The International Festival Theatre World Brno

International “Theatre World Brno” Festival Returns In May

The Theatre World Brno festival is one of the most important events of its kind in the Czech Republic. This year’s edition, which will be held from 13-27 May, features a diverse programme that includes theatre, dance, and other performances. Photo credit: Divadelni Svet.

Brno, March 15 (BD) – Brno will become the centre of the theatre world for the 14th time from 13-27 May, as Theatre World Brno (Divadelni Svet), the international festival of performing arts, returns to the city’s theatres and public spaces.

The several days full of drama, chamber projects, dance productions, site-specific performances in public spaces and a rich accompanying program is a collaboration of almost all Brno’s theatres: the Brno National Theatre, the Brno City Theatre, the Goose on a String Theatre, the Polárka Theatre, the Radost Theatre and the stages of the JAMU Theater Faculty: Studio Marta and the Orlí Theatre. Together, they will present more than 70 performances. The festival begins on 13-14 May with the unique first complete performance of Theatre X10’s trilogy “Waiting Room” at the Goose on a String Theatre. 

On 17 May, Ballet NdB 2 will symbolically open the festival with the DNA project on the piazzetta in front of the Janácek Theater, while the production “SPARTAKUS. Love in the Time of Plague” by Polish director Jakub Skrzywanek, will take place inside.

One of the primary attractions of the event is the lineup of overseas shows, led this year by a dance performance by German choreographer Sasha Waltz and her group in the Janácek Theatre with a spectacular performance of her “SYM-PHONIE MMXX”. 

According to Barbara Gregorová, the festival’s head dramaturg, this year’s event is partly dedicated to the emerging Polish director Jakub Skrzywanek: “We will present two of his shows to the audience: “The Death of John Paul II” and “SPARTAKUS. Love in the Time of Plague”, as well as an extraordinary production, “Sex Education”, from the theatre in Szczecin where Jakub Skrzywanek is the creative director.” 

“The Death of John Paul II” will be performed at the Mahen Theatre. This documentary production is created from the diaries, biographies and memories of those who accompanied Pope John Paul II on his final journey, with the aim of conveying to the audience the greatness of the simplicity of dying in all its rawness.

Credit: Divadelni Svet.

In the Reduta Theatre, the audience can see “SPARTAKUS. Love in the Time of Plague”, an emotional production based on eyewitness experiences from Polish society and psychiatric clinics, where young people dealing with their non-heterosexual orientation encountered practices far from modern 21st century views and attitudes.

The last of this section of productions is “Sex Education” from Teatr Współczesny w Szczecinie, staged at the Radost Theatre. This production is specially designed for the “young adult” audience, between 15 and 18 years old.

Another production will be from Germany’s Theater Bremen, who will take to the stage at the Goose on a String Theatre with their interpretation of “Moby Dick”, the famous cult novel by Herman Melville.

This year’s edition will also feature a guest appearance from the Habima National Theatre of Israel, with the production “He Whom My Soul Loves”. This topical production, based on a text by renowned Israeli author Itay Segal, stars Amit Rahav, known to Czech audiences from the Netflix series Unorthodox.

Theatre is… unisex

Following last year’s programme line dedicated to women, this year the festival continues under the motto “Theatre is… unisex” with a selection of titles dealing with queer themes. The section of dance performances is completed by the tango-operita María de Buenos Aires, a co-production of the Prague Municipal Theatre and Lenka Vagnerová & Company. This sensual dance production with live music, directed and choreographed by Lenka Vagnerová, will be staged at the Brno Municipal Theatre.

Credit: Divadelni Svet.

Premieres and international co-productions

For the past few years, Theatre World Brno has been developing a programme of co-production activities, which are now making their way onto this year’s festival line-up. The main event of this year’s support programme is the premiere of “Exile” by Theatre X10, part of a trilogy called Waiting Room. Audiences will have the opportunity to see the entire cycle together for the first time, along with the previous works Success and The Oppermanns, which will be performed at the Goose on a String Theatre.

On the weekend of 13-14 May, the festival will present a comprehensive and moving depiction of the lives and experiences of people before the rise of fascism in Germany. One of the highlights will be the first reading rehearsal of this project, in the “backstage” of Villa Löw-Beer. 

Additionally, the festival is providing opportunities for young artists through a co-production with the JAMU Theatre Faculty, the Czech Centre in Paris, and the ensemble Les Antliaclastes. The project, called “How Shakespeare is Born: a work in progress”, may reveal unexpected connections between Shakespeare and the lost and forgotten Czech polymath Jára Cimrman! The project will have rehearsals in Paris and will premiere at the 15th Theatre World Brno festival next year. 

The festival is also collaborating with the Tanec Praha festival on a production by Italian choreographer Silvia Gribaudi entitled “Where does a ballet end?”, which will be performed as part of the June epilogue.

Young adult and family programme

The festival organisers are putting a new emphasis on productions for teenage and young adult audiences. This year’s program offers two performances of the award-winning production “Brothers of Hope” by Divadlo Minor, as the main event on the drama stage of the Brno City Theatre. Families can also enjoy “DINOPERA/KHWOSHCH”, a unique production about the life of dinosaurs before the meteorite hit Earth, and “Antigone” from the Drak Theatre. The South Bohemian Theatre’s open-air event, “Marysha: The Story of a Murderer”, will take viewers to the village square of a picturesque Moravian village to tell the tale of the most famous murder in Czech drama history.

For the youngest audiences who enjoy dance and movement, Viktor Černický’s participatory performance PLI shows that everyday objects can be entertaining companions. The Naive Theatre of Liberec will present the puppetry production “Grandma Red Riding Hood celebrates her birthday today!”, while the Bratislava Puppet Theatre will showcase “The Garden Never Sleeps”, a story about all the creatures children can find in their gardens and parks. Odivo Independent Theatre Group brings a project about a wolf that fell out of a book, in which children themselves decide whether to find the lost wolf its home.

A site-specific dramatic journey to Bata’s Zlin

The festival also includes a variety of interactive events, inviting the audience to be active participants rather than just mere spectators. One such event is the group larp game “Theatre is You…”, where participants can experience the harsh reality of starting a career as a freelance actor. This game takes players to various interesting locations, including theatres in Brno not typically accessible to regular audiences. Families with children can also join a fun and engaging fairy tale walk in Lužánky Park, entitled “Dlouhý, Široký a Bystrozraký”, based on a classic fairy tale by Karel Jaromír Erben. Additionally, young spectators can take part in the dance project “Pit of Lions UNLIMITED” on the piazzetta in front of Janáček Theatre.

Credit: Divadelni Svet.

As the festival comes to a close, attendees can also embark on a site-specific theatrical trip to Zlín to witness the production “Bata III” by the Zlín Municipal Theatre, a story about the son of the founder of the Tomáš Bata shoe company. The production takes place at the Tomáš Bata Memorial, a stunning architectural masterpiece designed by František Lýdia Gahura. To enhance the experience, a guided tour of the building will be arranged for participants.

The International Theatre World Brno Festival will take place from 13-27 May 2023. For the complete festival program, more information about all the performances, and to purchase tickets, see the festival website

Tickets for all performances and accompanying events can also be purchased at the customer centre of the Brno National Theatre, at pre-sale points of participating theatres, and through the Ticketportal network. 

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