Théâtre National de Croatie / World Theatre Festival Zagreb
The historical date of the foundation of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, November 24, 1860, when a performance in the German language was interrupted and the actor Vilim Lesić announced that from that date onwards performances will be given only in the Croatian language, is also taken as the date of the foundation of the Drama of the central national theatre house. The previous thirty years in the context of all cultural endeavours of the Croatian national revival movement show the contours of its future profile, especially in the short-lived activities of theDomorodno teatralno drustvo (1840 –1841). After its departure, German companies were dominant again, but the stage life was occasionally stirred by the efforts of Dimitrije Demeter and a group of Zagreb citizens. As a dramaturge, the writer D. Demeter invited Josip Freudenreich, an actor, director and writer from Vienna to Zagreb, whose world opening night of the folk play Graničari ili proštenje na Ilijevu (Border- guards or the Parish fair at Ilijevo) on February 7, 1857 was a significant date in the creation of a national repertoire, as well as the entire contribution of this versatile artist and his family to the Zagreb theatre of the 19th century. It was with the performance of Freudenreich’s Black Queen given on September 29, 1860 that an uninterrupted playing in the Croatian language began in the season of 1860/61. It was still for a while a mixture of languages, but the modest ensemble of Croatian actors, as a core of a future professional Drama ensemble, performed both Croatian authors and translations of foreign dramatists. In general, the connection between our theatre and Croatian literature was getting stronger, which resulted in the creation of a fruitful and continuous Croatian drama literature.