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Tadija Miletić, Theatre director, playwright and motivational speaker

The Perpetual Quest for Purpose

”The greatest wisdom in life is to find your true incentive,” said one great man whose works I love to read. My journey has never followed the conventional path; it has been a mosaic of passions and pursuits that extend far beyond what I ever envisaged as a child. Born into the artistic Miletić family, my life is a tapestry woven with threads of music, theatre, education and inspiration.

I was immersed in the enchanting world of the theatre from a tender age. The magic of my father’s performances, vibrant legends on stage, and the soaring voices of opera singers were the routine of my childhood. I began playing the piano as soon as my fingers could reach the keys, finding solace in music during the tumultuous years of my country’s violent dissolution. Music became my sanctuary, where I delved into long hours of piano, music theory and opera singing, each discipline a refuge, but still immersed in the security, support and love by my family. Many things looked pointless during those year, but somehow, everything was an inspiration to endure.

It was while I was still in high school that my path took an unexpected yet understandable turn. I began working at Madlenianum Opera in Belgrade as an assistant director, where I took on many roles from both sides over the next 15 years. This experience provided a window to the world that I became an integral part of and a launchpad for entering the professional world.

“How fast do I need to run to start flying?” wrote another author. To achieve more, to stop waiting, I gathered a group of talented young artists and founded Cultural Element (Kulturni element), an organisation dedicated to promoting culture through innovative means. Together, we are among the most prominent artistic groups and have brought to life more than a hundred theatrical, operatic, artistic, charitable and dance projects.

I am reminded that our creations are our legacies, a symphony of passion and perseverance, the perpetual quest for purpose

“Please Sir, I want some more,” wrote Dickens in Oliver Twist. My academic journey is concluding in the final stage of my Ph.D. in theatre direction, focusing on the profound connection between musical and spoken theatre. As a respected member of Mensa, I served on the presidency and have been editor-in-chief of Mensa’s “MozaIQ” magazine for eight years. Apart from these activities, I also became director of the international opera competition “Lazar Jovanović”, representing the region’s most prestigious opera competition.

I recently advanced to the position of Associate Professor at the Faculty of Contemporary Arts and also teach at the Belgrade Dance Institute. This dual role allows me to nurture the next generation of artists, learning from them in the same way I learnt from my own professors. One of my most cherished roles is that of motivational speaker. Touring Serbia nationwide, I have held numerous lectures, sharing my passion and inspiring others.

Opportunities soon led me beyond the borders of my homeland, to places like Monte Carlo and Nagoya, where I directed and collaborated on international projects. I have so far directed, assisted, or written for more than 35 operas and plays. I recently directed Madame Butterfly at the National Theatre in Sarajevo, and with Cultural Element, travelled from Beijing just a few months ago, where my play was presented to a Chinese audience.

“I must know that life will not pass by me,” admitted a dear friend of mine. The pursuit of artistic excellence is a relentless yet beautiful journey, a dance between dream and reality. With each note, each word and each performance, I am reminded that our creations are our legacies, a symphony of passion and perseverance, the perpetual quest for purpose. Let’s compose the future, but let’s do so as a melody of hope and inspiration, forever resonating in the hearts of those who listen.

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