Engaging Society – Theatre & Politics on and off stage

19 – 20 October 2015 in Prague (Czech Republic)

WS_engaging-society-wideWhat is the new political theatre? Where is the border between art and activism? How powerful can art be?


Whether it’s the support for an open society in the middle of the refugee crisis, or taking a stance against controversial politicians, engaging-society-rectanglethe role of the art institutions is changing. With the rising political and social problems in Europe, performing arts organisations are more and more involved in activities which are touching neuralgic points in society. Theatres, theatre companies and individual artists are shifting to the socially responsible art.

Who Should Attend

We invite artists, directors and creative leaders from European performing arts houses to join us for this workshop on the future role of the arts in a (political) society.

Why Join Us?

Organised by the Archa Theatre – one of the Czech Republic’s foremost space for alternative drama, dance and music- the Ztohoven - Red Boxer Shortsworkshop combines in-depth information on the role and practices of political theatre with practical best-practice examples of current socially specific theatre.

Contributors include the founder of Arch Theatre – Ondřej Hrab, Tomas Vrba of New York University, Jana Svobodova and Philipp Schenker (vadi-nevadi.cz) Jiri Havelka and Ondrej Cihlar (Dechovka), Linda and Mathias Straub (artists focused on participative theatre) and art activists Ztohoven, who just repaced the flag over the roof of the presidential residence in Prague Castle with a large pair of red boxer shorts.

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Programme Overview

Monday October 19

13.00 Welcome and lunch

14.00 – 15.30 History of the political and socially specific theatre
From the Living Theatre to the Rimini Protokoll – by Ondřej Hrab

16.00 – 17.30 How politics mingle with art.
Cultural history of Central Europe. From the national enlightenment in 19. Century via underground culture during the Communist regime to playwright Vaclav Havel as president. – talk with Tomas Vrba, professor of the New York University, Prague.

17.30 – 19.00 Dinner

19.00 performance vadi-nevadi.cz (Matter-Doesn’t Matter)
in Archa Theatre, na Poříčí 26 performed by “experts on everyday life”.
Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 13.55.33In the small East Bohemian town of Kostelec nad Orlicí three communities live side by side not communicating to each other: ethnic Czechs (long-time residents), Roma, and immigrants in the local refugee camp. A team from the Archa Theatre together with representatives of all these groups created a moving theatrical depiction of life in a regular town.

21.00 performance Dechovka (Brass Band)
in Baráčnická rychta, Tržiště 23
Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 13.54.03Dechovka reconstructs several historical events which defined the fate of the residents of a small town. Verbatim reconstruction of the town meeting deciding whether to build the monument to German victims of the bloody revenge when the World War II was over and people were celebrating the Victory day. For the Czechs the dark shadow of acts which some would prefer to forget has after many years emerged again. The performance is happening in the real pub in Prague. Those who would prefer to stay in Prague longer have also chance to see Dechovka on Sunday October 18 or on Tuesday October 20.

Tuesday October 20

10.00 – 12.00 How we Engage Society: Talk to the creators
Talk to the creators the theatre pieces of vadi-nevadi.cz (Jana Svobodova, Philipp Schenker) and Dechovka (Jiri Havelka, Ondrej Cihlar), Linda and Mathias Straub (artists focused on participative theatre) and art activists Ztohoven.

12.00 – 13.00 wrap up

13.00 Farewell lunch

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Practical Information

This workshop is organised and hosted by Divadlo Archa Theatre

Address: Archa Theatre, Na Poříčí 26 , Prague

How to get to Archa Theatre

Vaclav Havel Airport to Archa Theatre

  • AE (Aeroport Expres) takes you directly to station Náměstí Republiky (Paladium), which is about 5 min.walking from Archa. For this bus you buy ticket at the driver and costs CZK 60,- (ca €3)
  • Taxi (ca 35 min journey) The price for the taxi to Prague centre should cost around 600 – 800CZK (ca 25-30€)

Walk from Airport Bus to Archa

Praha hl. n. – main train station to Archa Theatre

  • It is a 10 minute walk from the Main train station to the theatre.

walk from prague main station to Archa

Hotel Recommendations

For any enquiries concerning logistics, please contact: Jindřich Krippner, +420777307335

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