Oliver Frljić was born in 1976 in Travnik, in today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina. His mother is of Serbian descent, his father – Croatian. After the break-up of Yugoslavia, his family settled in Croatia. Frljić studied philosophy and religious studies, and afterwards theatre direction at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb. From 2014-2016 he was Director of the National Theatre in Rijeka; he later resigned from that position in protest against the state’s historical and cultural policy. In his shows he deals with the neglected areas of Balkan historical memory, touching upon nationalist and religious fanaticism, collective and family traumas, tangled genealogies, and hatred. A director is a representative of critical, or as he calls it, political theatre. Juxtaposing various aesthetic languages, he oscillates on the verge of provocation and irony, boldly re-interpreting classic texts of European theatre to reveal inconvenient subjects and make theatre a venue for conflict, forcing spectators to confront their expectations and re-examine the stereotypes moulding their thinking. Frljić often criticizes the very institution of theatre (including himself as its representative and beneficiary) and takes notice of the limitations imposed by the system on the work methods and subjects undertaken by artists.
Oliver Frljić is the author of many awarded performances produced in almost all the former states of Yugoslavia, as well as in Germany and Austria (in Munich, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Graz) and shown at such festivals as Mess in Sarajevo, BITEF in Belgrade, Dubrovnik Summer Festival, EX Ponto in Ljubljana and Wiener Festwochen. He has presented his works at many festivals in Poland: Kontakt in Toruń, Dialog in Wrocław, the Festival of New Dramaturgies in Bydgoszcz. He has worked with Polish actors twice: in Narodowy Stary Teatr in 2013 (the premiere was cancelled by the theatre director Jan Klata) and Teatr Powszechny in Warsaw in which in 2017 he staged the performance Klątwa [The Curse], inspired by Stanisław Wyspiański’s play.