Theatre Night celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution


The third Saturday in November will once more see the biggest theatrical celebration of the year. The seventh edition of Theatre Night - this time with the theme “Theatre and Freedom” - will take place on 16 November 2019, on the eve of the 30th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. More than 100 theatres, companies and institutions from more than 30 cities across the Czech Republic will take part in the event. Theatres will once again offer non-traditional programmes such as evening tours and scavenger hunts, theatre workshops, thematic discussions and lectures, exhibitions and performances, all offered free of charge or for a nominal entrance fee. The event is coordinated by the Arts and Theatre Institute.

The biggest theatre celebration in Europe will once more offer remarkable experiences, prepared each year especially for this occasion. Each participating theatre has planned their own program in response to the theme of the Velvet Revolution. Ostrava’s theatres have collaborated to offer a cycle of one-act “Vaněk” plays, named after Václav Havel’s iconic character. The Petr Bezruč Theatre, together with the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre and Studio G,will present Jiří Dienstbier’s Příjem (Reception)and Arest (Arrest)by Pavel Landovský, in addition to Havel’s Audience. Šumperk Theatre will unveil a monument to the 17th of November and, following a walk to the Václav Havel Bench, will present the original performance #MateHoleRuce. In addition to a number of concerts and performances, Tabor’s Oskar Nedbal Theatre will also host the exhibition Můj rok 89’ (My ’89). The Zlín City Theatre has prepared a guided walk with Rosťa Marek, titled Divadlem pracujících po stopách Občasného fóra(Theatre in the Footsteps of the Civic Forum). Prague’s Drama Club will present a staged reading of Havel’s play Protest. The National Theatre in Prague has prepared a themed walk with the subtitle Podoby svobody v Anenském areálu (Representations of Freedom in St. Anne’s Area) and Svoboda slova(Freedom of Speech), a workshop for teenagers focused on work with text. Prague’s Komedie Theatre will present the exhibition Divadlo a revoluce (Theatre and Revolution) in its foyer and host a discussion titled Sametová divadla (Velvet Theatre) with Libor Vodička and Bára Štěpánová. The Arts and Theatre Institute will open its exhibition Divadlo a svoboda – První dekáda nezávislosti českého divadla po roce 1989 (Theatre and Freedom The First Decade of Independent Czech Theatre after 1989) and host Svoboda: Dá se to jíst? (Freedom: Can We Eat It?), a playful scavenger hunt for children and parents. The Moravian Theatre Olomouc is preparing a production of Samet (Velvet) and a photography exhibition. Also in Olomouc, Na Cucky Theatre will offer a moderated discussion O vývoji české společnosti od roku 1989 (On the Evolution of Czech Society after 1989) and Podvečer v listopadu (An Early Evening in November), a staged sketch on motifs from Jaroslav Spurný’s book Jací jsme dnes (What We Are Today). The Varnsdorf City Theatre will present a hockey odyssey for the whole family titled 2:0 4:3. Theatre NoD has prepared a staged reading and a special improvisation by the 11:55 company called Demokracie není bordel. Some of the programming is supported by the Arts and Theatre Institute as part of a special call for Theatre Night projects.

The seventh anniversary of this theatrical event also offers discussions with eyewitnesses and participants in the social and political changes after 1989, along with lectures, exhibitions, installations, performances and other events on the theme of “Theatre and Freedom.” “The concurrence of this year’s Theatre Night with the ‘Venku je hezky’ demonstration, organised on the 16th of November by the association A Million Moments for Democracy, creates an opportunity for theatres to comment on the current social situation and also offers programming possibilities. Some companies - such as South Bohemian Theatre and Ponec Theatre - have decided to include the demonstration in the programs. Many Prague theatres have taken the demonstration into account by modifying their programs, by shifting them into the evening, for example,” explains Martina Pecková Černá, speaking on behalf of the organisers of Theatre Night.

Czech Theatre Night is part of the international project European Theatre Night, which began in 2008 with Croatia’s Noc Kazališta. The concept of a collective theatre celebration gradually spread to more than a dozen European countries. Based on the number of participating theatres and attendance figures, Czech Theatre Night, which began in 2013, is the largest European Theatre Night project.

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