11th International “Theatre World Brno” Festival In May To Focus on Climate Change

From May 21st to May 26th, Brno will host the international festival “Theatre World Brno.” 35 ensembles from eight countries will be performing dance, theatre and other productions based around the topic of “Climate Change”. One of the main highlights will be a performance by the Batsheva Dance Company, an Israeli-based ensemble. Photo: Der Schimmelreiter by Landsberg.

Brno, Mar 4 (BD) – During the 11th edition of the Theatre World Brno festival, international performances will take place in and around Brno, in unique and unorthodox venues alongside the conventional theatres. This year’s topic is “Climate Change,” which will encompass a myriad of issues carefully woven into the performances as the festival holds a mirror up to society.

New to the festival this year is the ‘immersive theatre’ format: “A genre in which theatregoers are involved in the plot and find themselves on the border between a theatre production and an art installation,” explains Barbara Gregorová, dramaturge for National Theatre Brno’s drama ensemble. 

The festival will kick off with a lighthearted musical dance project on the piazzetta in front of the Janacek Theatre. The project, translated to “The Noosphere, or Ice Cream Andante for Dancers and a Fountain,” will feature music by Chaloupka, specifically composed for one fountain, 12 dancers, 33 ice cream scoops and an unlimited number of spectators.

The rest of the festival, subtitled “nothing happens,” revolves around the questions and debate of not only natural climate change, but also changes in society, politics and theatre, and will host many provocative international performances, each conveying the theme in their own manner, ranging from comedy to horror.

Venezuela. Photo credit: Batsheva Dance Company.

One of the main highlights is Israel’s world renowned dance ensemble Batsheva Dance Company. With the inception of the ‘Gaga’ movement language, the company’s artistic director Ohad Naharin changed the climate of modern dance for good. Their performance Venezuela will play at the Janacek Theatre on the 25th and 26th of May.

Several provocative pieces will be presented on the subject of ‘Climate Change.’ Am Königsweg, a production by director Falk Richter written shortly after the election of Donald Trump, depicts political climate change as a new king takes the throne and returns his kingdom to the old ways – those of nationalism and racism. Kertész utcai Shaxpeare-mosó, by Hungarian director Viktor Bodo, is an extremely atmospheric and somewhat rowdy show that transforms the story of Romeo and Juliet in a modern production full of political commentary. Der Schimmelreiter forces the audience to confront environmental climate change: it is performed on a stage created from waste plastic collected by the public.

Kertész utcai Shaxpeare-mosó. Photo credit: Judit Horvath.

A separate section dedicated to ‘Ancient Drama’ exhibits a longer journey to the changing situation we are currently living through, climate change in theatre, and a tribute to two prominent figures of the theatre scene both in and outside of Brno, who passed away last year. One of the productions in the section is Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone, under the direction of Ondrej Spisak, a piece that has unexpectedly gained more relevance and importance since the murder of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak. Another project Plodnost! Mir! Bohatsvi!, inspired by the tradition of ancient theatre, features the new immersive genre and will be held in the industrial areas near Vlhka. 

Antigona. Photo credit: Ctibor Bachraty.

Families with children will also have the opportunity to attend several lighter performances at the Polarka Theatre and in the Park at ‘Björnsonův sad,’ although these performances are almost exclusively in Czech. During the festival weekend, a children’s tent in the park will give children the opportunity to watch performances based on fairy tales and attend workshops that give them a window into the world of theatre.

“How is theatre created? Who is it made by and why? You will learn all this at workshops which will take place not only in the outdoor areas of Björnsonův sad but also in nearby Studio Marta,” said the section’s dramaturge Jan Cimr, describing the Entertainment and Education programme for children.

You can see the complete festival programme and buy tickets at the festival website. The English version of the website is scheduled to go online around the 15th of March.

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