Do you want to learn something about Czech history but have only an hour to spare? Well, it’s not impossible. A group of young actors from Prague have put together a theatrical show called History of Czechs in 68 Minutes. They have been staging the play at the Disk theatre, right in the city centre, luring the viewers among the crowds of tourists heading towards the Charles Bridge.
A walk down the High Street in Scotland’s capital Edinburgh might normally present you with scenic views and the chance to buy some whiskey and woolens. But not so during the month of August, when the thoroughfare is transformed by the city’s fringe festival and, more specifically, the hundreds of performers clambering to sell tickets to their shows. Now in its 61st year, the Edinburgh fringe is said to be the biggest arts festival on the planet, attracting performers and visitors from all over the globe. This year, more Czechs are on the bill
The Edinburgh fringe is one of the biggest arts festivals in the world, with the Scottish capital more than doubling in population during the three weeks each August when the fringe takes place. Parks, churches and even public toilets are all transformed into venues, attracting performers and visitors from all over the globe. This year, five Czech theatre groups are in Edinburgh to perform at the festival. They are part of the ‘Czech Republic @ The Fringe’ season, coordinated by Ladislav Pflimpfl from the Czech Centre in London. I caught up with
Throughout June, the Czech capital Prague is playing host to the ninth annual Nine Gates festival of Czech-German-Jewish culture. Nine Gates is a combination of music, theatre and literature of the period before the Second World War, when Prague was a multiethnic, multicultural city, most of whose inhabitants were comfortable speaking both Czech and German.
'Little Otik' is topping the bill at the National Theatre of Scotland this season. The play is an adaptation of Czech animator Jan Švankmajer’s film ‘Otesánek’, which is in turn an adaptation of a Czech fairytale. The story? A childless couple carve a baby out of a tree stump, only to look on in horror as it starts to develop an appetite for human flesh. The Scottish theatre’s choice sparked controversy when it was unveiled earlier in the year. On the eve of the play’s final performance, I asked director Matthew Lenton what had attracted him to
Theatres and other state-subsidised arts institutions were celebrating victory over Prague’s City Council this week after councillors scrapped a controversial new system of awarding subsidies. The system – under which Prague’s theatres were subsidised according to the number of tickets sold – sparked a wave of protest by arts organisations and even led to angry artists disrupting a meeting of the city council.
The former Czech president Václav Havel has largely refrained from interfering in or commenting on domestic politics since stepping down as president five years ago. But this weekend he seemed to cross that fine line between general philosophising on the state of society and making overtly political gestures, when he said people in Prague should not vote for the right-of-centre Civic Democrats in the forthcoming elections.
Hundreds gathered outside Prague’s National Theatre on Sunday to witness an eight-hour-long protest against the way the arts are funded in the Czech capital. The event - comprising of performances, speeches and concerts staged by Czech stars - marked the opening of the ‘Dny neklidu’ (‘Days of Unrest’). The festival, which calls on Prague City Hall to change the way it deals out its culture budget, has been largely masterminded by actors and producers at the capital’s Švandovo Divadlo. I paid this Smíchov theatre a visit to talk to event organiser
Václav Havel’s "Leaving", the playwright and former president’s first play in two decades, premiered successfully on Thursday evening at Prague’s Archa Theatre. The staging has already received praise from a number of Czech critics. On the eve of premiere, Mr Havel, 71, joked he had never seen so many journalists - who got a sneak preview – at a cultural event. "Leaving" is directed by David Radok and stars Czech-born actor Jan Tříska in the role of a top politician leaving office. Zuzana Stivínová replaced actress Dagmar Havlová, Mr Havel’s wife, in the play after she withdrew citing overwork. An English-language staging of the play is being prepared for this autumn at London’s Orange Tree Theatre.
Prague’s seventh annual Fringe Festival, a marathon of theatre, dance, comedy, music and film from around the world, gets underway in the Czech capital on Sunday. Running for eight days, it will offer 227 English, Czech or non-verbal shows performed by 39 companies. Steven Gove, the man behind the Prague Fringe Festival, told me what is on offer this year:
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