Founded in 1967, through the initiative of Mira Trailović and Jovan Ćirilov, BITEF (Belgrade International Theatre Festival) has continually followed and supported the latest theatre trends, becoming thus one of the biggest and the most important European festivals.
Transcending all political and cultural borders, for the half of century Bitef has managed to keep its pace with a tumultuous evolution of performing arts. Thus, one could identify the history of Bitef as a history of contemporary theatre. Through the revolutionary Sixties and Seventies, Bitef spectators could see some of the most courageous stage experiments pursuing the destruction of dramatic forms, but also some significant classical achievements, as well as the examples of the traditional Asian theatre. In the Eighties and Nineties, Bitef presented highest reaches of the post-modern theatre and dance. Even in the conditions of political-economic crisis and embargo the festival succeeded in promoting ultimate cultural values, bringing to Belgrade some of the biggest names of the world performance. In the first decade of the 21st century, Bitef presents the original and innovative productions of the world mainstream theatre, the performances of post-dramatic, nonverbal expression, as well as those realised with new technologies, thus opening its doors to the virtual reality of cyber theatre.
In the course of all these years, Bitef has pre-served its place in the family of major international festivals. For its continuity and quality Bitef was awarded the Special Prize for 1999 by “Premio Europa per il Teatro”.
Bitef was founded by the Belgrade City Council, whereas Bitef Theatre is in charge of the production and organisation. The theatre was founded in 1989, with the chief purpose of discovering and supporting new theatre tendencies in the local context.