Street theatre in Ljubljana: the story of Ana Monro

by Jaka Bulc

There is always something going on in Ljubljana - you step out of your apartment, hotel room or hostel and instantly find yourself right in the thick of it. Bustling food markets, impromptu concerts and big gala events are right at your doorstep, sometimes even literally. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dig a bit deeper. The locals will tell you that some of their favorite events are the indie festivals, the ones that haven’t been on every blog and in all the guidebooks yet.

One of them is Ana Desetnica, an international street theatre festival which has been around for a whopping 20 years. Its locations in the capital include Argentinski park, Slovenska ulica, Park Zvezda, Konzorcij, Ajdovščina and Nebotičnik - in other words, a cluster of places with heavy foot traffic right in the city center. Unsurprisingly, we might add, since the goal of the festival is to transform quotidian places into something special, even if only for a couple of days. What’s more, this enables everyone to be a spectator.

One of the greatest things about street theatre is that it is a very democratic art form - in a way, it is universal, accessible to the young and the old, locals and tourists, wherever and whenever. As such, it brings the city to life and makes it feel like it has a tangible soul.

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  • Fotka 1/2

Staying warm In winter

The winter edition of the festival, called Ana Mraz, takes place every December, either on the bridges and banks of Ljubljanica or in Zvezda park. Ana Plamenita, another little festival, has a slightly different concept. It is a celebration of the night and of fire. Every November, it lights up the dark, windswept streets and turns them into lovely little landscapes with the help of fire-based installations.

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  • Fotka 3/4

Pulling The strings

The force behind the festivals is Ana Monro Theatre, a theatre group established in 1981. Their pioneering brand of street theatre is known for its strong improvisational and satirical tendencies, but what’s even more impressive is how they have managed to establish a formal presence in a place which is not always conducive to such undertakings. Besides organising Ana Desetnica, they also run a street theatre school, they produce new works of theatre and collaborate internationally.

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  • Slika 5/6

Supporting The artists

Ana Monro have been a part of Ljubljana since its very beginning and Ljubljana has been a part of Ana Monro for just as long. We always like to show our appreciation for all the liveliness that they bring to the city streets by dropping a couple of coins in their tip jar and we are sure you’ll want to do the same.

All photos by: Ana Monro archive.

Jaka Bulc

Jaka works as a photographer, translator and music journalist.

More about Jaka Bulc

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