Nottingham Playhouse goes to Sarajevo

Wednesday 25th June 2014

In 1914 Sarajevo became the symbol of the outbreak of the First World War, a century later as the world prepares to commemorate the first global conflict, Sarajevo will once again be in the spotlight.

Throughout 2014, Sarajevo will be hosting a series of events including the Sarajevo Heart of Europe festival to mark one hundred years since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The bond between Nottingham and Sarajevo was sealed at the 1984 Winter Olympics. Sarajevo hosted the international sporting event, where Britons Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won gold in ice skating; with Ravel’s Bolero. Eight years after their victory, the stadium in which they danced was bombed during the Bosnian War.

In an effort to bridge the two stories, a Nottingham-Sarajevo collaboration has seen a theatre production, Bolero, (written by Nottingham writer Michael Pinchbeck), take audience members on a journey from Paris to Sarajevo, from 1914-1994 and the First World War to the Bosnian War.

Bolero premiered earlier this month at Nottingham Playhouse as part of neat14. (Nottingham European Arts and Theatre festival). The six-strong cast from the UK, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Germany will now perform at the Sarajevo War Theatre on June 29 as part of the commemorations. Nottingham Playhouse is the only British theatre to be included in this international festival.

Giles Croft, Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse, who will be attending the festival in Sarajevo, said: “It is a great privilege to be the only theatre company representing the UK at the festival to commemorate the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. And it is thrilling that a Nottingham artist, Michael Pinchbeck, has created the work in collaboration with artists form the UK, Bosnia, Kosovo and Germany. It also highlights Nottingham Playhouse’s role as a regional theatre, making bold new work for national and international audiences.”

Bolero will be performed at the Sarajevo War Theatre on Sunday 29 June at 8pm.

Bolero by Michael Pinchbeck is a co-production between Nottingham Playhouse, ODA Theatre (Pristina) and Sarajevo War Theatre.

Other highlights of the Sarajevo Heart of Europe Festival include:

• The Sarajevo Grand Prix, a bike race for peace under the patronage of the Tour de France.
• A concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the vijećnica, (the former national library destroyed in the war, now newly renovated).
• The epic performance of “A Century of Peace After a Century of War”, on the evening of the 28th of June, performed in the exact place Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated. The aim of which is to send a message of peace from Bosnia to the rest of the world.

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