2012. Branko Hećimović

The first Demeter’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2012 was given to

Branko Hećimović

The course of decision-making:

After the annual assembly of HDKKT 27.06. In 2012, at which the name and regulations of the Demeter Lifetime Achievement Award HDKKT were voted, the Board of Directors elected the Award Committee:

  1. Darko Gašparović
  2. Antonija Bogner
  3. Sanja Nikčević

The meeting of the commission was held on Thursday, July 26, 2012 in the premises of the Department of History of the Croatian Theater of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. The meeting was attended by all members, and Darko Gasparovic was elected chairman of the commission. The decision was made unanimously and the award ceremony will be in the fall, in the second half of September.

The report was compiled by:

Sanja Nikčević


Historian of Croatian dramatic literature, theatrologist and critic Branko Hećimović was born in 1934 in Zagreb, where he graduated and received his doctorate in 1964, defending the work Croatian Dramatic Literature between the Two Wars at the Faculty of Philosophy (Rad JAZU, vol. 353, 1968). From 1956 to 1972 he was employed by Radio Zagreb, with a one-year break in 1958/1959. when he served in the army, as a theater critic and editor of the Cultural and Artistic Editorial Office, and in the golden years of the Zagreb Radio Drama School as the head of the Drama Studio and editor of the Art Program. Then he is the editor for general culture in Školska knjiga, and among other things he edits the anthological library of literary works “Dobra knjiga”.

In August 1977, he was admitted to the Academy’s Department of Literature and Theater Studies and elected a senior research associate, and in 1982 a research advisor. In the meantime, in 1978, he accepted to lead a course entitled Theatrical Practicum at the Academy of Theater, Film and Television, today the Academy of Dramatic Arts. He has been the head of the Department of Theater Studies since 1979, and in December 1990 he was appointed head of the Department. After the founding of the Institute for the History of Croatian Literature, Theater and Music in 1993, he was the head of two departments, for literature and theater, until the beginning of 1996. From then until his retirement at the end of 2001. In 1980, he was elected an associate member of the Academy.

He began publishing in 1954. At first, he wrote mainly theater reviews and articles, feuilletons and essays on recent theater issues. He then devoted himself more and more to the study of Croatian dramatic literature, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries, and it became, together with the theatrical art of those centuries, the main area of ​​his interest.

He is the author of several books: Two Comediographers (co-author M. Flegar) 1971; Big Names of Croatian Acting, 1975; 13 Croatian playwrights, 1976; Dramaturgical Triptych, 1979; Can Laura be trusted? 1982; Conversations with Pomet, Desdemona, and the Polish Jew, 1995; Under Krleža’s Umbrella, 1997; In the Embrace of Theater, 2004; Form Issue, 2010)

He is the editor of several anthologies of the play: Pomet’s Society, Comedy of Nalješković and Držić to the Present, 1973; Anthology of Contemporary Croatian Drama, “Vidik”, no. 16-18, 1973; Das kroatische Drama des 20. Jahrhunderts, «Die Brücke», br. 51-53, 1977; Selected Slovenian Dramas, 1982; Contemporary Macedonian Drama (co-author B. Pavlovski), 1982; Anthology of Croatian Drama, 1-3 books, 1998; Il teatro croato del dopoguerra (co-authors N. Batušić and R. Marinković) “La battana”, no. 91-92, 1989; Antologio de kroataj unuaktaj dramoj, 1997), and the majority author and editor of the monograph Dragica Krog Radoš, actress and subreta, 2006.

He is also the compiler of two editions, which contain CDs and accompanying booklets. Couplets, humorous monologues and scenes, Gramophone records of members of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb and performers of Zagreb cabaret 1906-1930 and Recitations, narrations, dramatic monologues and scenes, Phonogram records of members of the Drama of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb 1909-1952, Zagreb 2005.

He is the initiator, editor and editor of the capital theatrical edition in two books Repertoire of Croatian Theaters 1840-1860-1990, 19990 for which he received the Bartol Kašić Award for Scientific Work and the Marko Fotez Award, as well as the third book of the Repertoire of Croatian Theaters, 2002.

For several years he has been a member of the editorial board of the Five Centuries of Croatian Literature Library, for which he has prepared selected works by fifteen writers, including selected works by Tito Brezovački and Milan Begović. He further prepared and commented on unpublished or lost in periodicals and legacies dramatic and critical texts by Milan Begović, Zlata Kolarić-Kišur, Marko Fotez, Marijan Matković and Zvonimir Bajsić, and he also edited Matković’s Selected Works in 2001 in eight books. He has also prepared several anthologies and magazines dedicated to radio drama, theatrical material and theatrical issues, such as the anthologies Praha – Warszawa – Zagreb, Nagrađeni radio-drame, 1968, Contemporary Drama and Theater in Croatia, 1987 and Karlovac Theater Century, 1995, and proceedings of scientific conferences held as part of the theater and theater event Krleža’s Days in Osijek. His obsession with theatrical material, as well as his interest in scenography and costume design, encouraged him to prepare numerous exhibitions for which he composed and signed (Scenographies by Aleksandar Augustinčić, 1997, Theatrical Portraits and Scenographies by Zlatko Kauzlarić Atač, 1997, 2nd ed. ), prepares and edits catalogs.

He is also engaged in lexicographic work. He is a collaborator and editor of several encyclopedic and lexicographic editions. He translates from Russian (VV Mayakovsky, Stjenica) and Slovenian, adapts plays and dramatizes prose works for radio performances, publishes feuilleton-essay and memoir records, as well as reflections on events and individuals from the artistic milieu.

He is a member of the Croatian Society writers since 1963 and one of the founders of the Society of Croatian Theater Critics and Theatrologists. He was also elected its president. Miroslav Krleža is the President of the Board of the Fund for two initial terms. Among the few initiators of Krleža’s days in Osijek is the president of their Committee since the founding of this theatrical and theatrical event in 1990.

Explanation of the Demeter HDKKT Lifetime Achievement Award 2012

Theatrology as a separate scientific humanistic discipline in Croatia began in the mid-1950s, when prof. Dr. Ivo Hergešić founded the Department of Theatrology and Filmology within the Department of Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb. During the seven decades that have passed since then, systematic professional and scientific research and analytical interpretation of all aspects of theatrical art have taken Croatian theatrology up to European and world values. Many, from the oldest to the youngest generation of theatrologists, have invested their knowledge, intelligence and love for theater in this. But, among all of them, in the first place are two people who, during almost the entire period, stood qualitatively and quantitatively, persistently in the forefront of the breakthrough from humble beginnings to today’s heights. These are the late Nikola Batušić (1938-2010) and Branko Hećimović (1934).

Branko Hećimović published his first theatrical articles in 1954, a year before the founding of the Department of Theater Studies. The first period of his writing about theater is marked by reviews, feuilletons and articles. Somewhat later, his work as an editor and then head of the Drama Studio at Radio Zagreb began, precisely in the golden years of the rise and full international affirmation of Croatian radio drama. This double action with a unique goal – the promotion and analytical judgment of Croatian dramatic literature and theater and the editing of monographs, anthologies and lexicographic editions – will extend throughout his creative life until today’s late life.

Hećimović began his scientific study of the history of Croatian dramatic literature as well as theatrology upon his arrival at the Institute of Literature and Theatrology of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1977. His work is characterized by research eros, philological precision and data reliability. All this led him to synthetic coverage in the field of the history of Croatian drama and theater, and his work on Slovenian theater is also significant, especially its acting component in a comparative relationship with Croatian theater.

He is the initiator and editor of the capital theatrical edition Repertoire of Croatian Theaters from the beginning of 1840 to the present day, which has produced five extensive volumes over twenty years. When we know that the repertoire with all the accompanying theatrographic data is the basis for any study and interpretation of theatrical life throughout history, it is clear that this capital edition in the full sense enabled the contemporary scientific effectiveness of Croatian theatrology.

In addition to Hećimović’s inexhaustible research curiosity, he also had an organizational gift, so he was, among other things, the main initiator of the idea of ​​a theatrical-theatrical event Krleža’s Days in Osijek, which was realized under the auspices of HAZU, Croatian National Theater in Osijek and Josip Juraj Strossmayer University. From the very beginning of 1990, Branko Hećimović has been the spiritus movens and the president of the Krleža Days Committee, which will have its 23rd edition in December 2012. He was one of the initiators and president of the Croatian Society of Theater Critics and Theatrologists, and in two terms he was the president of the Board of the Miroslav Krleža Foundation at the Croatian Writers’ Association, which he still holds today.

In addition, his lexicographical and editorial work is by no means negligible. Suffice it to mention the fact that he prepared selected works by fifteen writers in the edition Five Centuries of Croatian Literature, and wrote a multitude of entries about Croatian dramatic literature and theater in various lexicons and encyclopedias.

This necessarily very concise review of the theatrical work of Dr. Branko Hećimović more than sufficiently supports the decision of the HDKKT to award him the first prize of that professional association for his life’s work in the field of theatrology.

Darko Gašparović, President of the Demeter Award Committee 2012

Antonija Bogner Saban, Sanja Nikcevic, members of the commission

In Zagreb, 2012