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/ Public Call /


The Zagreb Youth Theatre (Croatia), Slovene National Theatre Maribor – Maribor Theatre Festival (Slovenia), and Belgrade Drama Theatre (Serbia) hereby issue a:

Call for proposals for three new plays under the theatre project
Shadow Pandemic: Hidden Voices

Skriveni glasovi iz sjene pandemije / Skriveni glasovi iz senke pandemije / Skriti glasovi iz sence pandemije

This is an open call for three new plays to be premiered as part of the Shadow Pandemic: Hidden Voices project, which broadly addresses neglect and violence against women during the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be funded by the European Union.
The Zagreb Youth Theatre, Maribor Theatre Festival, and Belgrade Drama Theatre invite women authors to submit a new, yet unpublished and unproduced play in Croatian, Slovene, or Serbian. Selected authors will receive a fee and the plays will be translated into English, published online, premiered in an omnibus format in Zagreb, Belgrade, and Maribor, and directed by Selma Spahić.

A) General provisions:

1. The drama script can only be submitted by women authors with a residence address in the EU member states and countries included in the Creative Europe Programme (Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Georgia, Moldavia, Ukraine, Tunisia, Armenia, and Kosovo*).
*In accordance with the UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and without prejudicing the status or the opinion of ICJ about Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

2. Each applicant may submit one script only.

3. The submitted script will not have been published or staged/produced in any form.

4. The script must be submitted in Croatian, Serbian, or Slovene.

5. Script author/applicant should give her full (first and family) name. It will then be evaluated in an anonymised form by a jury of experts.

6. Scripts in Croatian, Serbian, or Slovene are to be submitted in Word or PDF format by email at:

7. The three scripts will be selected by a jury composed of the representatives of all three project carriers, as follows:
1. Vilma Štritof (Maribor Theatre Festival)
2. Rok Andres (Maribor Theatre Festival)
3. Biljana Srbljanović (Belgrade Drama Theatre)
4. Tanja Šljivar (Belgrade Drama Theatre)
5. Tomislav Zajec (Zagreb Youth Theatre)
6. Selma Spahić (Zagreb Youth Theatre)
7. Ivana Vuković (project dramaturge)
The secretary of the call for proposal is Nikola Beban.

8. The selected scripts will be translated into English, and their final versions published in electronic format at the project’s website.

9. Each of the selected scripts will be awarded Euro 4,400.00 gross (including all taxes withholdings).

10. Each author of the selected script will be given an author agreement.
By signing the agreement, the author will have transfered exclusive and permanent right to use the selected script to co-producers, namely the Zagreb Youth Theatre (Teslina 7, Zagreb, Croatia), the Belgrade Drama Theatre (Mileševska 64A, Crveni krst, Belgrade, Serbia), and the Maribor Theatre Festival (Slovenska ulica 27, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia) as follows:
– right to stage the script before live audience or show it on television or any other medium, including the Internet, social media, public radio or television broadcasts at home and abroad, and via wireless (including satellite or microwave) or wired (cable) communication systems.
By signing the agreement, the author warrants that no rights are held by a third party that would exclude, limit or diminish the rights of co-producers, that she is the only holder of the author rights to be transferred by this agreement, and that none of the rights in this agreement have been transferred to third parties. Under material and criminal liability, the author also undertakes to remove any and all claims by third parties that would deny co-producers the rights gained by this agreement.
The author agreement will include the provisions of this call for proposals. By applying to the call, the author declares to have accepted its terms.

11. Co-producers will uphold the reputation of the selected authors during production and performance and preserve the integrity of their scripts.

12. Co-producers will protect the moral rights of authors in all aspects, the right to preserve script integrity in particular.

13. By applying to this call for proposal the authors agree to develop their script further in cooperation with the director and dramaturge during and for the purposes of production.

14. The deadline for submissions is 18 January 2023, after which date, no script will be taken into consideration.

15. The applicants can ask any questions about the call for proposals by email at:
The deadline for queries is 11 p.m. CET of 5 December 2022, and all answers will be released online by 11 p.m. CET of 15 December 2022 at the official project website: www.

16. The results will be published at the official project website www. no later than 11 p.m. CET of 28 February 2023.

B) Recommendations

1. The script can be written for staging as a drama or postdramatic theatre piece.

2. Due to production and postproduction requirements, the total number of actors/performers should not exceed five persons, and the text should be no longer than 36,000 characters with spaces or 20 standard pages (1800 characters with spaces each).

3. Within the framework of the Shadow Pandemic: Hidden Voices project, there will be three discussions organised on dramaturgy, and the authors can join the panel about the project topic. Participation is optional (albeit recommended) and will not affect the selection of the three scripts. The discussions will be moderated by the project dramaturge Ivana Vuković.

4. Here is the schedule of the discussions on dramaturgy:

1. BELGRADE, Belgrade Drama Theatre, on 15 November 2022 at noon CET
2. ZAGREB 28.11.2022. at 4 p.m.
3. The time of the event will be announced later

To attend/participate please register by email at:

1. for the seminar in Maribor
2. for the seminar in Belgrade
3. for the seminar in Zagreb

C) Recommended topics

Shadow Pandemic: Hidden Voices
Skriveni glasovi iz sjene pandemije / Skriveni glasovi iz senke pandemije / Skriti glasovi iz sence pandemije

The end of the world was yesterday.

1. The world is no more.

2. The humanity has run its course, called itself off, suffocated, infected, inflamed, and rotted away. What is left behind such an invasive species? Is the planet taking a vacation? Are gold fish shedding tears in the aquarium? Who milks cows? Who picks apples? Will mutts manage? What are the houses for? Do the deer use motorways as shortcuts? Have the post-humans found a cave to hide in time? What happened to the space tourists? Did Musk run away to space? Is Amazon still delivering? Is this the dawn of a new species?

3. Hidden voices are heard

4. Whose voices are harder to hear than usual? Whose voices drowned in the overwhelming public noise from social and other media? Whose voices have grown silent? Do we have the right to our own voice at all?
What are these voices silent about? What would we hear if we came closer? Would we hear them if we gave them a microphone? A megaphone? Twitter? EU funding? Would they say anything intelligible? In what language? Do they have one? Who cares? Women have no time for this.

5. Women should not worry about what is going on in the troposphere, let alone exosphere or the parliament. Is our world falling apart or we’ve found a new planet? For her, either involves work. For the benefit of others. All scenarios mean work. For the benefit of others. Can we otherwise call her a woman?

6. What role is a woman? Who takes it when there is no woman? Or is the woman always there, for there is nothing left without a woman?

7. What kinds of violence are produced by roles and definitions imposed on women, old women, young women, girls, young girls?

8. #apocalypse #newnormal #home #women #fourwalls #violence #ginger #stayhome #menstruation #overtime #pandemic #gas #tb #breedingmachine #disinfectant #endoftheworld #eu #mother #online #nature #role #female #curfew #smoothie #family #show #oldwoman #fear #washyourhands #zoom #verbalviolence #work #love #publichealth #thirdage #jogging #teenagegirl #workfromhome #solidarity #homework #beef #vaccine #recovery #inflation #immunity #school #animals #freedom #groupatrisk #oysters #psychologicalviolence #detox #eufunds #economicviolence #greenpeace #pcr #concert #yoga #author #donkeymilk #younggirl


Upon consideration of coded (anonymised) scripts, the jury of the theatre project Shadow Pandemic: Hidden Voices / Skriveni glasovi iz sjene pandemije has awarded the following three new and unpublished plays:

This expert jury consisted of the following members: Vilma Štritof (Maribor Theatre Festival), Rok Andres (Maribor Theatre Festival), Biljana Srbljanović (Belgrade Drama Theatre), Tanja Šljivar (Belgrade Drama Theatre), Tomislav Zajec (Zagreb Youth Theatre), Selma Spahić (Zagreb Youth Theatre), and Ivana Vuković (project dramaturge).

Award rationale:

The open call for three new plays received 69 scripts, one of which did not meet the requirements and was not considered. It is important to note that the open call was issued only to female authors. The number of applications this high shows that the topic of the call is quite important but also that open calls of this kind are rather scarce in the region.

Violence against women (regardless of the pandemic context in which it is set in our project) is a difficult subject to treat as it may easily invoke stereotypes and banal interpretations. It is quite a challenge to show the victim’s position as someone other than passive and subjugated and an equal challenge to show the position of the bully without banalising it. It is even more challenging to move the text beyond the limiting qualification of being “female”. With all this in mind, we wish to thank all the authors who took the challenge and, within our limited deadline, applied with their texts set in a variety of worlds, from hyperrealist or familiar depictions of everyday life to poetic or science fictions. Therefore, even though only three texts have been selected in this open call, we hope that other titles will find their way to the stage.


In her story about a mother and a daughter living in a continental rural setting of Croatia, the author creates a poetic world that sees the two women seek their emancipation and, ironically, get isolated in the process, oppressed by a never-ending nightmarish atmosphere that can both facilitate their doom or deliverance. In a series of variations of the same scenes the author seeks to disorient the reader, which becomes obvious as she completes the full circle by the end, as if to say that something else is more important than how the story begins or ends. This play with form and twisted perspective on the subject are exactly what sets this work by Kristina Kegljen apart.


From up close women activists observe the violent environment and identify without fail the conditions and tribulations in which young women find themselves, questioning along the way their position in the society. This text does not follow the classic dramatic structure, as Katja Gorečan intertwines three stories about a Young Writer, Young Dramatist, and a Young Girl. In an unspecified setup, each tells her own yet common story rooted in a society ruled by the laws of precariat, patriarchy, abuse, and dishonesty. Each protagonist paints an intimate landscape in which young artists live, bringing them close to us, but with some cynical and wryly humorous distance. Set at the time of and little past the lockdown, the author speaks about a seemingly changing society, yet one that has revealed its deeply rooted preferences hidden under the surface. Using a rich palette of words, Katja Gorečan makes this short drama the classic of her own generation, or to be more accurate, a shining exemplar of all young female authors.


In her text Tijana Grumić sets up the stage for a diegetic world that reflects and converses with our pre-apocalyptic, late capitalist reality. A world that – just like ours – comes to an end. In the context of environmental disasters, pandemic, and hoarding more profit, a piglet is born, inseminated, and put to death by humans. Up on the stage it speaks to the audience in human tongue about the circumstances in which three women lived, procreated (or declined to), and died: the mother, her daughter living in a rented flat, and the landlady. The last one raises the rent and forces the daughter to move out. The play does not resort to a simple criticism of bourgeois ethics or to an obvious moral of the story. None of the protagonists speaks from a high, “correct” ground. The landlady is a corona-profiteer, but her father was a bully who ended up eaten by pigs (according to the bedtime story our pig narrator listened to every night). The daughter is a vegan, but her mother earns her living in a slaughterhouse whose owner was also eaten by pigs.
Stage directions play a particular role as they bring author’s comments and make the link with a reality outside the story. A reality which is not real. Writing itself is part and the topic of this story, as is the issue of (self)exploitation on the creative arts market that reflects the ongoing exploitation of resources and living beings on this planet. By the end, pigs serve their revenge cold, taking more time than the world to end, more time than it takes to write, by eating everything, including this play.

Congratulations to the winners!