When I looked around for someone to talk to in Vitez, one of the first recommendations I got was Ivan Sajević from the Vitez Youth Theatre. I was told me, “Whatever they do, they always have a full house and it is always packed and you must talk to them!”

So I met Ivan and it turned out that the story of the Youth Theater in Vitez is indeed a truly fantastic and a story worth telling – because they exist for more than a decade, and have done countless premieres. They perform not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina but also in the region, receive prizes and over 400 young people has been engaged in their performances. They’ve already come to a point that they have professional actors. And most importantly, they have given the opportunity to young people in Vitez to spend their free time in a good way, to socialise, to learn … and from socialising to grow up to be good and hard-working young people.

Listen to the conversation with Ivan while I missed the opportunity – I didn’t get to see any of their shows, but I will certainly make it right soon. My recommendation to you – if you see the Vitez Youth Theater in your town, do visit and support them.

Ivan Sajević:

The Youth Theatre Vitez, well, it started working in 2006 when we had some theatrical workshops during the summer. After that, our first show Cinderella was staged and produced. We produced it essentially produced as the Vitez Children’s Theater. After that, we changed this name and from late 2006, early 2007, we are officially the Youth Theater Vitez, which is still active as a part of the Youth Association Enter from Vitez.

We have about a hundred members. Throughout these 10 or 11 years, more than 400 young people went through the theatre. As of last year, we also have the first professional actress, a member of our theatre, and three acting students, one guy is in Australia, two are here, studying in Tuzla. So far, let’s say, we have produced more than 60 opening shows. We have more than 1000 performances. According to our statistics, more than 100,000 all over came to see us. We’ve performed in more than 10 countries. My choice of our top three shows would be Don Quixote, our parody of Don Quixote and the play Šmizle, which is our most exalted performed play, 75 performances to be exact.

So, we roll out 6 to 8 plays annually. This year will be no exception. We’ve already had three opening nights, by the end of the year we plan to have some additional 4 to 5. Annual plan of performances home and away includes roughly some 30 performances abroad, while the rest is largely within the borders of BiH. Each play is replayed approximately 3 to 4 times in Vitez and the rest we play in all cities across Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Hana: You’ve also received a lot of awards?

Ivan Sajević:

Indeed, we’ve won so many awards and many festivals, however, our biggest award is our current crew. We have our Mirna Mišković, she graduated the performing arts academy but there are also those who didn’t graduate from the academy only, but other faculties that are in a way still related to our theatre. We have our Bruno who directed ‘Šmizle’ and one of the more recent plays ‘That 70s Show’, soon to get a degree from Geography Faculty in Sarajevo but spends all his free time in Vitez. So, in a way, I believe our members are our biggest award, growing up into healthy, quality young people, who are in a way, I can say that now, are coming back to Vitez and stay in Vitez.

You can follow the Youth Theater in Vitez at https://www.facebook.com/GKMVitez/