A classy encounter with Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad

Milena Mihajlovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

A distinctive building in the city center of lovely Novi Sad, dedicated to one of the oldest performing arts - welcome to the Serbian National Theatre,** unquestionably the most valuable cultural institution in the city and a delightful piece of modern architecture. When walking the cobbled streets of the Novi Sad city center, you should make sure not to miss a classy encounter with the oldest Serbian theater** in the country.

Serbian National Theatre © Credits to ttatty

A brief look back in the past

The theatre was established in 1861, as a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the first Serbian theatre ever. The Theatre moved to its current building in 1981. The main efforts for its opening are attributed to the Serbian Reading Room in Novi Sad, an organization created by the Serbian National Theatre Society with the main idea to promote drama and opera within the Serbian culture and community. The theatre started with a modest troupe of nine actors. The opening of the theatre was an important task for the Serbian society, so the brightest of the scholars, politicians, and artistic souls took part in the realization of the project: Svetozar Miletic, Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj, Jovan Djordjevic...

The original location was also in the city center, but in the yard of one of the oldest hotels in the city, that still operates to this day - Hotel Vojvodina. Unfortunately, the original building was burnt down in 1928, but it got a new permanent home in 1981, after exactly 120 years of successful fueling of the hunger for the culture of the urban society in Novi Sad. With an optimal location right in the city center’s pedestrian zone, it's become one of the symbols of the city and a place of reference.

Ballet in Novi Sad © Credits to EmirMemedovski


Serbian National Theatre comprises three ensembles: Drama, Opera, and Ballet. The plays and performances are held upon the following three indoor stages: “Jovan Djordjevic,” “Pera Dobrinovic,” and “Chamber Stage.” The theatre also welcomes the best of Serbia’s and region’s troupes and plays, hosting the “Sterija’s Theatre Festival” annually. It is nowadays one of the most appreciated cultural events in the country and the best festival of national drama and theatre in Serbia, held continuously since 1956.

Theatre interior © Credits to Goja1

Being an important and influential institution of culture, Serbian National Theatre helped the initiation of several other cultural establishments such as The Academy of Arts, Sterijino pozorje and Theatre Museum of Vojvodina. If you happen to be in Novi Sad, and already had a coffee in one of the ingenious local places, met the talented artists at the creative art hub located in the fortress, or admired the contemporary art of the region, it’s about the time for the next classy encounter with Serbia’s oldest theater - National Theater in Novi Sad.  

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