This paper discusses various points about the response of the Serbian theatre to the social crisis of the 1990s. The focus here is on publicly-funded theatres and their role in pacifying or mobilizing theatre audiences either to participate in or revolt against the political projects which accompanied the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The Serbian theatre system in the 1990s entered a clear process of transformation of its models of management, production, financing, public relations and, naturally, the language and forms of expression inherited from the socialist 1980s. The chief interest of this study is the transformation of the theatre system since the end of World War II, theatrical interpretations of the historical and literary past in Serbia, the role of theatre in the identity ‘makeovers’ that followed the demise of Yugoslavia, and stage interpretations of contemporary crises. Consideration is also given to the present state of the theatre in Serbia.