A street theatre performance in Prešeren Square in Ljubljana

Photo: Luka Dakskobler

Ana Desetnica is an international street art festival in Ljubljana which every year presents modern creative trends in street theatre.

The festival has been taking place since 1998. It is distinguished by its carefully elaborated artistic concept and by the efforts of the organisers to ensure that every year the spirit and excitement of the festival act as a complement to the vibrancy of the city, bringing life to streets, parks, bridges and other areas of the city centre. 

Every year it features a large cast of street artistes, clowns, circus performers, jugglers, tightrope walkers, fire-eaters, musicians, "provocateurs", dancers and actors from Slovenia and elsewhere. As well as offering artistic performances in live interaction with spectators, the Ana Desetnica  festival challenges audiences with messages that reflect a sense of social engagement. It also revives those parts of the city that are forgotten, overlooked or neglected, placing them in focus and drawing them into dialogue.

Ana Desetnica gives extra value to urban spaces, and in doing so ceases to be a mere stroll through the city, instead addressing the organisation of urban life as an event, a fair, a circus and theatre. Ana Desetnica is one of the highest profile festivals in Slovenia and at the same time one of the most democratic. In this way it brings art closer to people who would otherwise rarely visit the theatre.

Ana Desetnica plays an important connecting role in Slovenia. The festival is not limited to the events in Ljubljana but also has ties with other festivals around the country. Ever since it was founded, it has maintained a partnership with the Lent Festival in Maribor, and also with other events. By travelling from its usual Ljubljana venues to other cities, Ana Desetnica is on the way to becoming a pan-Slovenian festival. It is also participates actively in the world street theatre scene. 

Street theatre is, of course, just one of the many branches of Slovenia's theatrical tradition. The first milestone in the history of Slovenian theatre  is considered to be 28 December 1789, the date of the first performance of Anton Tomaž Linhart 's comedy Županova Micka. Guest appearances by Slovenian theatre companies around the world have given Slovenian theatre international prestige.

Text by Tanja Glogovčan