YUGOSLAV DRAMA THEATRE was founded in 1947. After the World War II new authorities decided to establish a company composed from most prominent actors from all important theatre communities and cultural centres in former Yugoslavia, such as Belgrade, Zagreb, Novi Sad, Ljubljana, Sarajevo, Split. Moscow Art Theatre was supposed to be the model in structuring the organisation and artistic policy.
Bojan Stupica, theatre director and designer, and the new company’s real creator, was appointed as its first Artistic Director. Joined by several literati, he also defined the basis of the YDT’s repertoire strategy as a theatre strongly oriented towards the works of the highest literary level. Therefore, early seasons were marked by both international and domestics classical plays, including works by Chekhov, Goldoni, Sheridan, Ostrovsky, Sophocles, Lope de Vega, Gorky, Shaw, Shakespeare, Plautus, Racine, Molière, Ibsen, Lorca, Cankar, Držić, Sterija, Jakšić and Nušić. All these productions were directed by the leading contemporary directors, including Bojan Stupica, Mata Milošević, Tomislav Tanhofer, Miroslav Belović.
The literary orientation has remained important part of the company’s artistic policy till nowadays. However, many new and progressive theatre tendencies that emerged along the years have made impact on production already during ’50-ies and ’60-ies. The highlight of YDT were in ‘70-80-ies. Some acknowledged international directors were invited to make productions, such as J.A. Zavadsky, Kazimir Dejmek, G.A. Tovstonogov, Evgeny Simonov, Paolo Magelli, Jerzy Jarotsky. Especially during ’80-ies, while the Artistic Director was Jovan Ćirilov YDT developed its profile toward more modern scenic expression. During his fourteen seasons main stage directors were Dejan Mijač, Slobodan Unkovski, Haris Pašović, Egon Savin, Eduard Miler, Gorčin Stojanović, contemporary artistic director of YDT, who all fostered “new approach to classics”.
On 17th of October 1997 the YDT burnt in flame. The reconstruction followed in next six years. The company has never stopped working, but only for the stage of “Bojan Stupica” Theatre. The troupe consolidated and the new theatre house was opened on 23 May 2003 with a premiere of The Patriots by Jovan Sterija Popović, directed by Dejan Mijač.
In the season 2004/2005 YDP has opened the third stage, a chamber theatre for experiments on drama texts – Studio YDP. Studio has 112 seats, while main theatre “Ljuba Tadić” has 586. The second stage, Bojan Stupica Theatre is under construction.
In the latest period, among newest productions have been plays by Serbian as well as the world classics: William Shakespeare, Moliere, A. N. Ostrovsky, I. S. Turgenyev, Alfred de Musset, G. E. Lessing, Fernado de Rojas, Luigi Pirandelo, Harold Pinter, Neil LaBute, Ivo Andrić, Ivan Cankar, Biljana Srbljanović, Dejan Dukovski… Since March 2006 Yugoslav Drama Theatre is a member of UTE (Union des Theatres de l’Europe); it is a founding member of NETA (New European Theatre Action) and it used to be a member of ETC (European Theatre Convention, since May 2005).