a topic did not engage academic circles, and was left entirely to the local media and political mainstream, which depicted it as another service that “we” must pay to the “West,” undermining our “common sense.”
In the last segment I propose to contextualize political correctness in the history of nationalism, (self-) censorship, and historical revisionism in (post-) socialist regions, going back to the play “Golubnjača” (Pigeons’ Pit) in Yugoslavia, and fast forward to more recent examples in the theaters of our “region,” and the banning of Oliver Frljić’s play in Poland.

Ana Devic obtained her Ph.D. in historical sociology from the University of California at San Diego. She previously worked as an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of Glasgow, Aarhus University, and Fatih University in Turkey. She holds an adjunct professorship at the University of Bologna. In the past twenty years she has received several research grants, including a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship and CELSA (Central European Leuven Association) grant, which allowed her to work at KU Leuven since 2018 on two projects related to memory politics and art activism. Her recent publications include “Artefacts of national subversion: the flag as a critical presence or a disturbing absence“ (2023) ‘”Class, Conflict, and Power between Hegemony and Critical Knowledge” (2022), and “Hijacked Feminism of the New Right“ (2021).

PAUSE FROM 11:00 TO 11:15 AM

2. Adam Alston / Andrej Čanji / Dinesh Yadav – moderator Marina Milivojević Mađarev – from 11:15 to 12:30 AM
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Dr Adam Alston, Reader, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom
Decadence in the culture wars: Political correctness and decadent style

What does ‘decadence’ have to teach us about ‘political correctness’? This might seem a strange question given the tendency toward reductive readings of decadence as an apolitical aesthetic and literary phenomenon associated with the likes of Joris-Karl Huysmans and Oscar Wilde. Readings like this conflate ethics (morality) and politics (the distribution of power and agency), which fails to address how decadence challenges moral codes and the behavioural expectations that derive from them. Decadents like Wilde privileged style over morality, and rejected the ‘usefulness’ of an artwork, but it is these very qualities that make decadence political.
This paper considers the contemporary relevance of decadence in the midst of a fabricated culture war. The backbone of conservatism in western Europe and the United States throughout much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries tended to rest on defending moral orthodoxy in the face of progressive socio-political movements that were seen to threaten that orthodoxy through the pursuit of new liberties. However, in recent decades the political Right has positioned itself as a champion of (neoliberal) liberty embattled by a new kind of Left-wing moral orthodoxy that it condemns as ‘politically correct’ or ‘woke’. In response, I will be asking: why and how and are performance makers today embracing decadent style? What stock do they give to the pursuit of pleasure in their practice, and what might this pursuit have to offer to our understanding of contemporary culture wars? In response, I will be focusing on the practice of the self-proclaimed ‘Hollywood Goth’ Angel Rose. Rose situates her work in the context of nineteenth-century decadents, especially Wilde and his distaste for moral orthodoxy and economic utility, but she also demands an expanded understanding of decadence that provokes her audiences to think politically by foregrounding decadent style and the enjoyment of pleasure. This, I argue, invites us to challenge both the characterisation of decadence as apolitical, and the belittling of left-leaning artists as ‘woke’ idealists.

Dr Adam Alston is Reader in Modern and Contemporary Theatre at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he also serves as Co-Director of Research in the Department of Theatre and Performance. He runs the Staging Decadence project (www.stagingdecadence.com), which began its life as an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship, and is Co-Deputy Chair of the Decadence Research Centre at Goldsmiths. Adam also sits on the advisory board of Contemporary Theatre Review, and works as a freelance producer and dramaturg.

Andrej Čanji MS, independent critic and theatrologist, Serbia
Self-limiting creativity: A case study of a metatheatrical approach to political correctness

This paper explores the phenomenon of self-limiting creativity in the context of contemporary theatre in Serbia. It examines the intricacies of theatre through a metatheatrical lens with a particular focus on political correctness. Political correctness, understood here as a cultural performance, is a contested terrain in Serbian theatre, where it is neither acknowledged nor demanded by the audience. Instead, it is introduced by the artists on the basis of their own inclinations, who serve as creators, enforcers and controllers of normative standards. This dynamic highlight the inherent tension between artistic autonomy and the regulatory mechanisms of political correctness. Drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives from theatre studies, critical theory and cultural analysis, the article examines the metatheatrical dimensions of „Before We Begin“, which deals with the narratives of the transgender community in Serbia and was conceived by director Jug Đorđević and writer Tijana Grumić. The study reveals the performative mechanisms through which political correctness operates in the dramaturgical landscape. Through a close reading of the play’s thematic engagement, character dynamics and narrative trajectories, the study unpacks the nuances of self-limiting creativity, which is both a symptom and a critique of contemporary discursive formations, and illuminates the ways in which such attitudes shape and constrain creative expression within the theatre landscape.

Andrej Čanji is the theatre, film and literary critic from Serbia. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade, Department of General Literature and Literary Theory, and his Master’s from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, major: Theories of Dramatic Arts and Media. He is particularly interested in contemporary hermeneutic approaches to the performing arts. He writes for various academic journals, print and internet magazines. He is a laureate of the Steria Award for Theatre Criticism 2019.

Dr. Dinesh Yadav, Associate Professor of Theatre Theatre & Dance, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Wisconsin, USA
Reevaluating Political Correctness in American College Theatre: Navigating Limitations on Underrepresented Voices

American theatre stands at a crossroads, grappling with the complex interplay between political correctness, representation, and artistic freedom. Within the confines of academia, the Theatre and Dance Department at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay serves as a microcosm of broader industry challenges. Amidst this landscape, the solitary voice of a non-white faculty member resonates, shedding light on the pervasive silence surrounding racial discourse and representation within the department’s productions. Through six years of tenure, the absence of plays addressing racial and socio-economic issues speaks volumes, echoing the prevailing sentiment of inadequacy and reluctance to confront uncomfortable truths.
Conversations with colleagues reveal a pattern of justification steeped in political correctness, wherein the absence of non-white actors or perceived lack of resources becomes a convenient excuse for avoiding sensitive topics. This reluctance, however, belies a deeper issue – the perpetuation of systemic inequities within the theatrical ecosystem. Industry data corroborates this narrative, painting a stark picture of underrepresentation across all facets of theatre production. Reports from the Asian American Performers Action Coalition (AAPAC) expose the glaring disparities in hiring practices, with white designers, writers, and directors overwhelmingly dominating the landscape. At the same time, voices of color languish on the fringes.
An analysis of screenplays further underscores this reality, revealing the overwhelming dominance of male voices in shaping narrative discourse. Traditional high school and professional theatre productions, touted as cultural touchstones, offer little reprieve, with narratives predominantly revolving around themes of love, comedy, and existential musings. The dearth of plays addressing race, economic recession, and minority suppression not only reflects a failure of imagination but also perpetuates a cycle of erasure and marginalization.
In a nation where politically, correct language pervades job advertisements, the glaring absence of racial diversity among full-time faculty in academia remains a bitter irony. Despite lip service to inclusivity, the statistics paint a sobering picture of entrenched biases and systemic barriers. However, amidst this bleak landscape exists a glimmer of hope – a call to action to dismantle these barriers brick by brick and redefine the parameters of artistic expression.
This paper advocates for a paradigm shift within American theatre that prioritizes authenticity, inclusivity, and the amplification of underrepresented voices. It calls upon institutions to move beyond token gestures of diversity and embrace a more holistic approach to storytelling that reflects the rich tapestry of human experience. By centering narratives that challenge the status quo and confront uncomfortable truths, American theatre has the potential to transcend its limitations and emerge as a beacon of social change. This vision can be realized and ushered in a new era of genuinely representative theatre through collective introspection and action.

Dr Dinesh Yadav is an interdisciplinary researcher, pedagogue, and performance artist. He directs theatre and designs for performances, installations, events, museums, and media. His research inhabits the crossroads of arts, technology, humanities, and information. His theatre and design practices enquire into the politics of performance. His works are shown in theatres, galleries, and public spaces in festivals, exhibitions, and events around the globe. Presently Dr. Yadav is an associate professor of theatre and design at the Theatre and Dance, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He is the current chair of the Performance Design Commission of OISTAT and Chair of the ASPIRE Program of KCACTF Region-3. He is the General Editor for the journal Theatre Design and Technology (TD&T).
LUNCH BREAK FROM 12:30 AM TO 2:30 PM

3. Agata Juniku / Ivana Slunjski/ Trina Nileena Banerjee – moderator Borisav Matić – from 2:30 to 3:45 PM
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Assistant Professor Dr Agata Juniku, Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb, Croatia
From over-identification to disidentification, or how to be politically (in)correct in theatre
The originally psychological term of over-identification was introduced in the art context at the beginning of the 1980s by Slavoj Žižek – trying to “defend” aesthetic procedures of back then the most provocative art collective in Yugoslavia (Neue Slowenische Kunst). And by the end of the 1990s José Esteban Muñoz suggested the strategy of disidentification as possibly the most effective one for (mostly racial and sexual) “outsiders” to negotiate the dominant, majority culture. In my paper I would try to examine the usefulness of two well-known strategies in theory discourse, when it comes to dealing with politically incorrect theatre discourse. My “case-study” would cover two seemingly ultimately incorrect plays – Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi (1896) and Jean Genet’s The Blacks (1958) – staged recently in Zagreb. For, as it seems to me, the fundamental question of both performances is: Can we use these old plays and strategies as tools for surmounting a more and more delicate, and more and more important, issue of our times: the political (in)correctness)?
Agata Juniku, teaches at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. She holds a DEA (Diplôme d’études approfondies) in Philosophy from Université Paris 8 and a PhD from Universitiy of Zagreb. Her research is focused on contemporary theatre practice and theories of performance, as well as the procedures and strategies of politicalness of performing practices, including radio art. She is the author of the book Indoš and Živadinov, theatre-bio-graphies: The Sacred and the Ludic as Modes of the Political in Theatre (2019).
Ivana Slunjski, independent dance critic and researcher, Zagreb Croatia
Navigating the Boundaries of Acceptance
Staying within the boundaries of what is considered permissible or acceptable not only often results in various forms of censorship and self-censorship by artists but also diminishes the possibility of performance questioning the marginally acceptable or uncanny. Insisting on correctness often leads to superficial and sterile approaches that fail to delve into the depth of the explored topic. Political correctness dictates what is (in)correct, as well as the ways in which (in)correctness should be treated and expressed on stage. Using the example of the performance “Taming of the Shrew” (“Kroćenje goropadi”), based on William Shakespeare’s play, at the Satirical Theatre Kerempuh directed by Selma Spahić 2023, as well as certain earlier performances of the same play within the same cultural context, the presentation will seek to demonstrate how adherence to political correctness influences authorial choices and the aesthetics of the performance, and how it deviates from the literary original.
Ivana Slunjski is an independent dance critic and researcher based in Zagreb. She works as a contributor and editor in many printed and electronic media, occasionally publishing for Croatian Radio’s Channel Three, and in other books and anthologies. She is currently interested in recent innovative performative practices, strategies of resistance to the economic undermining of artistic work, and the development of new models of artistic exchange. She advocates the professionalization of writing about dance and leads workshops in dance criticism.

Assistant Professor Dr Trina Nileena Banerjee, Cultural Studies at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta, India
Whose Language? ‘People’s Theatre’ and the Debates on ‘Correct’ Form

The question of the correct aesthetic and dramatic form of a ‘people’s theatre’ has caused long and bitter debates in the progressive intellectual and cultural circles in India from the last century i.e. the late colonial period. From the time of the Indian People’s Theatre Association in the 1940s, the question of what a people’s theatre – that was both professional and non-commercial, as well as rooted in the people’s culture of the day – should look like has concerned artistes and cultural workers in progressive movements across the subcontinent. The question of language has been especially fraught. How to connect diverse regional languages and cultures in the subcontinent without losing their specificities? Even within a single linguistic region, how was one to envision a people’s language: one that spoke easily to the ‘masses’ (both rural and urban) of weighty matters without losing its capacity to entertain and engage? How does the middle-class artiste ‘declass’ himself enough to be able to speak in the language of the people he means to address in his travelling theatre? Was the vanguardist mode really ideal in order to carry on its shoulders the weight of a new and revolutionary political message? Or did certain modes of ‘correctness’ need to be given up – even certain populist genres embraced – in order that the people’s theatre may truly speak to and of the people? The paper will discuss these and similar questions.

Dr Trina Nileena Banerjee is currently Assistant Professor in Cultural Studies at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta. Her book Performing Silence: Women in the Group Theatre Movement in Bengal was published by Oxford University Press (India) in 2021.
PAUSE FROM 3:45 TO 16,00 PM

4. Svetislav Jovanov / Dubravka Crnojević-Carić / Hristina Cvetanoska – moderator Andrej Čanji – from 4:00 TO 5:15 PM
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Dr Svetislav Jovanov, independent critic and theatrologist, Novi Sad, Serbia
Radovan the Last

In this paper, on the example of Dusan Kovačević’s comedy „Radovan Treći“ (“Radovan The Third”), the way in which conventions of political correctness call into question or limit ambiguity as one of the main features/prerequisites of the comedy genre is discussed. Trying to show the obsessive and absurd character of the main character Radovan, Kovačević bases the plot of the comedy on the repression that the hero carries out towards the all female members of his family: he abuses his wife Rumenka physically and verbally (threat to marital equality), he raises his younger daughter Katica as a man (threat to gender identity), and he does not allow his younger daughter Georgina to give birth for five years (endangering motherhood an procreation). From the point of view of political correctness, the author promotes patriarchal, misogynistic and sexist attitudes through the mouth of the main character. However, from the point of view of artistic freedom, these are legitimate strategies – such as exaggeration and paradox – by which the contradictions of the patriarchal repression and Radovan, as its bearer an focal point, are multiplied in order to be ridiculed.

Svetislav Jovanov, Graduated dramaturgy at Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade 1975 and obtained Ph. D. at same school 2011. He worked in Serbian National Theatre (Novi Sad) as dramaturg and published several books about drama and theatre, including: Poisoners of Eden (1987); Deceived Eros: The Woman Question in Serbian Drama (1999); The Hero and the Destiny: poetics of German romanticist drama (2011). He is the winner of the Sterija Award for Theatrology in 2000 and the Sterija Award for Criticism in 2023.

The affirmative political romantic poem “The Mountain Wreath” (1847) stands as the most renowned work of the writer and ruler of Montenegro, Petar II Petrovic Njegos, who represents the central and most influential figure in Montenegrin culture. This work is genre-indefinite, primarily focusing on the legendary motif of the “Inquisition of the Turkicized” at the turn of the 17th to the 18th century. There is no evidence of this event in contemporary sources from the 18th century, yet the story held significant importance in Montenegrin and Serbian discourse during the 19th and 20th centuries (within the context of anti-Turkish ideology and national homogenization), as well as in the interpretations of foreign authors. Between the two World Wars, Njegos posthumously became a sort of “prophet of Yugoslavism”, and “The Mountain Wreath” was interpreted from the standpoint of avoiding and neglecting certain parts of this work that refer to fratricidal bloodshed. Furthermore, after the Second World War, interpreters cautiously and judiciously denied the historicity of the described events while simultaneously praising the literary values of Njegos’s work. However, in the context of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, there was often discussion about the alleged influence of this legend on anti-Muslim tendencies in Serbian and Montenegrin society, which frequently led to the imposition of nationalist tendencies onto Njegos’s work.

The subject of this paper is four stagings of “The Mountain Wreath” that premiered as productions of the Montenegrin National Theatre, from its establishment in 1953 to the present day. The study aims to explore the implicit or explicit influence of the concept of political correctness on the aforementioned stage interpretations, with a focus on the narrative of the investigation of crypto-Muslims, which is part of Montenegrin collective memory. Considering that the paper deals with the interrelationships between the selected theatrical performances and the social reality in which they emerged, we will analyze them as cultural texts, examining various contexts, particularly concerning the prevailing construct of national identity in each of these contexts.
In an interdisciplinary approach to the topic, we intersect theater and performance studies, as the primary theoretical platform, with studies of memory culture and studies of national identity to determine how collective memory was treated in these performances and how they were connected to the construction of national identities. The paper posits that the selected performances reinterpret the mentioned legend following the interests and interpretative frameworks of their time, utilizing the past to speak about contemporary social realities.

Senior scientific associate, Assistant professor, Dr Dubravka Crnojević-Carić, University of Zagreb, Academy of Dramatic Art, Croatia
Ubu the King and the Sun King

If we were to interpret theatrical practice from the perspective of a sociologist as seen by Adorno, we might recognize the contemporary theatrical moment as a return to the “classicist, atticist period,” a period in which there is insistence on the belief that everything is speakable and even measurable. The “norm” here represents trust in order, rules, and the domination of will over the unconscious, intuitive, inexpressible, where “body-mind” is again returned to the binary opposition of Body and Mind. How memory and remembrance are treated in times when the dominant binary play between the roles of “victim” and “aggressor” emerges. “You are not alone” implies taking the baton of the united “we” in relation to the “I,” which, in a state of fashionable and only seemingly resistant resistance, rises and revises the past/s. In what way is revisionism accepted within theatrical-performance practices? All these raised questions are based on the analysis of the Zagreb performance Ubu the King directed by Miran Kurspahić.
Dubravka Crnojević-Carić, PhD, is an academic actress, director, and theatre scholar. She deals with semiotics. She is the author of five books (Acting and Identity, Melancholy and Laughter, Actress, About Theatre and Drama through the Past 1 and 2). She played about 80 roles, directed about 20 plays. She has been awarded for her acting and directing work.

Hristina Cvetanoska Stankovska MS Skopje, North Macedonia
The Engaged Theatrical Forms and The Concept of Political Correctness

The Engaged Theatrical Forms and The Concept of Political Correctness Political correctness is asserted as an imperative in contemporary cultural life. The fluid definition of the term „politically correct“ nowadays mostly refers to an expression that attempts to rectify discrimination against a particular community in terms of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, etc. Such an aim is achieved through language modification as well as through regulating the codes of social behaviour to objectify interpersonal relations. Engaged theatrical poetics (and theatre in general) is directly concerned with articulating human behaviour in society as conflictual. Therefore, the vision of equality and the proper valuation of otherness
equates to the idea of utopia. How much does such an utopia need the theatre? How can one be rough, harsh, and „straightforward,“ i.e., follow the principles of engaged theatre while also being „politically correct“? Through an analysis of performances labelled as Macedonian engaged theatre, consulting contemporary theatre literature, this study will attempt to determine in what context and to what extent political correctness can be part of engaged poetics.
Keywords: engaged theatre, politically correct theatre, rough theatre, the
concept of the otherness

Hristina Cvetanoska, actress, theatrologist and poetess. She graduated in Italian Language and Acting. She completed her Master’s degree in Theatre studies at the FDU Skopje, under the mentorship of Professor Ana Stojanoska (2019). Currently she is pursuing her doctorate and working as an assistant professor at FDU Skopje.She is involved in several research projects and has participated in seminars and workshops related to theatre, notably those led by Slovenian director Tomi Janežič and the director and playwright Richard Niechim.

28th May

5. Marina Milivojević Mađarev / Avra Sidiropoulou / Manabu Noda – moderator Ivana Slunjski – from 9:00 to 10:15 AM
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Full Professor Dr Marina Milivojević Mađarev, Academy of Art Novi Sad, Serbia
What Does It Mean to Be a Woman? – Politically Correct and Incorrect Speech of Playwriters About Their Female Characters

This paper deals with the question of how female playwrights in Serbia write about their female characters and how the attitude towards female characters by female writers changed during the 20th century. At the very beginning of the 20th century, Danica Banidić Tečečki raised the question of what was the difference between true emancipation and fashion. This issue was dealt with by other authors in the first half of the 20th century. It is interesting to notice that most of them talk about women’s emancipation but without questioning the patriarchal social model, wich is treated as an immutable fact. Mir-Jam wrote about women who perceive themselves as emancipated and in the same time they fully accept the patriarchal model, and argued that woman should be emancipated in the framework of the patriarchal model. Ljubinka Bobić mocked the quasi-emancipated women who play the role of rebels, and at the same time, for them, slapping is „just“ another way to express love by their lovers. It was only in the end of the 20th and beginning of 21st century that female authors problematized patriarchy as such. Vida Ognjenović and Milena Marković wrote about the patriarchy that purposefully and consciously threatens and belittles women’s creativity, Mirjana Ojdanić wrote about women who are physically threatened, and Biljana Srbljanović claimed that at the basis of the patriarchal family model is the violence towards the weaker.
This paper was created as a result of research within the ARSFID project, which was supported by the Science Fund of Serbia
Dr Marina Milivojević Mađarev is an full professor at the Department of Dramaturgy and the Department of Drama Theory at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad. Marina’s papers in the field of drama and theatre study have been published in national and international journals, and she is the author of several books too: Being in the Theatre, Fantasy in the Dramas of Vladimir Velmar-Janković, Applied Theatre in Vojvodina from 2000 until today (with Milan Mađarev and Ivan Pravdić) and New Narrative. She is a member of the editorial board of the theatre magazine Scena and the president of the Association of Critics and Theatrologists of Serbia. She writes theatre reviews for the weekly Vreme.
Associate Professor Dr Avra Sidiropoulou, Open University of Cyprus, Cyprus
“Is The Political Always Correct? Interpretation As Privilege or Taboo.”

Abstract
Identity politics, societal changes and a radical reconceptualization of the role of contemporary artist as an advocate of the basic human rights of justice and inclusion have created a climate whereby the freedom to interpret can often appear compromised. My presentation addresses questions of entitlement, ownership and diversity in the theatre-making process. As a springboard to my analysis, I will use my experience as a director of Troy Too at HERE Arts Center in New York, in May 2023, a play inspired by Euripides’ Trojan Women, conflating the themes of Black Lives Matter movement, climate change and the recent pandemic. Producing Troy Too in the United States in a joint project of Athens-based Persona Theatre Company and Theatre Three Collaborative in New York, became a lesson in tackling “complex cultural negotiations” (Reinelt 2011). As a white, European woman, together with the Jewish-American playwright, Karen Malpede, revisiting the murders of African Americans George Floyd and Elijah McClain on stage, I faced the cautiousness and warnings from otherwise well-meaning US colleagues, who suggested that I was not entitled to stage the plight of a racial minority group to which I clearly did not belong. At the antipodes, as a Greek, recalibrating the ecumenical themes of forced displacement, violence and resistance that structure the tragedy of Trojan Women, I survived a different kind of ethnic canonicity, having suffered online hate speech of ultra-right fellow Greeks who castigated the choice to cast Black actors in the roles of Andromache, Astyanax and Talthybius and an Asian-American in the role of Kassandra. Within this fragile dialectic of interpretative privileges on the part of author, director and performers, remaining fully aware of and sensitive to the entitlement debate yet refusing to being blackmailed into it ultimately helped reimagine a tragedy that speaks about justice across time, geographies and cultures, beyond the polarizing and silencing discourse of exclusion.

Avra Sidiropoulou is Associate Professor at the Open University of Cyprus, and Artistic Director of Persona Theatre Company. She is the author of Directions for Directing. Theatre and Method (Routledge 2019) and Authoring Performance: The Director in Contemporary Theatre (Palgrave Macmillan 2011). She is the co-editor of Adapting Greek Tragedy. Contemporary Contexts for Ancient Texts (CUP 2021) and editor of Staging 21st Century Tragedies. Theatre, Politics, and Global Crisis (Routledge 2022). She was nominated for the 2020 Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award by the League of Professional Theatre Women

Professor Manabu Noda, School of Arts and Letters, Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan
Is PC missing the point in Japan, or Japan missing the point of PC?

Abstract
Talking about political correctness when the world is still rife with wars and atrocities may appear to be digressing from the more urgent issues. Admittedly, we cannot help wondering if we will have to further suffer deepening divides in political sensibilities, a widening gap in economy, and the deterioration of democracy and security. PC was meant to address these social injustices, especially against minorities, but in reality, for the infuriated right and the fatigued many, PC has simply become fussy behavioral correctives which are aggressively intolerant against intolerance in general. In the US, it has only served to prompt the “unwoke” to entrench themselves in libertarian bigotry. And in Japan, PC comes in a milder shape, because, apart from gender and sexuality, it is not as deeply entangled in identity politics. My paper will give a brief view on how PC is received in the Japanese theatre scene by discussing a few recent shows with a focus on Tomohiro Maekawa’s Delivering the Executed Soul (2023). Without pointing at social injustices, the play seeks to present deeply felt uneasiness in Japan which does not fit the PC discursive framework.
Manabu Noda is Professor of English Literature at Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan. As a theatre critic and researcher, he has written on British and Japanese theatre, acting, and theatre history. He has been on the editorial boards of the Theatre Arts (IATC Japan) and of Critical Stages (IATC). His English publications include “Seen from Close-up in the Distance: Shibuya as a bubble downtown,” Okada Toshiki & Japanese Theatre, ed. by Peter Eckersall, et al. (2021).
PAUSE FROM 10:15 TO 10:30 PM

6. Nataša Govedić / Daniel Molnár/ Marija Milojković – moderator Ivanka Apostolova – form 10:30 to 11:45 PM
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Professor Dr Nataša Govedić, Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Without self-censorship and/or political correctness: motherhood as a critical experience in The Kids by Milena Marković

Abstract
Contemporary literary criticism views The Kids, text written by Milena Marković, as a short novel or a prose poem, while the system of literary awards in Serbia reads its genre as a „prose fiction“. But the fact that The Kids are staged both in Belgrade and Zagreb, and thereby twice, in two different theatre contexts, read as a play, further complicates generic classification of the text. The author herself, while giving a long interview at the Zagreb Festival of World Literature (2022), presents her work as a „growing-up drama“ and „existential drama“, at the same time also identifing it as a „novel about a historical period that is now disappearing”. All these possible and “hesitating” classifications (multiple even when the author is describing her own work) are deeply connected with the politics of self-presentation in the text and with the thematization of motherhood or even genealogy as the traumatic space. Not only because The Kids describe experiences of the mother who is taking care of the child with a physical and mental impairment, but because the figure of the mother breaks various boundaries of political correctness about representation of motherhood. Marković therefore stages the very special drama of various social roles (girl, woman, female artist, mother, lover, daughter, friend, teacher etc) and endures the feminist position of non-belonging to the any of the prescribed role-ideologies.

Dr Natasa Govedić is writer, poet, critic, Croatian theatre and film scholar who regularly contributes to the fields of adaptation studies, Shakespeare studies, feminism, performance ethics and communal theatre. She is employed as a full-time lecturer at Academy for Drama (Zagreb), while she also works as editor-in-chief of academic journal TRECA, theatre critic in daily newspaper NOVI LIST, guest-lecturer at Peace studies Zagreb and guest-lecturer at Faculty of Teacher Education etc. So far she has published fifteen scholarly books on theater and performance (most recent are Style for a style: transgressive methodology of adaptation, 2021 and Oscar Wilde Walks Out of the Prison house or Your Favorite Art is Called Criticism, 2022), but also various fictional books and books of poetry. She is also active as a theatre dramaturg and/or performer.

Dr Daniel Molnár, indipendant resercehr, Berlin, Germany
‘Oriental’ magicians, ‘Hungarian’ acrobats, ‘Gypsy’ jugglers. The past and present of culture-themed acts

Performing the ‘other’ using their stereotypical attributes was a widely used practice by show business entrepreneurs, artists and dancers in the first half of the 20th century. Diverging from the cultural traditions of the audience meant more possibilities to perform suggesting authenticity and exclusivity – although it required a major investment. The commercialisation of a culture can be seen as exploitation and politically incorrect; yet, historically the question is more nuanced. For the audiences of circuses and music halls (mostly from the lower strata) such productions were frequently the only way to ‘meet’ these cultures and to widen their horizon. As a traditional practice, this is still frequently used by European circuses and amateur entertainment to this day.

Which cultures were/are the easiest to exploit? What if an artist decides to commercialise their own culture? What if the respective state does this? What if such an act is invited to perform in the cultural territory it claims to represent? What could be a possible future of such acts in Europe? The talk draws examples from the history and present of Hungarian show business.

Dr Daniel Molnár is a historian and Theatermensch living in Berlin, focusing on the history and historiography of continental entertainment. He curated four exhibitions about the history of show business; his theatre credits include the Budapest Operetta Theatre and the Komische Oper Berlin. His latest major publication is Show und Business in Pest-Ofen: SeilgängerInnen, Automaten und andere Kunststücke von Weltruf (with Katalin Teller); currently he is working on his new book (The Revue in 20th Century Budapest: From Cosmopolitan Night-Clubs to Stalinist Dogma) for Cambridge University Press.

Dr Marija Milojković, Senior Language Instructor, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade, Serbia
What is political correctness – language reality or a form of insincerity?

Language is politically incorrect because it reflects reality. If we enter the sequences when he was *ed and when she was *ed into the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA, 1990-2019), the disadvantage will become apparent. On the frequency list, ‘when he was’ is co-selected with ‘elected’ at position 3 and with ‘appointed’ at position 11. ‘When she was’ is co-selected with ‘elected’ at position 13 and ‘appointed’ at position 21. The British National Corpus (BNC, 1980s-1993), which has remained unchanged since the early nineties, is even more politically incorrect: ‘when he was appointed’ is at position 2, ‘when she was appointed’ is at position 24, and ‘when she was elected’ produced no matching records.

A reference corpus is a large, balanced and representative sample of the language in question. According to Contextual Prosodic Theory (CPT), which took its inspiration from Wittgenstein (Milojkovic 2020), a reference corpus is also a sample of the world as reflected through that language. CPT, a corpus stylistic theory, was initiated in Low (2000) on the basis of Louw (1993), and compares authorial usage with the language norm in the reference corpus within similar events – situational contexts. It is the main postulate in Louw (1993) that authorial usages that flout the semantic tendencies recoverable in the corpus are indicative either of conscious irony or of unconscious insincerity. The latter implies a wish to conceal one’s true attitude rather than to construct intentional factual lies.

The paper proposes to apply CPT to studying political correctness in the context of theatre, initially posing the following hypotheses:
a) it will be possible to use co-selection and corpus-derived subtext to uncover implied hostile attitudes to members of disadvantaged groups (cases of insincerity) as means of characterization;
b) it will be possible to study the precise means of conveying politically incorrect attitudes in cases where they are more overt;
c) it might be possible to probe whether restrictions imposed on authors might lead to forced, uninspired use of language, causing unnaturalness of expression and a confusion as to what is foregrounded in the text and what is the language norm which is the basis for foregrounding.

This list of possible hypotheses regarding the influence of political correctness on the language of theatre is by no means complete.

Dr Marija Milojković is Senior Language Instructor at the English Department, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade. She has published a co-authored book, two co-authored book chapters and a number of research articles in the field of corpus stylistics, and presented her research at international conferences specializing in stylistics and corpus linguistics.

LONG LUNCH BREAK WITH CITY TOUR OPTIONSFROM 11:45 AM TO 2:45 PM

7. Borisav Matić / Kristina Ljevak Bajramović / Pawit Mahasarinand – moderator Marina Milivojević Mađarev – from 3:0 PM to 4:45 PM
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Borisav Matić, independent critic and dramaturg, Novi Sad, Serbia
Beyond Culture Wars: Towards Socially Just Representation

Since the 1980s, “political correctness” has become a divisive term inextricably linked to the culture wars. The ideological right has used the term to discredit liberal and left-wing activism and has claimed, as have some progressives, that it stifles free expression and creativity in the performing arts. On the other hand, section of the cultural left has exerted social pressure to impose values and cultural practices that have not been sufficiently scrutinized by society. This article uses three case studies to show that a programmatic approach to the representation of marginalized groups in theatre will lead to further polarization: 1. The current debate in the UK about whether only disabled actors should be allowed to play Shakespeare’s Richard III; 2. The debate about whether the casting of a Roma character in Bollywood (National Theatre in Belgrade, 2018) with a white actor was justified; 3. And whether a cis-male director and actor creating the monodrama about a trans-woman, Major and Helena (Change Theatre in Novi Sad, 2022) was justified. In times of rapid social change, this article proposes exploration of various modes of representation that strive toward social justice instead of a rash commitment to new, fixed liberal representational norms.
Borisav Matić graduated Dramaturgy at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad and is currently attending the MA program of Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad. He is the Regional Managing Editor at The Theatre Times and has written about theatre for a range of publications, including the portal SEE Stage, the journal Scena, the Second Channel of Radio Television of Serbia, etc. He also works in the field of literary criticism, scriptwriting and as a journalist at TV Dunav.

Kristina Ljevak Bajramović, theatre critique, Bosnia and Hercegovina
Theater between project politics and authorship, agenda as mise-en-scène

People still smoking in the theatre. Even fake cigarettes like my friend, former nicotine addict, for the theatre shows purposes he smokes a sage. Smell like weed. Theatre make smoke to be joyful colour. Theatre is life essence not imitation. Make us alive and involved. In spite, during the COVID properly distanced from each other’s, we were used to watch theatre shows.
On the stage the curses must sound like in the real life. For any life values I’m fighting for in real life, I don’t expect to be presented on the theatre stage. Stage is not environment for nice vocabulary. It’s not nice behaviour school. Project reality is far from the simple.
Project reality has burdened us enough. Performance indicators, dictated by the non-governmental sector threaten to suffocate us.
Political correctness in the theatre is an ideal framework for hypocrisy. It is an excuse not to deal with the essence. Elevating form over essential values would be a collective capitulation.
In art, the only important thing is truthfulness, which does not necessarily imply truth.
Any deviation from the truth is only an imitation and an attempt. Is there any way to talk about mass graves, homophobia, abortion ban, or any injustice, without the language being used different from the language in reality? The theatre will be alive as much as there is real life in it.
Kristina Ljevak Bajramović was born in Sarajevo in 1980. She completed the study of comparative literature. For twenty-four years, she has been writing about theater and other forms of art and human rights for local and regional media.
In addition to working in the media, she is dedicated to the promotion of independent culture and has organized exhibitions in the alternative gallery Zvono for years. She was an editor in a publishing house. She is one of the co-founders of the Bookstan International Literature Festival.Kristina worked as a person in charge of public relations on numerous theater projects.
She is the winner of the „Srđan Aleksić“ award for reporting on LGBT issues and the Sarajevo Open Center award for supporting the promotion of LGBT rights.
Kristina is a feminist and an LGBT activist.

Pawit Mahasarinand, independent scholar, arts critic, Bangkok City, Thailand
Transgendered Blanche DuBois in Bangkok: Tradaptation of Political Correctness in LGBTQIA+ Capital of Asia
In Thailand, one of the world’s favorite tourist destinations known for being one of the most LGBTQIA+ friendly places in Asia, local theatregoers have been watching “the Other” characters since late 1980s when the Thai tradaptation of Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band enjoyed unprecedented success at the time when gay characters were absent from its screen counterparts. Still a peripheral cultural activity monitored but never censored by any military government, contemporary Thai stage has developed to become a semi-public space for open discussion on social and political issues unwelcome elsewhere.
This paper analyzes New Theatre Society’s 2023 production of Endstation, Thai tradaptation of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire in which veteran translator and director Damkerng Thitapiyasak relocated the play to contemporary Bangkok and actor Ston Tantraporn performed Blanche DuBois as an M2F. Commercial successful and critical acclaimed, the production was restaged earlier this year and nominated for five IATC Thailand Dance and Theatre Awards but, interestingly, not for Tantraporn’s performance. The paper then argues that in this patriarchal Southeast Asian society, contemporary Thai theatre, significantly led by several women and LGBTQIA+ artists, has played a part, no matter how small, in its development towards an inclusive society.
Pawit Mahasarinand has taught theatre and film criticism at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand’s first tertiary institution, since 1992 and written performing arts reviews for The Nation newspaper since 2001. A former director of Bangkok Arts and Culture Center (BACC), this Fulbrighter and chevalier des arts et de lettres is a contributor to Greenwood Press’s Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre and Routledge Handbook of Asian Theatre and an Executive Committee member of International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC), the first Southeast Asian.
PAUSE FROM 4:45 PM to 5:00 PM

8. Matija Bošnjak / Nenad Jelesijević / Ivanka Apostolova – moderator Marija Milojković – from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
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Matija Bošnjak MA, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
ART AND CENSORSHIP
A Complementary Relationship

From its inception, thinking about art in the Western tradition articulated the need to restrict what we still term today as “artistic freedom”. The earliest Western theory of art advocates censorship in the name of a totalitarian ideal of socio-political homeostasis. Plato’s standpoint is far from being an exception in this regard. In Rousseau’s republican utopia, freedom will be guaranteed to an abstract humanity, but not as much to concrete artistic and literary practices. The Soviet Union, in its fervent quest for a communist “heaven on earth”, starkly exemplifies the imposition of ideological hygiene upon the „public sphere“ through the apparatus of censorship. While these traditional methods of censorship endure in the remaining autocratic and theocratic regimes globally, Western societies seem to be succumbing to the pressure of regulating the “public sphere” in hope of eliminating a contradiction apparently inherent to liberal democracies – the tendency of “free speech” to devolve into “hate speech”.
According to various authors, the concept of “political correctness” may be nothing more than a sophisticated surrogate for the outdated and anachronistic practice of censorship. In order to demask it as a form of structural, discursive, or internalized censorship, some of these authors emphasize that the concept’s origin lies, again, in the Maoist totalitarian discourse. Following these assumptions, one might even proceed with a wordplay to designate “political correctness” as a politically correct name for censorship in a world so proud of its liberalism that the very notion of an enforced restriction violates a sacred taboo of ce qui ne doit pas être nommé. While this invention of the ideological mind will continue to have its adversaries and proponents, the relationship between art and “political correctness” as a new form of putting boundaries on licencia artistica seems to be an ever-complicated one. In fact, it is as complicated as it was during the previous eras of history when socio-political taboos, external or internal restrictions of all sorts, were a more obvious fact than the artist’s right to freedom of expression. Since there was more censorship in the history of art than there was liberty, it would be a fallacy of historical hindsight to assume that artistic practice requires the conditions of absolute freedom in order to establish itself as art.
Our article will try to demonstrate quite the contrary, namely, that art requires restrictions and even provokes their imposition upon itself. In order to demonstrate this, we shall provide a rereading of Carl Schmitt’s essay Hamlet or Hecuba which takes Shakespeare’s most famous play as an example of how a specific taboo stimulated a playwright to find original and creative artistic solutions, suggesting that censorship as a factor limiting artistic freedom in the public sphere is not necessarily degrading but can be complementary to artistic objectives. This and other examples (also to be incorporated in this article) may serve as confirmation of René Wellek’s brilliant observation that the oldest metaphors arose out of the necessity to bypass taboos.
Matija Bošnjak is a literature comparatist, art historian, essayist, and writer, born in 1991 in Sarajevo. In 2018, he obtained his master’s degree from the Department of Comparative Literature and the Chair of Art History at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo. From 2016 to 2018, he worked as the technical secretary of the journal of literature and culture “Život”. From 2019 to 2020, he was the editor-in-chief of the journal of literature and society “Behar”, and during the same period, he held the position of editor-in-chief at the publishing house “Connectum” in Sarajevo. Currently, he works as an assistant at the Department of Comparative Literature and Library Sciences at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo. He is also the art-director of the Foundation for Culture, Arts, and Media “EKIPA”. At the moment he is pursuing doctoral studies in “Literature and Culture” at the Faculty of Philosophy, where he is working on his doctoral dissertation titled “Literary Images of the Fallen Angel in Modern Literature of the 19th and 20th Century from Romanticism to the Drama of the Absurd”.

Dr Nenad Jelesijević, multimedia artist, Ljubljana (Slovenia) /Beograd (Serbia)
Do not correct me
Saying that there is certain demand to be politically correct, we are aware about the fact that it comes from above, meaning that we are not participating in setting it up. The question of correctness could therefore be viewed from perspective of lack of co-deciding. That lack is symptomatic for what is called democracy and what could be seen as an alienated governing system, where impact of everybody is radically minimized, while power of the few gets more and more concentrated. Yet, creativity, when not incorporated in the art field, escapes any totalitarian framing.
That everybody is of a key importance within process of artistic creation and, certainly, when playing and interacting the stage arts. The key challenge is finding ways of performing the art which is capable to express itself and survive out of the imposed boundaries. This comes out to be possible only when certain collectivity perform it—also on the production level—out of canonic box.
As an artistic action/creation in its core means embodied freedom which aims to expand to a social space, it must actively relate to the position of whoever present in it. Instead of imposing particular rights in order to make “the other” visible, which is actually an operation that aids to preserve the core of inequality, and dealing with those rights, there is another perspective: With the notion of everybody in mind, particularities of legality lose domination, as we can approach any stage in qualitatively different context, the one freed from correctness and open for politicalness in its primal sense, where festivity—especially in the theatre context—is performed consensually and every otherness unconditionally included, as a matter of sense of a collectivity that manages itself.
Nenad Jelesijević is a multimedia artist, researcher of performance art, stage arts and film, writer, performer, designer and architect. His works often intertwine phenomena of spectacle and pop. He has PhD from philosophy and theory of visual culture, an MA from video and new media, and a BA from interior architecture. He was in the artistic board of Slovenian theatre festival Borštnikovo srečanje. Currently: editor of performans.si, artistic director of the Kitch Institute in Ljubljana and coordinator of its program The Performance Theories and Practices.

Associate professor, Dr Ivanka Apostolova Baskar, Head of Macedonian Center International Theatre Institute
Macedonian theaters and the political correctness `’at its best’`: Contemporary domestic drama authors have not been performed on the stage for decades.
Abstract. In our country, political correctness is total, holistic, absolute, complete, internal-external -it was fully and successfully implemented, in culture and art, especially in drama theater art: Or … there is no contemporary domestic drama staged in theatres. But why and how is this possible? How did the drama academies and theatres allow that? How did domestic directors and actors, theater managers and producers, domestic theater scholars and dramaturgs afford it? And what are the consequences? Since 1991 gradually but surely the process of isolating, annulling, denying, neglecting the domestic playwrights began via secure, robust, guaranteed and successfully implemented censorship. With complete deletion from the theater repertoires and stages, except for the Macedonian drama classics and modern classics, who are staged occasionally – as a counter argument and counter criticism. The Macedonian local politician in power and in opposition does not like the theatrical mirror of his mistakes placed on the domestic theater stage. The local establishment does not want to waste their time watching drama on stage based on the topics like – imported toxic waste, burned in the Macedonian nature and forests; legal crime in the lawless state. Corrupted institutions, processes and procedures. Brain drain of youth and families versus imported slaves from Bangladesh for the turbo folk – nouveau riche. Land of ideal jobs – political parties employment in the public and national institutions – Bank credit and paycheck laws apply only to them in this beautiful country. The success of private business depends on your political connections, and they all deny their connections and the nepotistic-chronistic facts. So, land with realities who are Mecca and Medina of micro and macro corrupt mentality – or we have tons of drama to dramatize and stage it, but people are venting in vain on social media. And the Internet catharsis becomes stronger than the theatre stage.
And so we have a clash of imported political correctness and domestically generated political correctness.
Associate visiting professor Ph.D. Ivanka Apostolova (Skopje), self-employed in culture (producer, visual dramaturg, director). She teaches Art and Design History at the Faculty of Art and Design/EURM Skopje. She is Head of Macedonian Center ITI/PRODUKCIJA, editor/author for The Theatre Times and SEEstage platforms. Projects (selection): ECOC Skopje 2028 pre-selection bid book; Green Inversions; Translating Visual Dramaturgy; KRIEG/ACINSELAK-project E.T.E.R.I.A.; After 2030; Comic Theatre; In Search of Lost Director; Antropologija izkusnje v gledaliscu; Poor Little Rich Drama; Intersected Witches; she translates books from Slovenian, English, Serbo-Croatian in Macedonian language. Email. ivankaapostolova@gmail.com