Croatian Association of Theatre Critics and Theatre Scholars (HDKKT) introduced in 2012 Demeter’s Award for Lifetime Achievement with the goal of encouraging excellence in theatrology and theatre criticism. It was named after the author of the first Croatian theatre criticism. Dimitrija Demeter published his critic about first professional play in Croatian language (I. Kukuljević Sakcinski Juran i Sofija) in journal Danica ilirska on 13th June 1840 which is considered to be the beginning of Croatian theatre criticism.
Although it seems that Croatia has many awards, the field of theatrology and theatre criticism is neglected. Many distinguished awards dealing with theatre have no categories applying to theatrology and theatre criticism (e.g. Vladimir Nazor Award, Award of City Zagreb). There is only Marko Fotez Award which is awarded every four years but it is limited to research of Croatian drama and theatre and Petar Brečić Award has not been awarded since 2008 and it is obviously abolished for future.
Theatre criticism today is in a rift between politics and scandal, theory fights with incomprehensible meta-language and defence of vague attitudes, it is claimed that we do not need serious evaluation of theatre – critical nor theoretical. Nevertheless, writing about theatre, thinking about theatre and theatre research are important and inevitable companions to theatre.
Therefore it was important to introduce professional award for lifetime achievement which will emphasize accomplishments in the field of theatre criticism and theatrology, which are proceedings of each distinguished professional association. The award helps profession’s enlighten, encouragement and realization of its own value. It is a way to remind that awardees are valuable and dedicated and that without their work theatrology, criticism and theatre would be much less valuable. That is why the award is named after Demeter, not only author of the first criticism but also a versatile theatre striver.
The Demeter’s Award was founded by HDKKT at the general assembly on 27th June 2012 and was acknowledged by the Croatian Ministry of Culture when it was included into financing plans. The award comprises of a sculpture (author Martin Babić), plaque and financial amount (10.000,00kn). It is awarded on the day of publication of the first Croatian theatre criticism 13th June 1840.
Committee constituted from Darko Gašparović, Antonija Bogner Šaban and Sanja Nikčević awarded the first award in 2012 to one of the founders, theatrologist and historian of theatre BRANKO HEĆIMOVIĆ.
Committee constituted from Boris Senker, Sanja Nikčević and Boris B. Hrovat awarded the second award in 2013 to critic and theatrologist IGOR MRDULJAŠ, secretary general of the association, president and executive editor of Theatrology Library (Teatrologijska biblioteka) of HDKKT.
Committee constituted from Vlatko Perković, Mira Muhoberac and Sanja Nikčević awarded the third award in 2014 to theatrologist, critic, educator and President of HDKKT BORIS SENKER.
Committee constituted from Boris Senker, Mira Muhoberac and Sanja Nikčević awarded the fourth award in 2015 to theatre critic BORIS B. HROVAT.
Committee constituted from Boris Senker, Boris B. Hrovat and Sanja Nikčević awarded the fifth award in 2016 to theatre critic, director and writer VLATKO PERKOVIĆ.
Committee constituted from Boris Senker, latko Perković and Sanja Nikčević awarded the sixth award in 2017 to theatrologist ANTONIJA BOGNER ŠABAN.
Committee constituted from Boris Senker, Antonija Bogner Šaban and Sanja Nikčević awarded the seventh award in 2018 to thetare publicist LJUBOMIR STANOJEVIĆ.
Committee constituted from Mira Muhoberac, Martina Petranović and Ljubomir Stanojević awarded the eight award in 2020 to theatre critic, journalist and translator GIGA GRAČAN.
(The award was presented on September 25 due to epidemiological situation)
Committee constituted from ira Muhoberac, Višnja Kačić Rogošić and Martina Petranović awarded the ninth award in 2021 to critic, writer and translator ZVONIMIR MRKONJIĆ.