Bosnia and Herzegovina: Play goes on after public persuades organisers

20 October 2016

Theatregoers at the 56th annual MESS festival in Sarajevo persuaded festival organisers to not cave under pressure from Catholics and Muslims, or give in to threats from violent groups, and put on controversial director Oliver Frljic’s play ‘Our Violence and Your Violence’, reported The Washington Post on 10 October 2016.

Bosnian Cardinal Vink Puljic filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office over the play, which features nudity and rape scenes, though no formal charges have been brought up yet. Muslim non-governmental organisations and other groups also called for the play to be removed from the festival’s programme.

Hours before the play was scheduled on 9 October 2016, organisers announced the play would only be performed in front of the festival jury due to the “pressure and threats from violent groups and individuals which jeopardized the security of the audience”.

Seen as an instance of censorship, festivalgoers, joined by members of the public, gathered peacefully in front of the Sarajevo National Theatre politely demanding the performance to go on in front of a full audience. Organisers acquiesced, allowing about 200 people to enter and see the play, which was the closing performance of the event.

Photo: MESS festival Facebook page


» N1 – 11 October 2016:
Sarajevans watch Frljic “at your own risk”

» The Washington Post – 10 October 2016:
Bosnian theatregoers politely break in to provocative play

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