TUTA's mission is to excite the American audience with theatre that is both relevant and challenging in both form and/or content. TUTA continually searches for the unique and exceptional in the language of theatre, be it verbal, physical, or visual, in order to express ideas and expose questions vital to contemporary American society. TUTA is committed to producing theatrical and educational events that bridge all forms of cultural and geographical divides.
TUTA was originally established in Washington D.C. by Zeljko and Natasha Djukic in 1995. Gleaning innovative yet fundamental theatrical principles from their European homeland, this dynamic couple imported a unique sense of artistic expression when they arrived in the US. With three short Brecht plays, The Wedding/The Chalk Cross/The Beggar, as the company's inaugural production, TUTA began the precedent of employing radical stagings of both modern and classical texts. Artistic Director Zeljko Djukic's devotion to the creative process gave the actors and designers the time and space required for the production to flourish. After the critically acclaimed 2002 production of Heiner Muller's Quartet, the Djukics decided to relocate the company to Chicago and introduce TUTA to one of the most important theatre communities in the world.
Upon its Chicago arrival, TUTA began a continuing series of workshops to foster artistic development which yielded a small yet nimble ensemble of artists and designers. This collective captured a renewed physical and emotional imagination which laid the foundation for future productions. The US premiere of Peter Handke's The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other was TUTA's first production in its newly adopted hometown. The wordless, enigmatic text was a perfect vehicle for TUTA to introduce itself to Chicago theatre audiences. It was followed by an adaptation of the popular Lewis Carroll favorite, Alice, which artfully dealt with the complexities of movement, identity, the crisis of language, and the distorted illusions of theatre. Over the next 7 years, TUTA continued with theatrical experimentation but stayed accessible to its growing audience.
Housing a menagerie of international artists, TUTA has gone to great lengths to promote little known European playwrights. A large portion of the company's audience (over 40%) do not speak English as their primary language. By producing the US premiere of 8 different European plays, TUTA is proud to offer this large audience access to cultural events. Showing impressive artistic foresight, TUTA staged two US premieres from the late french playwright Jean-Luc Legarce (Rules for Good Manners in the Modern World and It's Only the End of the World) who is now the 2nd most produced playwright in France. TUTA's entire 2006 season consisted of world premieres by two young, Serbian playwrights. Huddersfield by Ugljesa Sajtinac and Tracks by Milena Markovic were landmark productions for the company. Huddersfield was seen by over 1300 people and Tracks became so popular that it was remounted again the following season.
TUTA productions have been featured on multiple "Top Ten" lists in the past dozen years according to local publications and TUTA patrons have been committed to supporting a theatre with a sensibility unlike any other in town. Inside a country reeling from social and economic uncertainty, the artistic community should be called on to serve the community. In these difficult times, TUTA is committed to difficult theatre.