While the Theatre building was being built near the Stambol Gate, the first performance was given on another location on Sunday, 22nd November 1868. It was a historic drama in five parts, Đurađ Branković by Karlo Obernik, translated and adapted by Jovan Đorđević, newly appointed manager of the Theatre. The performance was given in adapted room of inn Kod engleske kraljice (At the English Queen’s), a house the Theatre Board leased from Miloš Sušić, a priest in Saborna Church. The house was situated in 51 Kosmajska Street (today’s Milan Nedić Street, previously Marshal Biriuzov Street). Serbian Overture by Dragutin Reš was played before the performance and the opening speech on theatre art, literature and Serbian theatre was given by a writer Milorad Popović Šapčanin, future Prime Minister in the Serbian Government. The house that belonged to priest Sušić, which was situated in the vicinity of Varoš Gate, does not exist any more. There is no collective memory of it, although it was the venue of inception of one of the most important cultural institutions of Serbian Nation. Actors of the National Theatre gave seventy performances in Sušić’s house until May 1869. On 30th October, the new theatre season was opened in the new building with performance of After Death Fame of Prince Mihailo, by Đorđe Maletić, music was composed by Dragutin Reš, the Theatre’s composer. Plays were performed in the stone building near the Stambol Gate, near the Monument, on the Theatre Square, i.e. The Square of Republic, for almost a century and a half, with only short breaks due to wars and devastations. In 1920, the Theatre started producing operas and in 1923, the Theatre introduced full-length ballet productions. Of course, there are other significant dates in the National Theatre’s history.

Before the Theatre’s History

4th December 1841

First production in the Theatre on Đumruk (customs office): Death of Stefan Dečanski, by Jovan Sterija Popović.
Theatre on Đumruk was closed on 26th August 1842

15th May 1847

First performance in theatre hall in Staro Zdanje Hotel. Last performance was given on 9th March 1849

11th September 1852

Beginning of construction of theatre building on Zeleni Venac.
Construction works stopped early in the process due to sodden ground and the lack of funds.

February 1863

Theatre started operating in the Prince’s Brewery.
The building was situated on the corner of today’s Balkanska Street and Admiral Geprat’s Street, performances were given until January 1866


29th June 1851

The first Theatre Board was established

12th March 1868

Prince Mihailo decides to have a new theatre building constructed

18th August 1868

Prince Milan Obrenović places a corner stone for the first theatre building in Belgrade

1st November 1868

Jovan Đorđević, first General Manager of the National Theatre

22nd November 1868

First production of the National Theatre: Đurađ Branković by Karlo Obernik, given in Kod engleske kraljice/At the English Queen’s Inn

30th October 1869

First production in the new building in Theatre Square: After Death Fame of Prince Mihailo by Đorđe Maletić, music by Dragutin Reš

21st April 1882

First premiere of a musical piece: operetta The Sorceress, text by M. Milo
(translation from Romanian by Vasa J. Živanović), music by Davorin Jenko

29th November 1894

First performance of opera:  In the Well by William Blodeck

20th December 1903

First performance of national opera:  Na uranku by Stanislav Binički, text by Branislav Nušić

5th April 1910

First production of The Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven

11th February 1920

First performance of newly formed Opera Company: Madam Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, Held in Manjež building

22nd January 1923

First performance of newly formed Ballet Company: Nutcracker by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky

6th April 1941

The National Theatre building was bombed.
The building was partly demolished in bombing and in subsequent fire, décor, costumes and equipment were destroyed

22nd December 1944

First performance in liberated Belgrade:  Invasion by Leonid Leonov

17th February 1945

First opera production in Belgrade after liberation: Eugene Onegin by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky,
According to the text by Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin

22nd November 1969

Production of Koštana by Borislav Stanković opens the Stage in Zemun (ceased to work in 1992)

15th October 1989

Formal opening of reconstructed and added building  of the National Theatre


In order to keep all these important events of the National Theatre’s history, as well as achievements of people involved, in our collective memory and to, first of all, provide a solid grounds for further development of theatre arts, the National Theatre establishes


By obeying principles of museology and particularities of the topic, although the space and number of exhibits are somewhat limited, we have organized the first exhibition. The basic mission of the Museum will be to add to the exhibition, i.e. collect additional material evidence of the National Theatre’s history, and present them to the public.