Haris Pašović

Haris Pašović has been one of the leading theatre directors in South East Europe for more than three decades. He has directed a number of shows and participated in many of festivals worldwide including Edinburgh International Festival; Festival d’Avignon; UK City of Culture; Napoli Teatro Festival Italia; National Arts Festival of South Africa; Singapore Arts Festival. His productions of Frank Wedekind’s “Spring’s Awakening” has been considered a landmark in the theatre of the former Yugoslavia. During the Siege of Sarajevo he produced a legendary “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett directed by Susan Sontag and he established the Sarajevo Film Festival. His visual artwork “Sarajevo Red Line”, an 825 m long installation in the centre of Sarajevo made the headlines around the world in 2012. He’s directed some massive spectacles like “Romeo and Juliet” (Sarajevo); “Conquest of Happiness” (Derry/Londonderry) and “A Century of Peace after the Century of the Wars” (Sarajevo) involving dozens of participants as well as a number of vehicles; live music and video-projections. He is a director of East West Centre Sarajevo. Currently, Pašović has been developing “Wonderful Life,” a postopera about one of the most significant Viennese families in the 20st century the Wittgensteins and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

He directed in some of the most important theatres in the former Yugoslavia and participated in a number of festivals worldwide. His productions of Frank Wedekind’s “Spring’s Awakening” and “Calling the Birds” based on Aristophanes’ play “The Birds” (both at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, Belgrade 1987/90) have been considered as the landmarks in the theatre of the former Yugoslavia. Likewise, Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” (Belgrade Drama Theatre) and Alfred Jarry’s “Ubu Roi” (National Theatre Subotica) have been considered as the classic productions in the ex-Yugoslav theatre, the former being the last Yugoslav premiere performed on the eve of the war in the country. As the artistic leader of theatre “Promena” (“Change”), Pašović directed with a great success Peter Wiess’ “Marat/Sade”; Alexander Wedensky’s “The Christmas Three at the Ivanovs”; ’ “Simon the Magus” by Danilo Kiš on the lake surrounded by sand desert; Luis Bunuel’s “Hamlet” placed in a fortress sitting on a rock rising from the Adriatic Sea (Dubrovnik Summer Festival) and many other plays.

During the siege of Sarajevo (1992-95) Pašović spent most of the time in Sarajevo managing the MES International Theatre Festival. He directed plays and produced several shows, among others now legendary “Waiting for Godot”, directed by Susan Sontag. This work with Ms. Sontag has been reported across the globe and has become a reference in the history of theatre. In 1993, while Sarajevo was still under the siege, he also organized the first Sarajevo Film Festival “Beyond the End of the World”. Pašović managed even to tour in 1994 in France and several other European countries (under the UNESCO auspices) with the Sarajevo Festival Ensemble invited by Peter Brook and the Bouffe du Nord Theatre. During the tour, the Ensemble preformed two productions he had directed in the besieged city: “Silk Drums” based on the Noh plays, and “In the Country of Last Things”, based on Paul Auster’s novel in which he collaborated with Vanessa Redgrave and Maurice Benichou.

After the war, Pašović directed several documentaries including “Greta”, a story on Prof. Greta Ferušić who survived both Auschwitz death camp and the Siege of Sarajev o; also “National Geography”, a film about missing people from the Srebrenica genocide; a documentary trilogy entitled “Home,” “Love Thy Neighbour” and “The Balkans – Blood and Honey” about the American journalists David Rieff, Peter Maass and Ron Haviv, who had reported from the Bosnian war and an art documentary entitled “À propos de Sarajevo” about the Sarajevo International Jazz Festival. Some of these documentaries were shown at the New York Jewish Film Festival in Lincoln Centre, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, as well as at the Museum of Modern Arts in Stockholm, the Contemporary Arts Institute in London, at the IDFA Festival in Amsterdam, the Mediterranean Film Festival in Rome, as well as at the Sarajevo Film Festival and several others.

In 2002, he made a spectacular comeback to theatre directing Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in front of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina in downtown Sarajevo. This was a brave futuristic production about a Muslim Romeo and a Christian Juliet, which involved 25 actors and musicians playing on the 1500 sq. m of stage, a 60-member crew, arms, military vehicles, fireworks, video projections across the façade of the Parliament building and it halted the traffic in the main city artery for 4 hours each night it was performed.

In 2004, Pašović wrote a play “Rebellion at the National Theatre”, inspired by McCoy’s novel “They Shoot the Horses, Don’t They?” and directed it at the National Theatre in Sarajevo.

In 2005, Pašović established the East West Theatre Company. He directed William Shakespeare’s «Hamlet» as the biggest regional co-production in decades with an international cast. His “Hamlet” was situated on the Ottoman court and Hamlet was a young Muslim prince fighting a corrupt state. «Hamlet» was named as the Theatrical Event of the Year 2005, while Pašović was named the Person of the Year 2005 /Theatre. This show toured in St. Petersburg, Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana.

In 2006, Pašović directed a visually striking production of “Faust” based on Christopher Marlowe’s play and the texts of Emil Cioran. It was a futuristic show about artificial intelligence, bio-robots and ethics in the future. The show opened 2006 International Theatre Festival MES Sarajevo.

The same year Pašović directed Roger Vitrac’s “Victor or the Children in Power” at the ZKM Theatre, Zagreb, Croatia.

In 2007, Pašović adapted and directed “Class Enemy” by Nigel Williams that had a huge international success participating at some of the most prestigious Festivals in the world such as Edinburgh International Festival, Singapore Arts Festival, Sibiu International Festival, International Theatre Festival Kontakt Poland and others. Singapore’s Strait Times, and The Flying Inkpot, the main theatre review portal in Singapore, chose “Class Enemy” two times as the Best Play of 2008 in Singapore. The International Jury of KONTAKT Festival in Torun, Poland awarded “Class Enemy” The Best Contemporary Play Award.

In 2008, Pašović together with Tamara Curić, a Croatian choreographer, choreographed and directed “Bolero” by Maurice Ravel. It opened “Platforma”, a contemporary dance festival in Zagreb.

In 2009, Pašović directed Henrik Ibsen “Nora” becoming an instant success. The play was shown in Sarajevo and toured in Macedonia at the Ohrid Summer Festival and opened an International Theatre Festival Desire in Subotica.

In 2010, Haris Pašović was the author and the director of an international theatre dance production “Football, Football”. The play was coproduced together with East West Theatre Company, Napoli Teatro Festival, Singapore Arts Festival, Les Ballet C de la B, a legendary contemporary dance company and Flota Institute from Slovenia. “Football, Football” played in the main programmes of Singapore Arts Festival and the biggest African theatre festival. It also opened the biggest Italian theatre festival that year Napoli Teatro Festival and performed in Sarajevo with big success. The artists coming from 4 continents (Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia) and 7 countries (Italy, Slovenia, Singapore, Burkina Faso, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China and Australia) got together in this unique piece, the biggest about the football ever produced. “Football, Football” was a highlight of the National Arts Festival in South Africa that was taking place during the FIFA World Cup 2010.

In 2011 Pašović has directed a spectacular show “Europe Today” based on an essay by Mirosal Krleža, a biggest Croatian author, featuring some of the greatest artists in the Balkans – Miki Manojlović, an internationally acclaimed actor; Edward Clug, a dancer and choreographer and Laibach, a neoclassic bend.

The same year, Pašović directed a music/contemporary dance show “Roses for Anna Teresa – Football Stories” (co-authored with Edward Clug) with a cast of international dancers.

In April 2012, Pašović created a concept and directed “Sarajevo Red Line” commemorating those who were killed in the city’s siege twenty years earlier. “Sarajevo Red Line” was a concert and a visual art installation consisted of 11,541 red chairs, one for each victim, placed on the main Sarajevo street. The event was attended by dozens of thousands of people and made the headlines worldwide. Some of the biggest world television stations (BBC, CNN, ABC and many others) reported the whole day about this event and all major media virtually around the globe reported about “Sarajevo Red Line.”

The same year Pašović wrote and directed “Society of Spectacle,” a political comedy inspired by Guy Debord’s works.

In 2013, Pašović teamed up with the composer Danijel Žontar and soprano Aida Čorbadžić and they created a beautiful classical concert for voice and piano “Songs of Water, Bread and Love” inspired by the traditional songs from South-East Europe. Pašović branded it, half-jokingly, as the “best kept secret in the Balkans and it is that we can be wonderful too!”

Also in 2013, Pašović directed to the great critical acclaim one of the biggest international co-productions that year – “The Conquest of Happiness,” a spectacular theatre event inspired by the writing of Bertrand Russell, which had its World Premiere in the UK at the Derry/Londonderry City of Culture. The show took place at the Ebrington Barracks overlooking the Peace Bridge and the city of Derry/Londonderry. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the show opened the International Theatre Festival MES. It was performed in a magical setting under the Old Bridge in Mostar at the meeting point of two rivers. The show involved an international cast and a 150-member choir. A dozen of vehicles (military vehicles, bulldozer, motorbikes, buses and tracks) were moving around during the show in what looked as a massive film set.

In 2014, Pašović staged the multimedia event “A Century of Peace After the Century of the Wars.” An epic production about the war and peace was staged on the famous Latin Bridge in Sarajevo’s Old City, the exact location of the Sarajevo Assassination that triggered the First World War. More than 300 participants on stage coming form 11 countries and as big the technical crew and production staff created a remarkable event composed of music, lights, drama and video – playing on the stone bridge over the river for more than 10.000 spectators and television audience across the region. Pašović’s work was again reported internationally as the first big artistic event commemorating the WWI.

In 2015, his show “Hope” premiered in the main program of the Avignon Festival, France.

The same year, his show “Roses for Anna Teresa” performed at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm as a part of the Swedish tour.

Also, the same year Pašović gave the speech at the Lincoln Center Global Initiative in New York of which he was one of the founding members.

Also in 2015 Pašović directed “Walter Defends Sarajevo” by Nick Yu at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre.

In 2016 Pašović directed the shows “What Would You Give Your Life For?” and “Uncovering a Woman” and also participated at the Clinton Global Initiative in NYC. He also directed the Bosnian performance at the 2016 Eurovision.

In 2017, Pašović directed two – “Searching” and “National Geography.”

Pašović writes the plays as well. He wrote the plays; “Rebellion at the National Theatre”, “Ulysses”, “Silk drums”, “Bolero, Sarajevo,” “Football, Football,” “What Would You Give Your Life For??” and “Uncovering a Woman.” He also adapted several plays including Alfred Jarry’s “Ubu Roi”, Aristophanes’ “The Birds”, Nigel Williams’ “Class Enemy” and several others.

He writes essays and articles (“Divine Uncertainty and the Fall of Nationalism” for BBC World Service; “City the Engaged” for the Iowa University Writing Program; “Love for Life with the Element of Divine Madness” as a key-not speech for the Edinburgh International Cultural Summit, etc.)

Pašović directed the short movies “Clown” and “Un Beau Film” (based on Guillaume Apollinaire’s short story) in 2012. He directs music videos and advertisements. In 2014, he directed “VISA World Cup Samba of the World – Bosnia and Herzegovina” advertisement.

Pašović gave a number of workshops and master-classes for directors and actors, as well as public lectures (Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Republic of Ireland; National Theatre of Scotland/Edinburgh International Festival; Queens University, Belfast; Drama Centre Singapore; Festival Desire Subotica, Serbia, etc.).

Pašović has received many awards including Best Director at BITEF Belgrade International Theatre Festival; Best Yugoslav Director, UCHIMURA Prize, Best Director at the MES International Theatre Festival, Sarajevo; Best Director at the Festival of Bosnian Theatres, etc. His shows as well as the actors and other artists working with Pašović have received numerous awards as well.

Pašović is a co-founder of the Directing Department at the Performing Arts Academy. Several of his students are today internationally acclaimed film directors. Pašović lives in Sarajevo. He is a professor of the Performing Arts Academy in Sarajevo and the Bled School of Management, Slovenia, where he teaches the subject Arts and Leadership. He is a visiting professor at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Selected Works

Theatre (director)

  •  2016 “Uncovering a Woman” (author H. Pašović) East West Center Sarajevo and National Theater Sarajevo
  •  2016 “What Would You Give Your Life For?” (author H. Pašović) East West Center Sarajevo; Promena Novi Sad; Bosnian National Theater Zenica; Ujvideki Sinhaz Novi Sad
  • 2015 “Walter Defends Sarajevo” (written by Nick Yu) Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center
  • 2015 “Hope” (concept by Pašović together with Lada Maglajlić and Enes Husienćehajić; direction Haris Pašović) – Festival d’Avignon, France
  • 2014 “A Century of Peace After the Century of the Wars” (concept by H. Pašović; different authors) East West Centre Sarajevo; Mission “Centenaire” Paris
  • 2013 “The Conquest of Happiness” (Concept and a play by H. Pašović in collaboration with Emma Jordan; based on the works of Bertrand Russell and different authors) City of Culture of UK Derry/Londonderry; Prime Cut Belfast; East West Center; Theater Mladinsko, Ljubljana
  • 2013 “Songs of Water, Bread and Love” a concert for voice and piano (concept by H. Pašović; composer Danijel Žontar) East West Center and National Theater Sarajevo
  • 2012 “Society of Spectacle” (by Haris Pašović) East West Center and Bosnian National Theater
  • 2012 “Sarajevo Red Line” (special event, concert, visual arts by Haris Pašović and group of collaborators)
  • 2011 “Roses for Anna Teresa” – theater/dance (concept H. Pašović, choreography Edward Clug; directon Haris Pašović) East West Center and Bosnian National Theatre
  • 2010 “Europe Today” (concept H. Pašović, based on the works of Miroslav Krleza) Slovenian National Theater Maribor and East West Center
  • 2010 “Football, Fotball” (by H. Pašović) Napoli Teatro Festival Italia; Singapore Arts Festival and East West Center Sarajevo
  • 2009 “Nora” (by Henrik Ibsen) East West Center
  • 2008 “Bolero, Sarajevo” (by Maurice Ravel; texts by H. Pašović; concept by H. Pašović; choreography by Tamara Curic) East West Center; Dance Center Tala Zagreb; National Theater Sarajevo)
  • 2007 “Class Enemy” (by Nigel Williams; adapted by H. Pašović) East West Center
  • 2006 “Victor or Children in Power” (by Roger Vitrac) Theater ZKM Zagreb
  • 2006 “Faust” (concept by H. Pašović based on Christopher Marlowe’s “Faust” and the texts by Emil Cioran) East West Center
  • 2005 “Hamlet” (by William Shakespeare) East West Center
  • 2004 “Rebellion at the National Theater” (by H. Pašović) National Theater Sarajevo
  • 2002 “Romeo and Juliet” (by William Shakespeare) International Theater Festival Mes Sarajevo
  • 1996 “Golden Eternal Braid” (based on the book by Douglas Hofstadter) Sarajevo Festival Ensemble and Saint Amsterdam
  • 1995 “Pieces of Resistance” (concept by H. Pašović) Sarajevo Festival Ensemble and La Bâtie – Festival de Genève
  • 1995 “Opera d’Arte” (concept H. Pašović) Sarajevo Festival Ensemble
  • 1994 “Silk Drums” (by H. Pašović, based on the Noh Plays) Sarajevo Festival Ensemble and National Theater Sarajevo
  • 1994 “In the Country of Last Things” (concept H. Pašović; based on the novel by Paul Auster)
  • 1993 “Alcestis” (by Euripides) Sarajevo Festival Ensemble
  • 1993 “City” (concept H. Pašović, based on the poetry by Sylvia Plath, Herbert Zbigniew, Constantin Cavafy and others)
  • 1992 “Ubo Roi” (by Alfred Jarry) National Theater Subotica
  • 1991 “Simon the Magus” (by Danilo Kis) Nathional Theater Subotica
  • 1991 “A Road to Nicaragua” (concept H. Pašović based on “Garden, Ashes” by Danilo Kis) National Theater Subotica
  • 1991 “Waiting for Godot” (by Samuel Beckett) Belgrade Drama Theater
  • 1990 “Rose of the Wind” (by Nenad Fisher) National Theater Subotica
  • 1989 “Calling the Birds” (concept by H. Pašović based on Aristophanes’ “The Birds” Yugoslav Drama Theater Belgrade
  • 1987 “Spring’s Awakening” (by Frank Wedekind) Yugoslav Drama Theater Belgrade
  • 1984 “Bremen’s Freedom” (by R. W. Fassbinder) Chamber Theatre 55 Sarajevo
  • 1984 “Hamlet” (by Luis Bunuel) Dubrovnik Summer Festival
  • 1984 “Marat/Sade” (by Peter Wiess) Theater Change Novi Sad
  • 1983 “A Christmas Tree at the Ivanovs” (by Alexander Wedensky OBERIU) Theater Change Novi Sad
  • 1982 “A Madman and a Nun” (by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz) Theater Change Novi Sad

Film, Video and Television – director

  • 2017 “National Geography” (East West Centre Sarajevo)
  • 2017 “Searching” – a documentary (East west Centre Sarajevo)
  • 2014 “Visa – World Cup: Samba Bosnia and Herzegovina” – advertisement
  • 2012 “Clown” a short movie (script H. Pašović) East West Centre
  • 2013 “Un Beau Film” a short movie (based on the story by Guillaume Apollinaire) East West Centre
  • 2010 “We Are Not An Enemy” – music video
  • 2002 -2012 A series of the corporate movies for the Bled School of Management Slovenia
  • 2004 “À Propos de Sarajevo” a documentary Space Production
  • 2000 “Love Thy Neighbor” a documentary Space Production
  • 2000 “The Balkans – Blood and Honey” a documentary Space Production
  • 1999 “Home” a documentary Space Production
  • 1998 “From Albania” documentary Space Production
  • 1997 “Greta”, a feature documentary Space Production
  • 1994 “Pain in Brain” music video
  • 1986 “Paradise Now” television drama Television Novi Sad


  • 2016 “Uncovering a Woman”- a play
  • 2016 “What Would You Give Your Life For?” – a play
  • 2014 “Divine Uncertainty and the Fall of Nationalism” essay BBC World Service
  • 2012 “Love for Life with an element of Divine Madness” essay – a keynote speech at the Edinburgh International Cultural Summit
  • 2012 “Society of Spectacle” – a play
  • 2009 “City the Engaged” essay International Writing Program University of Iowa
  • 2004 “Rebellion at the National Theatre” a play
  • Also: film-scripts, theatre adaptations and articles


  • Tenure professor of directing (theatre, film, television, radio) at the Performing Arts Academy Sarajevo; (His students include some of the most successful film directors in the Balkans such as Danis Tanović – Academy Award Winner; Jasmila Žbanić – Berlin International Film Festival Winner and Aida Begić, Cannes Film Festival Laureate).
  • Professor at the IEDC Bled School of Management, Slovenia (module: Arts and Leadership, Executive Programs)
  • Visiting professor, Acting – Master Program of the Academy of Arts, Novi Sad, Serbia
  • Master-classes, workshops, seminars, lectures
  • Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Republic of Ireland
  • National Theatre of Scotland/Edinburgh International Festival
  • Behind the Stage, Edinburgh International Festival
  • Queen’s University, Belfast
  • Drama Centre Singapore
  • Napoli Teatro Festival Italia
  • Festival Desire Subotica, Serbia
  • Festival Platforma, dance, Zagreb, Croatia
  • International Theatre Convention, Sarajevo, Festival MES
  • European Festival Association, Wiesbaden

Speaking and lecturing: Tailor made training programs by the IEDC Bled School of Management, Slovenia

This includes multiple speeches, lectures and panel discussions for the clients BAE Systems, UK and Achmea, The Netherlands.


  • 2017 Symi Symposium Crete (established and chaired by f. Prime minister of Greece Andreas Papandreou
  • 2017 Europa Forum Wachau, Austria (initiated by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Integration of Austria Sebastian Kurz)
  • 2017 Balkan Forum – Board of Trustees Member
  • 2017 A member of the jury “EFFE Award” for the best European artistic festivals
  • 2016 “The State of Europe” – Saving the European Peace Project: Human Security in Times of Crises, Athens – Security in Transition; Andreas Papandreou Foundation; Helsinki Assembly of Citizens – keynote speech
  • 2016 “Uncertainty and Theatre” – International Theatre Convention conference at the International Theatre Festival MES Sarajevo – keynote speech; also workshop
  • 2015 Lincoln Centre Global Initiative, New York, panellist
  • 2014 Central European Forum 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia, panelist
  • 2014 “Divine Uncertainty and the Fall of Nationalism” an opening essay for the BBC World Service series about the Great War
  • 2014 Speech “I brave the storm and I am not afraid to live”; Conference: Family, Generations and War – Historical, Psychological and Artistic views; Dutch National Committee for 4 and 5 May; Kunsthal Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2012 Keynote speech: “Love for Life with an Element of Divine Madness”; Edinburgh International Cultural Summit at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, UK
  • 2010 Speech: “Multilingualism in Theatre of the Future”; General Assembly of the European Theatre Convention, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 2006 Keynote speech “East West Centre Sarajevo” at the Asian Association of Performing Arts Festivals, Hong Kong

Also Pašović has participated at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative, New York and international conferences in 2014 Shanghai, China.

Education and professional training

His education includes the Academy of Performing Arts in Novi Sad, former Yugoslavia; the Fulbright Scholarship in the USA (University of Hawaii, Honolulu, New York University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison); the UNESCO High Levels for Directors, Festival d’Avignon, France, and other professional trainings such as: Scholarship at the Nordisk Theatre Institute, Denmark and two semesters on the Master Program of the Lancaster School of Management, UK.