We are Vivien & Kalki, founders of the Balkan Retreat.
In 2015 we realised we wanted more from life: although the city was great for culture, we felt it lacked so much in terms of quality of life and didn't offer many alternative options. So we set our eyes to the villages of Serbia, where life was simpler and closer to nature, the cost of living was less and you gain so much more in freedom, healthy food, fresh air, great weather, and more opportunities to be self-sustainable.
Vivien is a half-Serbian tutor and theatre-maker/producer, born and raised in London. She loves nature and gardening, which sparked her interest in permaculture. She enjoys yoga and the balance that comes with healthy eating and living. In her spare time you will find her swimming at the nearby lake, writing poetry, painting, playing the guitar, and planning her Walden-style escape into the wild. Vivien has a BA in English and an MA in Text and Performance. She is owner of the Balkan Retreat and president of the Balkan Producing House, the sister foundation from which cultural projects are run.
Kalki is a Dutch actor, theatre producer and director from Amsterdam. He is also an amazing amateur cook and carpenter and loves to make cherry rakija (or any rakija for that matter), he can talk all night long about Greek mythology or entertain you with his dirty poetry. Kalki trained as an actor at Maastricht and obtained an MA in Text and Performance in London, where he met Vivien.
The Fruska Gora has become a home for us. And because of our background we have become a bit of a peculiarity here in Serbia since so many young people leave the villages for the capitals of western Europe. We have featured in three documentaries on Serbian TV, on RTV (Povratak na Selo), Agro TV (Harmonija) and RTV (Duše Ište Pozorište).
We believe that the Balkan Retreat is the place you didn't know you were looking for. Immersed in nature, you will discover the pleasure of a simpler life, built around friendship, ecology and creativity.
That is why our mission is to:
✼ Offer a place where everyone can feel at home
✼ Feed our guests with wholesome, organic food
✼ Live as sustainably and self-sufficiently as possible
✼ Become a demonstration and education site for our visitors
✼ Be a safe and inspiring space for performance professionals to create new work,
affordably and without constraint
✼ Offer a place where new creative projects can emerge