PEP | Performers Exchange Project

Dah Theatre Exchange

In September 2005, PEP and Live Arts were proud hosts of the Dah Theatre Research Centre of Belgrade Serbia in Charlottesville and Staunton VA, exchanging theatre work and ideas through performances, workshops, discussions, lectures, and many wonderful meals. Their performance of Seekers played to 3 sold-out audiences at Live Arts in Charlottesville.

Live Arts – September 23-25; 10am – 2pm

Led by: Jadranka Andjelic, director, with Antonella Diana, scenographer (Italy).

This workshop explored the interaction between the performing space and the performers. Where does the space end and the performer begin? How do the two communicate? How can the scenography become alive and the actor part of the scenography? Constructed to mirror the situation and requirements of a working process in the field of contemporary theatre, this workshop researched the potentially dynamic relationship between director, actors, and scenographer.

The starting point for the workshop was a stage installation made by A. Diana, within which, and in relation to, the participants composed action scores. The scenographic elements with their nature of functionality and resistance, gave actors the opportunity to discover the expressivities and potentialities of the space. The director led the process of material creation and montage within the scenography. Elements such as text and music were incorporated into the work and final montage.


Live Arts – September 26, 27, 28; 6-10pm

Led by: Jadranka Andjelic, director, with actor Electa Behrens

This workshop introduced participants to various training methods and their usefulness in the creation of material for performance work. The training is an intensive process developed from the methods of Jerzy Grotowski, Eugenio Barba and others. The work started with a score of actions (with acrobatics, yoga, tai chi, aikido, etc.) and followed the principles of rhythm, tempo, changing the quality of an action, balance and direction. It also included work with objects and the presentation of various possible starting points in the creative process (music, photos, dreams, memories, physical objects, etc.)


“Serbian Theatre in the 90s and beyond –
The Fight to Keep Breathing”

Sept 22, 2005
The University of Virginia
New Cabell Hall
Co-presented by Julian Connolly of UVA’s Slavic Languages Dept

Director Andjelic spoke about her experience of creating a contemporary theatre group in the difficult 90’s in Serbia, explaining the role that theatre played in the turbulent times as well as speaking personally about the importance of preserving her own clear artistic path. She contrasted her work in Serbia with her further experience as a director in Denmark and her travels throughout Europe.

Jadranka Andjelic (director) Graduated from the Academy of Drama Arts at University in Belgrade, Theatre and Radio Directing Department. In 1991, together with Dijana Milosevic, she founded DAH Theatre in Belgrade, the first theatre laboratory in ex-Yugoslavia that in 1993 enlarged in DAH Theatre Research Centre. Besides directing various performances in DAH Theatre Research Centre, Jadranka has been the artistic or managing director, of Arts Saves Life Festival (1993 and 1994), International Theatre Workshop Meeting (1996) and Endurance and Transformation (2001), Theatre as Way of Healing (2003), Forum of Independent Theatres (2003) and Balkan Express (2005) . Between 1997 -2002 she collaborated with international theatre company Teatret OM (Denmark) directing productions: Qarrtsiluni, Sun and Moon, Times of Winds (multimedia project with more than 200 participants) and Memento.

She has toured in Denmark, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA and Serbia and Montenegro. She is also one of the founders and Head of the Board of Association of Independent Theatres (ANET).


“Performing Options for Actors and Directors:
Alternatives to Commercial Theatre” 

Sunday Sept 25, 2005
Live Arts

This panel of local and guest artists shared their experiences and challenges they face in making performance instigated by a dedication to art and service, rather than commercial ambitions. They discussed how it is possible for actors and directors to collaborate together and make something from nothing.

Jadranka Andjelic – founding member of DAH Theatre and director of Seekers
B. Stanley – Artistic Director of Theatre Du Jour, Washington DC
Thadd McQuade – former Artistic Director of Foolery, Charlottesville
Vanessa Gilbert- Organizer of the first US Magdalena Festival, Providence, RI
Jaqueline Bessell – director and professor at Mary Baldwin College, Staunton VA
Jan Knightley – actor formerly with Theatre De Complicite, co-founder Black Dog Productions, Staunton VA
John Gibson -Artistic Director of Live Arts, Moderator



Open Lecture and Conversation:
Led by:
Electa Behrens, actress
Dates/times: Saturday Oct 1, 10am, Blackfriars Playhouse, Staunton

What makes theatre exchange and communication possible?
What are the universal languages of theatre and what simply cannot be translated? Based on her experience and training as a theatre artist and anthropologist, Electa examined the problematic of theatre exchange on all levels – from the artistic to the practical. She offered suggestions of subtle yet vital conceptual adaptations needed in theatre practitioners which will allow for more easy and open cross-cultural communication.

Workshop: Finding a New Approach to Text
Led by: Electa Behrens, actress
Dates/times: Friday Sept 30, 2-5pm, Blackfriars Playhouse, Staunton

This workshop focused on exploring the possibilities of text, working with methods which focus on the integration of physical and vocal actions, developing new ways to arrive at a ‘vocal interpretation’ of a text, and working with text as a ‘body’ in itself.  Participants were introduced to the concept of a vocal partiture as used in the work of Dah Theatre Research Centre.

Read more about The Dah Theatre Research Centre and The Jadranka Andjelic Project.


Photos by Will Kerner

More photos


to Jadranka Andjelic, Electa Behrens, Antonella Diana and Janos Bus
and to the generous individuals, businesses, and organizations in Charlottesville and Staunton
for making this exchange such a success:

Cate Andrews & Harry Terris
Bev Appleton
Josie Baucom & Kees Poort
Ingrid Berger
Jaqueline Bessell
Slade Billew
Paul Borzelleca & Marlena Hobson
Mark Borzelleca
Kara & Chris Burke
Mary Hill Cole
Laura Covert
Evan Crump
Catherine Dee
Bill Dufford
Virginia Francisco
Larry Garretson
Vanessa Gilbert
Sandra & John Higgins
Lynn Kable
Colleen Kelly
Will Kerner
Thane & Lo Kerner
Jan Knightly
Janel Miley-Knipple
Jim Knipple
Marianne Kubik
Corey Lloyd
Jenny McNee & John Harrell
Thadd McQuade
Paul Menzer
Adanma Onyedike
Jennifer Reut
Angela Richards
Kris Roth
John Paul Scheidler
Jude Silveira
Frank & Terry Southerington
Lauren Spivey
Ashley Sparks
Eve Speer
B. Stanley
Kathy Stolzenbach
Colleen Sullivan
Dr. Tom Walters
Sarah White

ALC Copies
John Chmil
Backdoor Butcher
John Brooks and Bob Hodges
Bang & Bizou
Thomas Leroy
Blackfriars Playhouse
Jim Warren, Ralph Cohen, Jay McClure
Blenheim Vineyards 
Brad McCarthy
Sean Lawford, Vu Nguyen
Category 4
Cate Andrews, Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell
C-VILLE Weekly
Bill Chapman, Rob Jiranek
Daily Grind
Bari Johnson
Fran Smith
Dreaming Hand Foundation
Kay Bechtel
Live Arts
John Gibson, Rowena Halpin,
Ronda Hewitt, Susan Jacobson, Jennifer Peart,
Darryl Smith, Grady Smith
Marco & Luca
Dragana Katalina-Sun, Sun Da
Mono Loco
Michael Lewis
Market Street Wine Shop
Robert Harllee
Mary Baldwin College
Evan Crump & University Wits

John & Lynelle Lawrence
Southern States Hardware
Staunton/Augusta Farmers Market Friends
Deirdre & Phil Armstrong
Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar
Matteus Frankovich
Julian Connolly, Betsy Tucker & Chip Tucker
Whole Foods
Sandy Huckstep, Sian Richards