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Ana Desetnica: Ljubljana’s Incredible Street Theatre Celebration


by Clarita Gray



Ana Desetnica is a remarkable street theatre celebration that takes place in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. Every summer, the streets of Ljubljana come alive with performances by talented artists from around the world, captivating audiences with their creativity, artistic expression, and awe-inspiring acts. This vibrant event has become an integral part of the city’s cultural landscape, drawing thousands of locals and tourists to experience the magic of street theatre.


With its origins dating back to 1999, Ana Desetnica has grown into a highly anticipated annual event that showcases the diversity and richness of street art. The festival aims to bring art closer to the people, breaking the barriers between performers and the audience, and transforming the city into a stage where creativity knows no limits.


One of the unique aspects of Ana Desetnica is its focus on street theatre, which encompasses various forms of performing arts, including mime, physical theatre, puppetry, and circus acts. The performers utilize public spaces as their stage, showcasing their skills and talents in unconventional settings such as parks, squares, and even random street corners. This approach not only engages passersby but also takes the artistic experience beyond traditional theater walls, making it accessible to everyone.


Throughout the years, Ana Desetnica has gained recognition for its commitment to showcasing innovative and thought-provoking performances. The festival invites both established artists and emerging talents, providing a platform for them to experiment, collaborate, and push the boundaries of street theatre. Each year, the program features a diverse range of shows, from intimate solo performances to large-scale productions, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy.


Moreover, Ana Desetnica acts as a catalyst for cultural exchange, fostering connections between local artists and their international counterparts. The festival attracts performers from all corners of the globe, creating a melting pot of different cultures, languages, and artistic styles. This diverse mix brings a fresh and dynamic energy to the streets of Ljubljana, enriching the artistic experience and broadening the horizons of both performers and spectators.


In the following sections, we will delve into the fascinating history of Ana Desetnica, explore the concept of street theatre, and highlight the impact of this extraordinary celebration on artists and audiences alike. We will also examine the challenges faced by Ana Desetnica and the support it receives from various sources. Join us on an exhilarating journey into the vibrant world of street theatre with Ana Desetnica!


History of Ana Desetnica

Ana Desetnica traces its roots back to 1999 when it was first introduced as a modest one-day event in Ljubljana. The festival was conceptualized with a vision to bring theatre to the streets, making it accessible to a wider audience and breaking free from the confines of conventional theatre spaces. Over the years, it has evolved into a week-long extravaganza, delighting locals and visitors alike with its diverse program of street performances.


The festival was named after Ana Monro, a renowned Slovenian street theatre artist known for her expressive performances and captivating storytelling abilities. It pays homage to her contribution to the development of street theatre in Slovenia and her dedication to bringing the arts closer to the people. Ana Monro’s legacy lives on through Ana Desetnica, as the festival continues to embrace her vision of engaging audiences through the power of street theatre.


With each passing year, Ana Desetnica grew in popularity, gaining recognition as an important event in the Slovenian cultural calendar. The festival expanded its lineup to include a wide range of street theatrical disciplines, including mime, clowning, dance, puppetry, and circus acts. This diversification of performances allowed artists to experiment with new forms of expression and push the boundaries of traditional theatre.


In 2005, Ana Desetnica became an international festival, attracting artists from all corners of the world to showcase their talent in the streets of Ljubljana. This global collaboration brought a fresh perspective to the festival and fostered cultural exchange among artists and audiences. It also solidified the festival’s reputation as a platform for artistic dialogue and collaboration on an international scale.


The growth of Ana Desetnica did not stop there. In 2011, the festival introduced “Ana Mraz,” a winter edition that takes place in December. This extension of the festival allowed audiences to experience the magic of street theatre even during the colder months. The winter edition features a unique blend of traditional and contemporary performances, filling the streets of Ljubljana with warmth, laughter, and artistic brilliance.


Today, Ana Desetnica stands as a symbol of artistic freedom, creativity, and inclusivity. It has become an integral part of Ljubljana’s cultural fabric, attracting a diverse audience ranging from families and tourists to theatre enthusiasts and curious passersby. The festival continues to evolve, embracing new artistic trends and pushing the boundaries of street theatre, all while staying true to its mission of bringing art to the streets and enriching the cultural landscape of Ljubljana.


The Concept of Street Theatre

Street theatre is a vibrant and dynamic form of performance art that takes place in public spaces, breaking away from the confines of traditional theatre venues. It encompasses a wide array of disciplines, including physical theatre, mime, clowning, puppetry, and circus acts, among others. Unlike traditional theatre, street theatre breaks down the barriers between performers and the audience, immersing spectators in an interactive and spontaneous theatrical experience.


One of the fundamental concepts of street theatre is its accessibility. By taking performances to the streets, artists are able to reach a diverse range of people who may not have the opportunity to attend traditional theatre shows. Streets, parks, and squares become the stage, allowing performers to engage with passersby, creating a unique and immersive experience for all. Street theatre encourages participation, inviting audience members to interact with the performers, blurring the line between spectator and performer.


Another key aspect of street theatre is its ability to transform public spaces into sites of artistic expression. Performances take place in unconventional settings, using the urban environment as a backdrop, effectively merging art with everyday life. This integration of art into the fabric of the city adds an element of surprise and delight, bringing a sense of wonder and excitement to the mundane.


Street theatre is known for its versatility and adaptability. Performances can range from intimate solo acts to large-scale productions, depending on the nature of the performance and the artistic vision of the performers. Street theatre allows artists to experiment, explore new ideas, and push the boundaries of their craft. It embraces a spirit of improvisation and spontaneity, often utilizing props, costumes, and physicality to captivate and engage the audience.


In addition to its artistic value, street theatre holds significant social and political implications. It has the power to challenge societal norms, spark conversations, and provoke thought. Street performances often touch upon relevant social issues, providing a platform for artists to express their perspectives and raise awareness about pressing matters. By taking theatre to the streets, the performances break away from the perceived elitism of traditional theatre, making art more accessible and relevant to the wider public.


Overall, street theatre represents a unique form of artistic expression that transcends traditional boundaries. It brings together communities, fosters cultural exchange, and celebrates the power of imagination and creativity. Street theatre challenges the traditional notions of theatre and presents an opportunity for both artists and audiences to experience the magic of performance art in unexpected and unconventional ways.


Ana Desetnica: Bringing the Streets to Life

Ana Desetnica is a celebration that breathes life into the streets of Ljubljana, transforming ordinary public spaces into stages filled with artistic expression and creativity. Through its diverse program of street theatre performances, the festival brings a sense of wonder, playfulness, and enchantment to the city, captivating audiences of all ages.


One of the primary goals of Ana Desetnica is to break down the barriers between art and everyday life. By taking performances to the streets, the festival invites the public to encounter theatre unexpectedly, creating magical moments amidst their daily routines. Whether it’s stumbling upon a puppet show in a park or witnessing a mesmerizing acrobatic performance in a busy square, Ana Desetnica enables the community to explore the power of performance art in unconventional settings.


The festival creates a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere, as the streets become a playground for artists to showcase their skills and talents. The performances are diverse and eclectic, ranging from silent acts that rely on physical expression to theatrical productions that blend storytelling with awe-inspiring visuals. The performers interact with the audience, drawing them into the narrative and creating memorable shared experiences.


Ana Desetnica embraces the notion that street theatre is for everyone, regardless of age or background. The festival offers a diverse range of performances to cater to various interests and tastes. Families can enjoy puppet shows and interactive acts designed for children, while theatre enthusiasts can indulge in avant-garde performances that push the boundaries of traditional theatrical conventions. The inclusive nature of Ana Desetnica ensures that there is something for everyone to enjoy, fostering a sense of community and shared appreciation for the arts.


What sets Ana Desetnica apart is the element of surprise it brings to the city. Performances occur spontaneously and unexpectedly throughout the festival, encouraging exploration and discovery. The festivalgoers never know what they may stumble upon during their walk through the streets of Ljubljana. This element of surprise adds an extra layer of excitement and anticipation, making each encounter with street theatre a delightful and unforgettable experience.


By bringing the streets to life, Ana Desetnica reimagines public spaces as platforms for artistic expression and human connection. It creates a sense of belonging and community, as people come together to appreciate and engage with the performances. The festival injects energy and vibrancy into the cityscape, invigorating urban spaces with creativity, and reminding us of the beauty of shared artistic experiences.


The Venues and Performances

The magic of Ana Desetnica unfolds in various venues throughout the streets of Ljubljana, transforming ordinary public spaces into stages of artistic wonder. The festival utilizes the city’s parks, squares, and even street corners as performance spaces, creating an immersive and dynamic experience for both performers and audiences.


One of the iconic venues for Ana Desetnica is the Prešeren Square, located in the heart of Ljubljana. This expansive square serves as a prime location for large-scale performances that captivate the attention of a diverse audience. From awe-inspiring acrobatics to innovative dance routines, the performances in Prešeren Square draw crowds who gather to witness the spectacle and be transported into a world of imagination.


The beautiful Tivoli Park is another popular venue for Ana Desetnica, offering a serene and picturesque setting for intimate performances. Artists set up their stage amidst the lush greenery, creating an atmosphere that seamlessly blends nature with art. Visitors to Tivoli Park can expect to encounter puppet shows, storytelling sessions, and mesmerizing physical theatre acts that provide a unique and enchanting experience.


In addition to the designated performance spaces, Ana Desetnica embraces the concept of guerrilla theatre, where performers take to the streets and surprise unsuspecting passersby with their impromptu acts. This element of surprise adds an extra layer of excitement and spontaneity to the festival, creating unexpected encounters with street theatre throughout the city. It is this element of unpredictability that makes Ana Desetnica truly special, as the performances can show up anywhere, at any time.


The performances themselves are a testament to the creativity and talent of the artists involved in Ana Desetnica. The festival showcases a diverse range of theatrical disciplines, from captivating mime performances that communicate through movement and gesture, to puppetry shows that bring inanimate objects to life with breathtaking skill. There are also circus acts filled with daring acrobatics and physical theatre performances that blend storytelling, humor, and visual spectacle.


Furthermore, Ana Desetnica is known for its engagement of the audience. The interactive nature of street theatre allows for a unique level of participation, with performers often inviting spectators to join in the performance or interact with props and installations. This immersive aspect further enhances the overall experience, blurring the lines between performer and audience, and creating a shared connection between the two.


Overall, Ana Desetnica offers a diverse selection of performances that showcase the immense talent and artistry of street theatre. From grand performances in public squares to intimate shows in picturesque parks, the venues chosen for the festival capture the essence of Ljubljana and provide the perfect backdrop for the captivating performances that bring the streets of the city to life.


The Impact of Ana Desetnica on Artists and Audience

Ana Desetnica has had a profound impact on both the artists involved and the audiences who experience the festival. Through its unique approach to street theatre, the festival has fostered creativity, cultural exchange, and a sense of community, leaving a lasting impression on all those involved.


For artists, Ana Desetnica provides a platform to showcase their skills and push the boundaries of their craft. The festival encourages experimentation, collaboration, and the exploration of new artistic ideas. Participating in Ana Desetnica allows artists to break away from traditional theatre constraints and engage with audiences in unexpected ways. The dynamic and interactive nature of street theatre challenges artists to connect with spectators on a deeper level, injecting a sense of spontaneity and improvisation into their performances.


Ana Desetnica also acts as a catalyst for artistic growth and development. The festival attracts both local and international talents, enabling cultural exchange and networking opportunities. Artists have the chance to learn from and collaborate with performers from different backgrounds, expanding their artistic horizons and gaining valuable insights into diverse theatrical traditions. This exposure to different styles and approaches to street theatre fuels artistic development and fosters a sense of camaraderie among artists.


For the audience, Ana Desetnica presents a unique and accessible way to engage with the arts. The festival breaks down the barriers between artists and spectators, inviting the public to experience theatre in unconventional settings. By taking performances to the streets, Ana Desetnica makes theatre a part of daily life, allowing people of all backgrounds and ages to encounter art unexpectedly. This accessibility and exposure to street theatre broaden the horizons of the audience, fostering a deeper appreciation for the arts and encouraging a sense of curiosity and exploration.


Ana Desetnica has a transformative effect on its audience, opening their eyes to the power of performance art and its ability to transcend language and cultural barriers. The interactive nature of street theatre engages spectators on a personal level, creating a shared experience that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The festival encourages audience participation, breaking the passive spectator role and inviting people to immerse themselves in the performance. This active engagement fosters a sense of connection and community, as individuals come together to celebrate and appreciate the artistic talents on display.


Furthermore, Ana Desetnica has a significant impact on the local community and the city of Ljubljana as a whole. The festival energizes the streets, attracting visitors and reviving public spaces with creativity and artistic expression. It contributes to the cultural vibrancy of the city and fosters a sense of pride in the local community. Ana Desetnica has become an integral part of Ljubljana’s identity, showcasing its commitment to the arts and its dedication to bringing people together through the power of performance.


Ana Desetnica: A Platform for Local and International Performers

Ana Desetnica serves as a vibrant platform for both local and international performers to showcase their talent and creativity. With its commitment to street theatre and its focus on cultural exchange, the festival has become a melting pot of artistic expression, bringing together artists from around the world.


For local performers, Ana Desetnica provides a valuable opportunity to showcase their skills on an international stage. The festival celebrates the rich artistic heritage of Slovenia and offers a platform for homegrown talent to shine. Local performers are able to connect with audiences in their own city, gaining recognition and support from their community. Additionally, they have the chance to engage with artists from different cultural backgrounds, fostering collaboration and inspiring new creative approaches.


Ana Desetnica also plays a crucial role in promoting Slovenian street theatre on a global scale. By inviting international performers to participate in the festival, it exposes local artists and audiences to different artistic traditions and techniques. This exchange of ideas and cultural perspectives enriches the creative landscape of Slovenia and contributes to the growth and development of street theatre within the country.


The festival acts as a bridge between local and international performers, facilitating artistic dialogue and collaboration. Through workshops, masterclasses, and networking events, Ana Desetnica creates opportunities for artists to learn from each other and build lasting connections. This exchange of knowledge and skills fosters artistic growth and broadens artistic horizons for both local and international performers.


For international performers, being a part of Ana Desetnica offers a unique platform to showcase their work to a diverse and enthusiastic audience. The festival provides an opportunity for these artists to present their craft in an unconventional setting and engage with spectators from different cultural backgrounds. This exposure enables international performers to broaden their reach, gain new perspectives, and forge connections within the international street theatre community.


Ana Desetnica has cultivated a reputation for artistic excellence and innovation, attracting talented performers from across the globe. The festival showcases a diversity of artistic styles, themes, and techniques, allowing international artists to share their unique cultural perspectives with audiences in Ljubljana. This cultural exchange not only enriches the artistic experiences of the festivalgoers but also fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of different cultures.


Through the collaboration and interaction between local and international performers, Ana Desetnica creates a platform for artistic synergy, inspiring new creative possibilities. The festival serves as a meeting point for artists from different backgrounds to learn from each other, exchange ideas, and challenge traditional boundaries. This cross-pollination of artistic practices and cultural perspectives fuels innovation and drives the evolution of street theatre as an art form.


Overall, Ana Desetnica’s inclusive approach to showcasing both local and international performers strengthens cultural bonds, fosters artistic growth, and celebrates the diversity of street theatre. The festival’s commitment to providing a platform for artists from around the world exemplifies its dedication to the cultural exchange and the global promotion of street theatre as a powerful form of artistic expression.


Funding and Support for Ana Desetnica

Ana Desetnica, as a large-scale festival, relies on financial support from various sources to ensure its success and sustainability. The funding and support received by the festival play a crucial role in enabling the organizers to bring world-class street theatre performances to the streets of Ljubljana.


One of the key sources of funding for Ana Desetnica comes from government institutions. The festival receives support from the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia, recognizing its cultural significance and contribution to the artistic landscape of the country. This government funding provides a solid foundation for the festival’s organization and ensures its continuity.


In addition to government support, Ana Desetnica receives funding from corporate sponsors and partnerships with businesses. Local companies that value the festival’s mission and recognize the positive impact it has on the community often contribute financially to support the organization of the event. These partnerships ensure that Ana Desetnica can continue to offer high-quality performances and engage with audiences from diverse backgrounds.


Ana Desetnica also benefits from collaborations with international cultural institutions and organizations. These partnerships provide opportunities for artistic exchange and the sharing of resources. Through collaborations with international partners, Ana Desetnica is able to bring exceptional international artists to the festival and expose local artists and audiences to different artistic traditions.


Furthermore, Ana Desetnica actively engages in grant applications and fundraising initiatives. The festival applies for grants from various cultural and arts organizations, both at the national and international levels. These grants provide crucial funding to support specific programs, commission new works, and facilitate artistic collaborations.


The local community also plays a vital role in supporting Ana Desetnica. Local residents, businesses, and volunteers contribute their time, resources, and expertise to ensure the smooth running of the festival. Their support manifests in various forms, such as providing venues, offering logistical assistance, and promoting the festival within the community. The involvement of the local community creates a sense of ownership and pride, making Ana Desetnica a truly communal celebration.


Finally, ticket sales and merchandise also contribute to the funding of Ana Desetnica. While the majority of the festival’s performances are free and accessible to all, some shows may require tickets. The revenue generated from ticket sales helps offset the costs of organizing the event and supports the sustainability of the festival.


The combination of government support, corporate partnerships, international collaborations, grant funding, community involvement, and ticket sales ensures the financial stability of Ana Desetnica. This diverse funding and support network reflects the recognition of the festival’s cultural significance and the value it brings to both the artistic community and the broader public.


Challenges Faced by Ana Desetnica

Despite its success and acclaim, Ana Desetnica faces a range of challenges that the festival organizers must navigate to ensure its continued growth and success. These challenges reflect the complexities of organizing a large-scale event and the unique nature of street theatre as an art form.


One significant challenge encountered by Ana Desetnica is securing adequate funding to support the festival’s operations and programs. While the festival receives financial support from government institutions, corporate sponsors, and grants, the ever-changing economic landscape and shifting priorities in arts funding present ongoing challenges. The organizers must continuously seek sustainable and diverse funding sources to ensure the festival’s survival and maintain its high artistic standards.


Another challenge is logistics and coordination. With performances occurring in numerous locations across the city, logistical coordination becomes crucial. The organizers must ensure the smooth scheduling and staging of performances, taking into account factors such as traffic flow, crowd management, and technical requirements. Coordinating with multiple performers, international artists, and collaborating organizations adds complexity and requires meticulous planning and effective communication.


Weather conditions also pose a challenge for outdoor events like Ana Desetnica. Unpredictable weather patterns, especially during the summer season, can impact the scheduling and execution of performances. Rain or extreme heat may pose safety concerns or necessitate changes in the program. The organizers must have contingency plans in place to adapt to changing weather conditions while ensuring the best possible experience for performers and audiences.


Another challenge faced by Ana Desetnica is balancing artistic integrity with audience preferences. The festival aims to present a diverse range of performances that push artistic boundaries while appealing to a wide audience. Finding the right balance between showcasing innovative and experimental works and catering to the diverse tastes and preferences of the audience can be a delicate task. The organizers must curate a program that satisfies both artistic excellence and audience engagement, maintaining the festival’s artistic integrity while ensuring inclusivity and accessibility.


Additionally, sustaining continuous audience engagement and expanding the reach of the festival poses an ongoing challenge. While Ana Desetnica attracts a significant number of local attendees, attracting new audiences, including tourists and visitors, is crucial for its growth and sustainability. The organizers need to develop robust marketing strategies to raise awareness about the festival, effectively communicate its unique offerings, and engage new audience segments.


Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic presented an unparalleled challenge for Ana Desetnica, as it did for all cultural events worldwide. The festival had to adjust its programming and adapt to new health and safety regulations. Social distancing measures, travel restrictions, and limitations on public gatherings required innovative solutions to ensure the festival could take place while prioritizing the well-being of performers and spectators.


Despite these challenges, Ana Desetnica has demonstrated resilience and adaptability, continuously delivering outstanding street theatre performances and enriching the cultural fabric of Ljubljana. By overcoming these obstacles, the festival continues to evolve and grow, captivating audiences with its infectious energy and artistic excellence.



Ana Desetnica stands as a testament to the power of street theatre to transform public spaces, captivate audiences, and foster cultural exchange. The festival’s commitment to bringing theater to the streets of Ljubljana has made it a vibrant and integral part of the city’s cultural landscape.


Through its diverse program of performances by local and international artists, Ana Desetnica showcases the versatility and creativity of street theatre. The festival breaks down the barriers between art and everyday life, inviting audiences to encounter theater unexpectedly and creating magical moments amidst their daily routines. The dynamic and interactive nature of street theatre sparks a sense of wonder, playfulness, and connection, bridging the gap between performers and spectators.


Ana Desetnica serves as a platform for both local and international performers, providing an avenue for artistic growth, collaboration, and cultural exchange. It celebrates the rich artistic heritage of Slovenia while embracing diverse artistic traditions and perspectives from around the world. The inclusive nature of the festival ensures that street theatre is accessible to all, encouraging participation and fostering a sense of community.


The success of Ana Desetnica would not be possible without the funding and support it receives from various sources. Government institutions, corporate sponsors, international partnerships, grants, and the local community all contribute to ensuring the festival’s sustainability and enabling the organizers to bring outstanding performances to the streets of Ljubljana.


Despite the challenges faced, such as securing funding, logistical coordination, weather conditions, and balancing artistic integrity with audience preferences, Ana Desetnica has proven to be a resilient celebration of street theatre. The festival adapts and evolves, continuously pushing artistic boundaries, engaging new audiences, and enhancing the cultural vitality of the city.


Ana Desetnica’s impact goes beyond the performances themselves. It inspires a sense of wonder, sparks conversations, and fosters a deep appreciation for the arts. The festival breathes life into public spaces, transforming them into stages filled with imagination, creativity, and human connection.


In the end, Ana Desetnica is much more than a festival. It is a celebration of the human spirit, the power of artistic expression, and the beauty of bringing the streets to life. It showcases the magic that can happen when the arts meet the public sphere, reminding us of the immense joy and inspiration that can be found when we engage with the unexpected and celebrate the artistic talent that exists within our communities.