future epics residency

This project has been co-funded with support from European Commission, Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

27.04 - 10.05

In 2018 four cultural institutions launched a platform and project Future Epics. The idea was generated by Heartefact Fund (Serbia), Dubrovnik Summer Festival (Croatia), Tasca (Spain) and Vitlycke – Centre for Performing Arts (Sweden). This EU project Future Epics deals with different historical periods and unfairly neglected and overlooked historical narratives; it promotes the rich culture and history of the past centuries in the countries participating in the project and places the focus on interesting traditions, places, people and stories not found in history textbooks.

For two years, partners have organized creative labs, symposiums and worked on three contemporary art pieces. Residency from 27 April to 10 May was planned as an occasion for these productions to meet, work on their performances and share their experiences of interpreting heritage themes through performing arts. This residency would bring together diverse but often neglected European heritage from three partners countries – Sweden, Croatia and Serbia. The performances will have their premiere in Dubrovnik Summer Festival 2020 in August 2020.

Due to covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions in place, teams from Croatia and Serbia cannot participate in this residency. Vitlycke – CPA’s production team from Sweden will participate in this residency to continue work on their performance. Meanwhile, the residency for all three Future Epics partners is postponed until November 2020.

Embrace – dance performance by Meleat Fredriksson, Adam Seid Tahir and Lydia Östberg Diakité

In Embrace Meleat Fredriksson, Adam Seid Tahir and Lydia Östberg Diakité will explore a black or rather African gaze as a way to challenge ruling values within the western society, as well as the demand put on us to affirm them. Facing the white gaze filled with binary relations: black/white, good/bad, civilized/savage, us/them- what if there is an African gaze? And what if it is filled with multitudes, scales of shades, contradictions, experiences and warmth? Where the notion of gazing is directed both inwards and outwards at the same time.

Meleat Fredriksson is a dancer and choreographer, educated from The Danish National School of Performing Arts in Copenhagen. Since graduating in 2015 she has been part of danseatelier: a studio-collective consisting of 11 dance artists working with creating continuity within the freelance world and explore art making, sharing and hosting – using multiple hierarchies. Meleat’s work often springs out of and features improvisation, rhythm and attitude. She is currently tuning into and questioning how her blackness is connected to her artwork. On the mission to duck imposed white values, standards and affirmation she wonders what happens when she places her whole (intersectional) self at the core of the research? Meleat’s work has been shown in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Hong Kong at festivals such as My Wild Flag 2019, Gothenburg Dance and Theatre Festival 2018, TheCarrierBag Festival 2016, Hong Kong International Choreography Festival 2016.

Adam Seid Tahir is first and foremost a dancer and performer. He has studied at the Royal Swedish Ballet School and has worked in the dance company Ballet Junior de Geneve in Switzerland. He has also studied computer technology, history of ideas, aesthetics and more at Konstfack, Uppsala University and University of Gothenburg. Adam has performed in works by choreographers such as Sharon Eyal, Hofesh Shechter, Emanuel Gat, Alexander Ekman, Thomas Hauert and others. He has also worked with Michael Keegan Dolan, James Finnemore, Noah Hellwig, Louise Mochia, Zoë Poluch, Eleanor Bauer, Paloma Madrid. In his own artistic work, Adam is very interested in technology and film. In 2018, he collaborated with the Index Foundation to create the film “hyperskin.” Which was shown at Index, Stockholm’s dance film festival, the Ecotrash Festival in London and the Lift-off festival. Adam is also one of the founders of the collective Body Intelligence. A collective that works interdisciplinarily with dance and technology. Together they won Dansathon 2018 in London and have since performed with their work Digital Umbilical at Sadler’s Wells in London, Maison de la Danse in Lyon and Theatre de Liege in Belgium. Besides performing and creating artistic work Adam also works as a Web developer.

Lydia Östberg Diakité is an Afro Swedish dancer, choreographer, curator and union organizer based in Copenhagen. This past years since graduating from “The Danish National School of Performing Arts” in 2017 they have been working with many variations of practicing, making dance, performing, activism, community building and creating together with/shout out to i.a Bambam Frost, Sonya Lindfors, Tamara Alegre, Cassie Augusta Jørgensen, Célia Lutangu, Stina Nyberg, Justin F Kennedy, Emilie Gregersen, My Wild Flag, POSSE – dancing and reading group, and the The Union – Culture workers union for black and people of color.

“Grižula” – pastoral comedy by Marin Držić (1508 – 1567). Directors: Saša Božić and Petra Hrašćanec
Dubrovnik Summer Festival in co-production with the Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb

Marin Držić (called ‘Otter’) was a Croatian poet, dramatist, political author and actor (Dubrovnik, 1508 – Venice, 1567). His literary output reveals extensive knowledge of contemporary Italian as well as ancient Roman theatre. Držić thoroughly studied the poetics of the comedies by Plautus and Terence while he was in Siena, which significantly influenced his most relevant prose comedies. He was also familiar with the majority of the authors of erudite comedy of his time, especially L. Ariosto, who was his role model among his contemporaries. In Siena he witnessed pastoral-mythological plays and this genre, not so well-known elsewhere, directly influenced his pastorals.

Although inspired by Renaissance theatrical experience, he introduced the restlessness of Mannerism in everything he wrote. Under the disguise of seemingly bright comedies, Držić is in fact the author of very restless works, and therefore considered as one of the most significant authors of Croatian Mannerism.

He belonged to a generation of authors who did not have the optimism of their predecessors, a generation of tired people who realised that not a single one of the proclaimed ideals of the Renaissance was reached. This emotion marks his opus and endows it with particular gravity. His talent remained unrecognised in his own town, which is why he did not feel comfortable at home. He was a kind of an outcast, a man who wished to transpose his international experience to his native environment. His innovativeness remained unrecognised during his lifetime and he was gradually discovered by future generations.

Držić’s modern stage voice was recognised only after the first adaptations in 1938. In the following decades, all his dramas were staged, his works were translated to many languages and he was also staged abroad. Reworked at first, today Držić’s plays are performed with a high degree of authenticity. Their best performances took place on Dubrovnik’s open-air stages.


The contemporary relevance of Grižula does not lie in the allegoric glorification of marriage, but in the story about love that is not to be sought beyond what is known and available to us. This new reading of the eternal human search for love by theatre director and dramaturge Saša Božić and choreographer Petra Hrašćanec is a study of the local mentality intertwined with motifs from Dubrovnik folk songs and dances.

Saša Božić is a Croatian theatre director and dramaturge present in the field of European contemporary dance. His works rarely fit neatly into the category of choreography or directing. Petra Hrašćanec is active in the field of performing arts as a dancer, choreographer and pedagogue. Her primary field of interest and education is contemporary dance, whereas her works are characterised by exploration of the body as the reality of performance through different media. The works of Petra Hrašćanec and Saša Božić have been presented at the renowned European dance festivals and theatres, including the Rencontres Choreographiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis in Paris, Impulstanz in Vienna, UOVO Festival in Milan, La Jette Dance Centre in Brussels, Les Subsistances in Lyon, Theatre de la Bastille in Paris and others.

The specificity of the project is the participation of the final year students of Acting from the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art alongside renowned Croatian theatre actors. They will go through the process of attending workshops and auditions and, through their work with actors and directors, learn the language of Držić’s works and be introduced to the general context of older Dubrovnik literature.

Marin Držić’s comedy Grižula only partially belongs to the pastoral tradition, primarily because of a group of mythological characters and plot in one segment of the story. The directing concept activates the space of Grižula as a space of captivity, it does not provide shelter to those who seek harmony, purity and beauty, but becomes a space of uneasiness and caution. The interplay between the enamoured couples is especially important for Grižula, resembling the one in A Midusmmer Night’s Dream. Throughout this interplay of couples in love who search for each other in an enchanted circle, which we find both in May festivities and comedies, Držić introduces an idea which he conveys to his audience as a moral lesson and a warning: when ordinary people cross boundaries set for them as human beings and encounter the supernatural fairy world, they become comical and victims of restlessness and misunderstanding. By parodying the theme of an idyllic world in which noble shepherds are eternally searching for fairies, through three seemingly secondary, ‘non-fairy’ strands of the plot he shaped the idea of disharmony between what is desired and what is possible, between the ideal and reality, between what we want and what we can get, thus showing that happiness is not found in the imaginary Arcadian world and the search for the ‘fairy’ (a desired value), but in the reality we live in.

More information:
Future Epics project:
Dubrovnik Summer Festival:

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