BRILLIANT EVENTS DUBROVNIK ' We Promote Dubrovnik as a Harbour of Theatrical Production'

Author(s): Olja Ljubišić
Midsummer Scene is the only English theatre festival in Southeastern Europe and a project  of The City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, and it is a joint production with Brilliant Events, Dubrovnik and Honey-tongued Theatre Productions Ltd. London. Darija Mikulandra Žanetić, Jelena Maržić and Filip Krenus from Brilliant Events talk for Dubrovnik Daily about the beginning of the festival and its future. 

‘The idea of Midsummer Scene Festival came about in 2014 after I proposed a programme to the Mayor of Dubrovnik. It was supposed to be a production featuring British and Croatian actors celebrating 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. I was then put in touch with the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and Darija Mikulandra Žanetić and Jelena Maržić who were looking to establish an international theatre event,’ Krenus explained.

Midsummer Scene

Together they’we decided to turn the one off event into an annual festival. ‘From the start we aimed to bring the highest possible theatre production standards and it was a challenge to combine the two different systems: the British and the Croatian. The beginnings are always exciting and terrifying in equal measure. The city has to have facilities and the audience to sustain a longer run of the show,’ Mikulandra Žanetić followed.  

‘Dubrovnik has an outstanding tradition of open air theatre and international visitors, so it seemed a perfect choice to open up Dubrovnik to London and the world. We still do not have a general sponsor, so we depend on excellent ticket sales, balancing the high artistic standard with commercial demands. Every year is extremely challenging, but we have managed to lay the foundation for the Festival and we are here to stay,’ Maržić added.

Last year an actress Helen Millar played Hamlet and this year diverse international cast and crew are performing.  ‘International cooperation is the bloodstream of culture. Our casts reflect the rich diversity of London theatre scene and our casting is colour and gender blind, as our chief interest is whether an actor is right for a part. International collaboration opens up cultures and enriches them and allows us to travel the world and connect with other international artists. The bigger the web of collaboration, the bigger the possibilities. This was always our guiding thought, Krenus says.

Goran Mratinović

Play performed at Fort Lovrijenac

‘Having opened the Festival to the world by taking our production of Twelfth Night to Vienna where it was a huge hit with audiences and the critics and then to Bermuda Festival, we are now looking to produce the shows first made for Lovrijenac, but with an aim to offer them to international festivals. We will keep producing Shakespeare’s plays and we plan to become a part of European Shakespeare Festivals Network and form future collaborations with this rich net of events,  Mikulandra Žanetić opens about Brilliant Events’ plans.

‘There are several names we have in mind to bring to Dubrovnik, but festival planning and programming in Croatia is difficult due to uncertainty of funding,’ she adds.  

‘We will always be grateful to the Croatian Ambassador in London Ivan Grdešić who helped us when we were just starting out. Every sponsor counts and helps us invest in the higher quality of our productions. Our thanks goes to the Frankopan Family who has helped us in London and without whose help Season 2017 of our festival would have been very difficult to bring to life,’ Maržić thanks sponsors for their support.  

‘Aim in the next few years is to establish our international presence as much as possible and establish us firmly as a festival of theatrical excellence. As with Twelfth Night, we wish to take our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on a world tour and promote Dubrovnik as a harbour of theatrical production of the highest standard. We have a lot of work to do and many challenges, but we wholeheartedly believe in our work,’ they all confirm.