The summer season is a busy one for English-language performance in Prague with festivals, large-scale musicals, summer courses and much more. Here are our top tips!
Prague Fringe Festival
Now in its 12th year, this annual performance marathon is back from 24th May – 1st June. Theatre companies from all over the world land in Prague and take over the theatres (and bars!) of Mala Strana for 9 days to share their original works comprising theatre, dance, comedy, music, mime and much more.
When I’m not penning articles for Expats.cz, I’m lucky enough to work on the Fringe with Festival Director and long-term expat Steve Gove, who told me how excited he is about the standard of work on offer this year. “2013 really is an award-winning edition of the festival” he said. “We have such a great programme of high quality performances lined-up. As well as previous Prague Fringe award winners returning with new works, there are also shows which have won awards at other Fringe festivals across the globe including Atlanta, Stockholm, and even the big-hitters Edinburgh, Adelaide, and the National Arts Festival in South Africa – all fellow members of the World Fringe Alliance which Prague Fringe co-founded.”
Here are a few insider recommendations to check out:
Stuperstition: Sleight of hand, illusion, and thought-provoking demonstrations combined to explore the theme of modern-day superstition. (Adelaide Fringe Weekly Award winner)
Ragulabuggla: A Tale About an Environmental Refugee. An interactive multi-genre performance about the human condition. (Stockholm Fringe Festival Award for Outstanding Artist/Act)
Marcel Lucont: Gallic Symbol Comedy with a stack of rave reviews. (Winner: Best Comedy Show, Edinburgh Fringe, and Adelaide Fringe Weekly Award.)
City of Lions and Gods: A magical interpretation of a true story of intrigue, love and deception (Best Play, Atlanta Fringe)
The full detailed programme including venues and performance times will be live at www.fringe.cz from 1st May. Tickets for all shows are just 150 CZK (100 CZK for students) and can be purchased in advance via www.ticketstream.cz. All shows are an hour or under and run from early evening until late night so you can easily catch more than one show per day. Look out for exclusive coverage of the event including previews and reviews on our dedicated micro-site www.expats.cz/praguefringe/
From the director of last year’s sell-out musical Sweeney Todd, the Playhouse’s next production, The Glass Menagerie, is one of the most well-known plays of the iconic paragon of American theatre, Tennessee Williams. This time, the company has taken the interesting decision to form two casts: an American cast, all of whom are American or speak with an American accent with perfect fluency and a Czech cast who, while speaking in English, bring their own unique perspective and cultural knowledge to the process.
The show plays at Divadlo Na Pradle (Besedni 3, Prague 1) May 2, 3, 4, 15, 16 & 17 at 19:30, as well as a matinee on May 4 at 14:00. (The Czech cast will play on the 3rd and 15th.)
Tickets are 250 CZK for general admission and 220 CZK for students (up to 26) and seniors (65 and over) on sale now via www.pragueplayhouse.com
The popular Playhouse acting classes are continuing on Monday and Wednesday nights at 18:30 and they are also planning a summer intensive class July 29- August 9: 10 days of intensive work on the foundations of acting. More info at www.acting.cz.
Blood, Love and Rhetoric:
BLR are rounding off their very busy and successful 2012/13 season with a rendition of the musical Chess at Divadlo Palace (Vaclavske Namesti 43, Prague 1) from May 16 – 18 at 19:30. This highly acclaimed musical, written by ABBA members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and with lyrics by Tim Rice, develops the ancient and distinguished game of chess into a metaphor for romantic rivalries and East-West political intrigue. Tickets cost 300 CZK and can be reserved at www.blrtheatre.com.
They’ll also be reviving their annual al fresco (under a willow tree) showing of Buchner’s brilliant, funny, and weirdly disturbing story Woyzeck – Murder In The Park in the beautiful surroundings of Stromovka Park in June. This free show is accompanied by original music by Eddy Allen from the popular band CCTV Allstars. BLR will also be continuing their Improv Comedy nights with shows in June and July. Check www.blrtheatre.com for dates and further information.
Prague Youth Theatre
Prague Youth Theatre (PYT) continues to grow. A new class, PYT Dance, began at the beginning of April and currently there are over 80 children and young people enrolled across five groups. Artistic Director Adam Stewart told me that rehearsals are well underway for their upcoming performances in June. PYT Juniors present Morgan and the Martians by Victoria Twead on Tuesday June 18 and Thursday June 20, and PYT Seniors will perform The Musicians by Patrick Marber on Monday June 24 and Tuesday June 25. The youngest group, PYT Tots, will present the well-known children’s books The Ravenous Beast and Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book on Wednesday June 19. All performances take place at Divadlo Kampa, and tickets for all shows can be purchased at www.ticketstream.cz
During July, PYT will hold summer courses intended for children and young people who love acting or who are interested in theatre production. Students on the summer courses will have the opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills, work with professional actors and directors, and rehearse for a final performance at the end of the week for friends and family. For more information about our summer courses or any of the courses on offer please visit www.pyt.cz
Prague Shakespeare Company
Continental Europe’s premiere English-language Shakespeare company is presenting a special tragedy dell’arte production of The Duchess of Malfi as part of the Prague Fringe Festival. See www.fringe.cz for full programme details.
While it has not yet been officially announced, the PSC 2013-14 season will include performances of Shakespeare’s Henry V, Cymbeline, As You Like It, and Julius Caesar, David Ives’ Venus in Fur and David Sedaris’ Santaland Diaires (starring Pavel Kříž). All the Shakespeare productions will feature Czech subtitles. Productions will play in the new PSC permanent home Divadlo Kolowrat in the Kolowratsky Palac in the heart of the city. Check the PSC website for more information: www.pragueshakespeare.cz
If you think you’ve got what it take to tread the boards as part of the cast of PSC then get the 21st and 22nd of May in your diary and prepare yourself for Prague’s round of auditions (full details via www.pragueshakespeare.cz from 1st May).
Akanda and A Broad’s Way Productions’ multi-media collaboration ‘Beirut’ will take place at Meet Factory on the 25th and 26th of June. The play is set in a dystopian not-too-distant future in which a sexually transmitted disease has caused cities to be torn in half – the land of the Positives, and the land of the Negatives. The story is centred around a couple who are both very much in love, and are also torn apart due to this disease. More information about this exciting project at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Akanda/155036074733 and https://www.facebook.com/ABroadsWay
National Theatre Live:
Continuing their programme of live broadcasts from the stage of the National Theatre in London, Kino Aero is streaming two more shows this season, the new political drama This House (May 16, 19:45) and The Audience, starring Helen Mirren (June 13, 19:45). Full details to be found here.
For regular theatre listings, don’t forget to check the theatre section of our What’s On pages here.
Do you have any hot tips for theatre-goers this season? Let us know in the comments below!