Gordana Vnuk Personal Collection
Gordana Vnuk's personal collection contains published and documentary materials about the festival of new theatre Eurokaz, the theatre company Coccolemocco, the international theatre festivals Young People’s Theatre Days and Young People’s Theatre Days of Dubrovnik and the The Society of Amateurs in Culture and Arts Vinko Jeđut at which premises the company was working for some time under the pretext of being its theatre section. Coccolemocco, as a part of independent cultural scene, introduced new elements to the performing arts and a new type of theatre into Croatian and Yugoslav society. Through their selection of themes, the young theatre zealots inaugurated and discussed issues pertaining to Yugoslav leftist practices, relying on the utopian ardour of their generation who chose theatre as a possible mode of responsible and open action along the lines of Brecht and his dialectical method. Such an attitude ultimately lead to negative criticisms from a part of the professional mainstream community.
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Name of collection
Gordana Vnuk Personal Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
Gordana Vnuk is the founder and long-time director of the festival of new theatre Eurokaz, in the 1970s she was an active member of the theatre company Coccolemocco and the organization team of the international theatre festival Young People’s Theatre Days. The collection contains materials related to the aforementioned theatre company and the festival dating from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. Documentation related to Eurokaz covers the period from the beginning of the festival in 1987 to 2013 when the festival was transformed into a producing house.
Gordana Vnuk’s personal collection is housed in her apartment in Zagreb and is available to interested individuals by appointment. Most of the collection pertains to Eurokaz. According to Vnuk, the collection was created spontaneously; after every edition of Eurokaz festival, she saved several copies of all materials – from bulletins, program booklets and newspaper clips to photographs of performances and accompanying events such as exhibitions and panel discussions. The video materials were saved thanks to her father, who, from his home, recorded on videotape everything about Eurokaz aired on television (festival chronicles, various programs dedicated to the festival, etc.). The recordings document the atmosphere, parts of performances, interviews with participants, and statements by spectators and critics. These early Eurokaz materials had been taped over or misplaced in the archives of the national broadcaster, Croatian Radio-Television, so it is only thanks to personal efforts that this testimony was preserved. Edited materials were later posted on the Eurokaz web pages where in the “video archive” and “festival archive” one can find information about all festival editions with recordings, program texts, posters and photographs in the chronological order. On the occasion of the round anniversaries (fifteenth and twentieth), two books based on Gordana Vnuk's preserved materials were published.
In addition to Eurokaz's materials, the collection also contains many materials related to the Young People’s Theatre Days in Zagreb (1974-1977) and Dubrovnik (1980-1982) and to the theatre company Coccolemocco. Among other things, there are materials from the period when the group worked as a theatre section of The Society of Amateurs in Culture and Arts Vinko Jeđut and from the later period when it moved under the auspices of The Centre for Cultural Activities of the Youth (CKDO). This part of the collection consists of photographs, bulletins, program booklets and newspaper clips. The original bulletins of the Young People’s Theatre Days in Zagreb and Dubrovnik are stored at the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, which is responsible for their digitization.
Coccolemocco theatre company which also organized the festival Young People’s Theatre Days is important in the cultural-opposition context, because in its performances, primarily in One Day in the Life of Ignac Golob (1977), it critically dealt with the idealized picture of Yugoslav socialist society by demonstrating its shortcomings through the prism of the everyday life of a “little man,” Ignac Golob. The theme of the "little man", unconsciously concealed in all of us, signifies "that model of ‘non-freedom’ which is the only one still needed by the crazed mass production of consumption" (cited from the program booklet), both in capitalism and socialism. Socialism failed to deal with the contradictions and deceptions of banality of everyday life before which the "little man" Ignac Golob, a factory worker, is helpless and ineffective, but primarily lacks responsibility.
Through the mega-recital You Don't Renounce What You Haven't Got! (1979), the company approached with irony the totalitarian elements of Yugoslav society manifested in socialist rallies and parades, which were at the time omnipresent on the observation of major dates or holidays (Republic Day, May Day, Veterans Day, Antifascist Revolt Day). The performance followed the development of the communist movement in Yugoslavia through texts dealing with the revolution from the position of unrealized left-wing forces.
Eurokaz's cultural-opposition activity is primarily aesthetic one and can be seen in its struggle for the so-called new theatre, which stood in opposition to the Croatian mainstream logocentric theatre and the entire cultural establishment of that time. The answer to the question – why the new theatre? – is provided by the program text by Gordana Vnuk in the bulletin of the first Eurokaz (1987): "Today, at a time when the future is negatively occupied and utopian energies exhausted, the new theatre, devoid of political discourse, turns towards bold aesthetic concepts that use their impervious quality to point out a loss of hope in favor of questioning its own ontological borders.” Cultural-opposition activities are also expressed through panel discussions, held as a part of the festival, on the topic of the new theatre, postmodernism, totalitarianism and art (e.g. the discussion "Totalitarianism and Art Do (Not) Exclude Each Other" on the occasion of the performance by Red Pilot Theatre, which is a part of the controversial art group Neue slowenische Kunst (NSK) from Slovenia.
Description of content
The collection consists of personal documents, festival bulletins, program booklets, posters, monographs, newspaper clips, photographs of performances and accompanying events such as exhibitions and discussions, audio tracks, and video footage of television programs as well as of some performances shown at the festival.
One part of the collection is digitized, and part of it can be seen at Eurokaz's website. Television programs about Eurokaz have been digitized, as have some of the photographs of performances and accompanying events, while the digitization of the entire collection is planned for the future.
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 10-99
- photos: 100-499
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 1000-
- video recordings (including oral history recordings): 100-499
- voice recordings (including oral history recordings): 10-99
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- visits by appointments
1. Matan, Branko. Eurokaz: 1987 – 2001. Zagreb: Eurokaz festival, 2002.
2. Valent, Milko. Eurokaz - užareni suncostaj (Eurokaz-Burning Solstice). Zagreb: Naklada MD, 2002.
3. Vnuk, Gordana, editor. 20 years of Eurokaz: [1987-2006]. Zagreb: Eurokaz festival, 2006.
Part of network
Author(s) of this page
- Bencetić, Lidija
- Vnuk, Gordana
1. Blažević, Marin. Razgovori o novom kazalištu. Zagreb: Centar za dramsku umjetnost, 2007.
2. Blažević, Marin. Izboren poraz: novo kazalište u hrvatskome glumištu od Gavelle do - - -. Zagreb: Disput, 2012.
3. Kesić, Vesna. ˝Vježbanje retorike uz pomoć autoriziranog pamćenja; Ili: o dubinskom politikanstvu˝, Gordogan, 1987 (9), br. 26-27, 176-188.
4. Kovačević, Božo. ˝Neue slowenische Kunst und alte kroatische Politik˝, Gordogan, 1987 (9), br. 25, 205-211.
5. Matan, Branko. Eurokaz: 1987 – 2001. Zagreb: Eurokaz festival, 2002.
6. Valent, Milko. Eurokaz - užareni suncostaj. Zagreb: Naklada MD, 2002.
7. Višnić, Emina i Zvonimir Dobrović. ˝Vrata kulturno-političkoga rezervata (Brezovčev teatar u retro/vizoru ili Coccolemoccovi tragovi)˝. Zarez, 73, 31. siječanj 2002., 33.
8. Vnuk, Gordana, editor. 20 years of Eurokaz: [1987-2006]. Zagreb: Eurokaz festival, 2006.
9. Vnuk, Gordana. ˝Hrvatska alternativna scena sedamdesetih˝. Kazalište (XIII), 2010., br. 43/44, 46-55.
Vnuk, Gordana, interview by Bencetić, Lidija , January 26, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection