Published: Wednesday, 22.02.2012

World premiere of the play Fiddler on the Roof in

Yesterday, the world premiere of the play Fiddler on the Roof took place in the packed SOS Social Center Lekenik. The cast included the child actors from the SOS Children's Village Lekenik Little Fairy Tale Theatre, whose performances in this demanding play received a standing ovation. Cheering them on from the first row were grown up masters of the acting craft Goran Navojec, Leon Lučev, and Kristijan Ugrina, as well as the film director Silvije Petranović.

In addition to being one of the longest-running musicals in the world, Fiddler on the Roof was also adapted for film in 1971. A year later, the film version won 3 Oscars and 5 Golden Globes. This warm and bittersweet story about a poor Jewish milkman from Tsarist Russia whose family traditions are threatened when his daughters want to choose their husbands themselves, and whose very survival is at stake due to the pogroms against Jews and the upcoming revolution, was translated to big screen by director Norman Jewison. The film was shot in Croatia, mostly in Lekenik, but also in Mala Gorica, M. Ves and Zagreb. The two-time Oscar winner Branko Lustig was the location manager on the film and it is primarily thanks to him that part of Hollywood resided in Croatia for a while.

Forty years later, the Hermann Gmeiner Social Center in the SOS Children's Village Lekenik held a world premiere of the short play FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. The cast consisted of children from the SOS Children's Village Little Fairy Theatre: Kristina, Petra, Diana, Marina, Martin and Nikola-Aleksandar. The lyrical text accompanying the film footage is the work of the writer Rusmir Agačević, who is also a creative workshops coordinator in the SOS Children's Village Social Center. He also directed the play. Neda Mrđan, the art teacher from the elementary school Lauder-Hugo Kon in Zagreb provided the vivid drawings used in the stage design.

The director of SOS Children's Village Lekenik Mario Čović said: “We gave our support to this worthy project. Cooperation with the local community is very important to us. Our little actors demonstrated their enviable acting skills even before the premiere, through 40 rehearsals and two short previews of the play, and their first full performance was superb. I think everyone was in awe. I am proud of our children!”

Rusmir Agačević, the author and director of the play, added: “This premiere is as important for our little actors as bread and salt. They touched the sky with their joy and pride in being on the stage and testifying to the beauty and magic of theatre. I am proud of their efforts and dreams invested in this challenging and serious play.”

The actor Goran Navojec was full of praise for his young colleagues. “Watching these child actors relive the film scenes in such a captivating theatre performance was fascinating. They were fantastic. The experience was wonderful. The first time I saw the movie Fiddler on the Roof, I was 10 years old, and it made a deep impression on me. I remember the phenomenal lead actor Topol, and the song If I Were A Rich Man. I also remember the set design of the village, but it was only much later, when I was a student at the Drama Academy, that I learned that Fiddler was shot here, so I am really happy to be at the location of the movie”. Funnily enough, Goran Navojec recently sang a famous song from Fiddler on the Roof – If I Were A Rich Man – on the TV show Singing with Stars with his singing coach Ivana Kindl. They eventually won the entire competition.

Leon Lučev joined the chorus of praise: “The kids were wonderful. They took the theme of the play seriously. It is so important for the children to grow in an artistic environment and see art and performance as normal part of their daily lives. This will leave its mark on them regardless of what they choose to do later in life. I am here to show my support, not only for this project, but also for the idea of SOS Children's Village as a whole.”

The play Fiddler on the Roof is part of the project Fiddler on the Roof – 40 years later, which marks the anniversary of the film shoot in Croatia, while at the same time promoting Croatian tourism and culture as well as Jewish institutions in Croatia. In addition to celebrating the anniversary of the film shoot, the project was designed to expand the list of tourist attractions in Croatia, to further the promotion of cultural tourism, and to offer the tour of all film locations as a way of contributing to the development of historical context that will serve as a basis for the interpretation of historical and cultural landmarks, as well as cultural events.

SOS Children's Village Croatia has been looking after children without parents or parental care since 1992, providing them with love and security in the family environment, a permanent home and education needed to enjoy happy and peaceful childhood. The association is also active in the field of child rights and its work is fully dedicated to the needs and problems of children.


PLAY: Fiddler on the Roof
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Rusmir Agačević- Rus, creative workshops coordinator in the SOS Children's Village Lekenik Social Center
PERFORMED BY: members of the SOS Children's Village Little Fairy Tale Theatre: Kristina, Petra, Diana, Marina, Martin and Nikola-Aleksandar
COSTUME DESIGN, STAGE DESIGN AND TECHNICAL PRODUCTION: Mirjana Perić-Agačević, SOS aunt in the SOS Children's Village Lekenik
SET DRAWINGS: Neda Mrđan, art teacher, elementary school Lauder-Hugo Kon, Zagreb

Lekenik Tourist Board, Jewish Education Center Rimon,
Maydi film & video Zagreb, SOS Children's Village Lekenik, Elementary School Lauder - Hugo Kon – Zagreb, Mobile Music School “Sound Planet” – Zagreb.

Project activities

- Short play Fiddler on the Roof – SOS Children's Village Lekenik
- Celebrating the 40th anniversary of film being shot in Croatia and wining 3 Oscars - Lekenik
- Alternative Outdoor Festival of String Instruments - Lekenik
- Documentary Fiddler on the Roof in Croatia – directed by Silvije Petranović (Maydi film & video)
- Story book Fiddler on the Roof
- Theme museum in Lekenik


Friday, 22.11.2019

A weekend dedicated to flight

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Thursday, 21.11.2019

Our kids reveal in-depth knowledge of children’s rights

SOS Children's Village Ladimirevci Children’s Parliament holds a session to mark the World Children’s Day.

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Monday, 18.11.2019

Proud of our Ivan

After living in SOS Youth Facility and completing high school, our young people either join the labour market successfully or they continue on to college. We are proud of our Ivan, who just earned his bachelor’s degree in physics!

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