Naj, naj, naj festival



This year again from 11 to 16 April the City theatre Žar ptica is proudly and joyfully organizing the 14th International Naj, naj, naj festival which justifies its title more and more with each new year, as we deal here truly with the most outstanding performances of both national and international productions.

Always visited exceptionally well, this favourite Festival with both children and parents, turns spring holidays into memorable events.

These performances free of charge are our gift to the children, making the stay in town during the holidays (something that saddens most of our youngsters) become a precious and lovely experience.

Racing daily from one performance to the other, sometimes even visiting a third one, children don’t want to miss this extraordinary theatrical event that will stick in their minds for all their lives, making them regular and excellent theatre spectators once they grow up.

Mira Muhoberac, this year’s selector, dramaturge and theatrologist, saw more than eighty performances that applied for the festival and chose nine Croatian and five international performances- from Slovenia, Hungary, Germany, Spain and Jakutska, Russian Federation.

The members of the expert jury, actress Helena Buljan, president, Jasminka Mesarić, theatre producer, Olja Lozica, director, Hrvoje Zalar, actor, and Ivana Mikuličin, editor with ‘Jutarnji list’ will award the best in ten categories with the sculpture of the Golden Žar ptica (firebird).

Dear children, enjoy the performances! The Festival is all yours!


Marija Sekelez,
Founder of the Naj, naj, naj festival,
General manager of the CT Žar ptica


The theatre! The theatre! The theatre is the whole world!

The theatre is the miracle of discovering the Else, the Diverse and One’s Own, the magic of the text, the story, acting, directing, the set, costumes, dramaturgy, music, dancing, all different kinds of art both children and adults take part in with the same enthusiasm and joy, expecting and getting a new friend, a friendly family, a new game, a new dream. The creative work of the English playwright William Shakespeare is linked to the saying ‘All the world’s a stage’. In Ancient Greece all the wars cease in order to see the most outstanding dramatic and theatrical performances. At the Žar ptica (The Firebird; the Phoenix), the theatre with a symbolical name, the name of the bird symbolizing life, liveliness and joy, but also meaning glow, the fire of beauty, warmth, goodness, the (up)lift into the unknown and creative, the international festival Naj, naj, naj… takes place for the fourteenth time in a row. It is here that the best performances of theatres for children from Croatia and the whole world are shown, demonstrating democracy, vivacity, freedom of choice, freedom of dialogue and co-creation with Her and Him, with the World of Others and the Silence of One’s own, the freedom of a merry entrance to the show, to the world of magic, the theatrical globe.

The slogan, the motto, the turning point and runway of the Naj, naj, naj festival that connects Shakespeare’s Globe, the theatrum mundi, and the Ancient Greek encircling and openness to theatrical art within a joyously inverted mirror, could be ‘All the world’s a stage’.

It was a great joy for me in the capacity of this year’s festival selector to watch more than eighty performances from Croatia and the whole world and choose those ‘naj, naj, naj’ (the very best) of them that reach into the depth of existence, the archetype of dream and happiness and the ease of playability and play. The young, as well as the old and smart audiences will be able to see ten Croatian performances (one of them out of competition) and five performances by outstanding theatrical artists from abroad.

On the theatrical globe that I had the honour to turn for you, one part, abundant with vibrations and contact, deals with the adventure of journey with emotions and for emotions. This celebration of theatrical joy will be opened by the exceptional performance of Me and my emotions, a production of the host, the City theatre Žar ptica, which researches and presents emotions of children and adults in a play of motions, masks and bodies, enlivening scenes from child everyday life using a theatrical magic wand. Children’s emotions, this time based on the fairy tale about the wolf and a little girl, are also dealt with in a playful performance by the City theatre Trešnja from Zagreb: Little Red Riding Hood. The feelings on growing up and the wish to grow up are presented in the Slovene performance of Little and Big Moon, showing what happens when Little Moon, the child, faces Day and Night, light and dark.

The second part of the theatrical Naj, naj, naj globe implies researches of various kinds of art, art from various eras, various times and various spaces. Musicorum by the City Puppet Theatre from Split is a treat for fans of a combination of music and theatre, learning and cognition of life in the adventure of studying musical forms. Funny Monster by Mala scena is an excellent example of bringing the magic of the Japanese theatre to the Croatian scene in a wondrous play with fans of the joy of growing up.

The third part of the globe with the heart at Žar ptica, turns the forces of joy and falling in love: these are performances on love being born in the process of independence and search for identity. The Croak by the Scena Gorica in co-production with Teatar Exit, based on the text by David Memet, is a wondrous fairy tale for children and adults, playing with metamorphoses of a frog’s and adult perspectives, accompanied by outstanding music. Cinderella by the City puppet theatre  from Rijeka is an excellent example of a musical for children: Cinderella becomes the princess of dance and song. The National Dance Theatre from Budapest presents a brilliant show of Pinocchio and the story of becoming a child and father in an interlacing of fascinating dance, circus, mime, pantomime and acting.

The fourth part of this year’s theatrical globe turning in Zagreb, unveiling the freedom of creative energy, presents different examples of a child’s play: Consol Theater from Germany with their Eagle calling Hawk shows what a child’s imagination can end up with when parents allow children to play one night and get to be real friends; James’s Cats by the Children Theatre Branko Mihaljević from Osijek will bring to Zagreb James Joyce’s letters to his grandson and the atmosphere of the actors-cats; an exceptionally imaginative performance The Seventh Continent by the Croatian National Theatre from Šibenik will remind the adults of the film of the same title, and entice the children to visit the kingdom of past and present games.  

The fifth side of this year’s Naj, naj, naj festival globe unveils performances dealing with the unknown, mysterious, secretive, dreamy or seldom shown side of a child’s being: The performance Tell Me about Colours by the Children’s Theatre Dubrava from Zagreb tells and sings about what happens to colours when children become too sensitive and have to seek also for friendship with grown-up, more serious and abstracted friends; the performance The Unknown Island by the theatre Markeline from Spain shows in an exceptionally lucid way how an island, the sea and a ship can become an island of the joy of love; the performance A Stone of Happiness by the Theatre for Children and Youth of the Republic of Yakutska, Russia, an explosion of colours, movements, speech and wonder, brings to the stage a world of happiness of a diverse, different, far-away, most beautiful inuit culture.

The festival’s closing performance out of competititon is a performance by the host, Žar ptica, You and Me Little Bear, a charming and ludic synthesis of the art of theatre and the art of playing , that is also the axis around which revolves this world of the best performances for children from Croatia and the whole world: a charming world, a magnificent world, an impressive world, the world of children, the world which is both given and bowing to children who watch and create, children who are playful, who play with the theatre and in the theatre like in a big house of the Being of happiness and existence of ever present creation. It is my great pleasure and honour to be able to recommend to you, a faithful and new, lovely, good and smart audience of the Naj, naj, naj festival, such exceptional, playful, superior performances meant just for you, your families and friends, the children of the theatre, great dreamers and players; to be able to recommend so much joy of celebrating theatrical playing. Enjoy the theatrical cube of joy in the mirroring globe of the freedom of creating and watching the theatre, the co-creating of the art of theatre between the audience and the stage! If there is an illusion that comes true, it is that of the happiness of theatre!


Mira Muhoberac,
Dramaturge and theatrologist,
Selector of this year’s Naj, naj, naj festival


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