„Just take a look at this small estate! Can you belive 400 people were watching a performance in it?“ said Ivica Mijacika, owner of Grdelin Theater, as he showed the old fort-like building in an abandoned Dalmatian village. „That is, if we count only those who had a seat. Another 300 were watching from the stairs, “he concluded. As a recognized playwright and poet, Ivica is one the most prominent people behind the unique cultural phenomenon in Croatia. Thanks to his efforts, the abandoned Dalmatian villages became a prime theater destination, gathering hundreds of people interested in culture.
In vicinity of Tucepi settlement, one can find several villages and hamlets, including Podpece, Sridi Sela, Covici, Podstup, Simic, Mravicici and Moci. These sites were abandoned by their residents for the variety of reasons, and were slowly descending into the oblivion. However, the aforementioned artist couldn’t let them to such grim fate. Ivica cleaned the buildings and organized as much infrastructure as he could, and then called his colleagues from Croatian cultural scene to make performances in the renovated estates. The initiative literally became a festivity of its own called kKuTz (Croatian abbreviation for “Culture in Hamlets of Tucepi”).
“In summer months, these Dalmatian villages became a prime theater destination” Mijacika described the popular event. “Every week, we perform in another village. Guests are not only locals, but foreign visitors as well.”
That kKuTZ project became a cultural hit was witnessed by this year’s anecdote. One hour before the performance was supposed to start, rain started to fall. Ivica decided to cancel the evening’s show, believing that nobody will show up. However, only a few minutes after the rain’s stopping, hundreds of people arrived to the village, wanting to see the show. Of course, the artists appeared on the scene.
“In addition to theater, we also organize poetry evenings and artist presentations. We have fine art exhibitions during which paintings are hung on the building facades. In addition, guests can enjoy local delicacies in the local konoba restaurants. Thanks to Tourist Board of Tucepi, all consumables are free of charge!”
Ivica is very happy with the results, perfectly happy that Dalmatian villages became a prime theater destination. “We connected the scene with life, and gathered a lot of positive energy,” he concludes. “I am very proud of the project. We begun to link people in a strong community and revitalized these wonderful rural estates.”