Chamber Theater 55 in Sarajevo

The story of Chamber Theater 55 began with the theater director, Jurislav Uco Korenić – born in Zagreb, but a Sarajevan by choice – who initiated the first experimental and avant-garde theater in former Yugoslavia.


Korenić’s article, Is there a need to start yet another theater?, appeared in Oslobođenje (a Sarajevo daily) and served as the “embryo” which would eventually give rise to Chamber’s rich theater tradition.

Little Theater

City authorities approved of the project and provided funding for the construction of the new theater and, on March 7, 1955, the first performance was given in what was called the “Little” Theater. Many years later, Professor Josip Lešić renamed it Chamber Theater 55.

Many performances would be staged at the theater in years to come, under Korenić’s direction, the most impressive of which was Ljubav (Luv), by American playwright, Murray Schisgal. Ljubav became part of the “Little” Theater’s repertoire in 1967, not even a full year after its first premier on a Broadway stage, which generated much fanfare and enjoyed great success. The play has been put on 203 times here in Sarajevo, ranking it among Chamber’s most oft-repeated productions.

Having worked with Chamber for many years, Korenić gave Sarajevo the Pozorište Mladih, MESS – Festival Malih i EkSperimentalnih (small & experimental) Scena of Yugoslavia and the Karađoz Theater, and his name will be forever inscribed in gold letters in our city’s theater history….

Great success

After Uco left, Chamber continued its work with a young acting troupe and enjoyed even more success. It’s worth mentioning that the play, Umri Muški (Die Hard, which was a graduation project by Tatjana Šojić), has been running since 1990 and has been performed more than 250 times, making it one of the longest running local theatrical productions of all time!

There is also Ingmar Villqist’s Helverova Noć (Helver’s Night), as directed by Dino Mustafić, which has been on Chamber’s repertoire for an entire decade and has received numerous awards and special recognition, both in BiH and abroad.

Chamber has always been located in Napredak Palace, one of the prettiest buildings in Sarajevo to be built in the Secession style.

During all these years, the theater has experienced scores of fine, but also difficult, moments. Many still get goose bumps when they remember the famous musical, Hair. It was Slavko Pervan’s idea to put on the play during the war years (1992-1995).

Chamber’s doors were open to audiences even while Sarajevo was under siege. It served as a way of providing those living in BiH’s capital city with a narrow passage through which they could, even briefly, escape from the hell of war and feel some contact with normal life.