Presentation of the European Capital of Culture Programme in Prague
It is still more than a year until the official launch of the European Capital of Culture project on the 17th of January 2015, yet up to 90 per cent of the core programme has already been planned and confirmed. In total, it will involve more than 50 major cultural events and around 600 further events taking place in all parts of the city – in cultural institutions as well as public spaces. Most of these are being prepared by Pilsen 2015 in collaboration with local, national and international organisers, institutions and partners. The programme will cover a range of genres spanning all the way from theatre, music, exhibitions, architecture, dance, performances and installations in public spaces to community events, educational projects and meetings.
Pilsen’s transformation into a cultural metropolis of the Czech Republic will begin in autumn 2014 when Manège Carré Senart will cast anchor in the city centre – a magic manège of Francoise Delarozière, for which he has designed a host of giant puppets walking through the streets of European cities. Pilsen will become the ninth city in the world to host the manège.
The programme itself will be launched in January by a performance of the internationally acclaimed tightrope acrobat David Dimitri. In February, the city will be lit up by a festival of light lasting several days. March will witness the festive opening of the Culture Factory in the former Světovar brewery which, with its four variable halls, is set to become a venue for live arts, artist residencies and the local community. In 2015, Světovar will host theatre co-productions with Théâtre Le Manège from Mons and other partners. A variety of factory premises all around the city will be turned into art spaces in April during the Imagination Factories event. In May, Pilsen will commemorate the 70th anniversary of liberation by the U.S. army with a spectacular Liberation Festival.
May and June will be the central months of art “occupying” public space with temporary installations, neighbourhood festivals and the opening up of undiscovered places. In summer, locals and visitors to Pilsen alike can look forward to the multi-genre Lively Street festival and to 9 Weeks of Baroque, a rich programme of live art events set in unique Baroque monuments of the Pilsen Region. Eminent names of the European Cirque Nouveau, such as Les Colporteurs and Cirque Trottola, will bring life to Pilsen’s squares and housing estates the whole year round. The programme of the J. K. Tyl Theatre will be also enriched by contemporary theatre and dance.
In cooperation with local promoters, we have been giving a lot of attention to exhibitions commemorating great personalities connected with the city. The work of Jiří Trnka will be introduced at a family exhibition inspired by the famous Garden, prepared by Trnka’s son Jan and grandson Matyáš. The West Bohemian Gallery will present works by artists from the Munich Art Nouveau and pioneers of the avant-garde from the collections of the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich and the Lenbachhaus Gallery, featuring such great names as Gabriel von Max, Franz von Stuck, Vassily Kandinski, Paul Klee and other members of the group Der Blaue Reiter, as well as Czech representatives of Art Nouveau and Modernism who lived and worked in Munich at that time. A collection of Maori portraits by a native of Pilsen, Bohumír Lindauer, will be brought to Europe all the way from New Zealand for the first time by the West Bohemian Gallery. The West Bohemian Gallery will bring to life the legacy of the world famous designer Ladislav Sutnar. A special tour will make unique house interiors in Pilsen by the architect Adolf Loos accessible to the public. Under the supervision of Matěj Forman, an up-to-date exhibition of puppet making art from all over Europe is being prepared. The production area of the Pilsner Urquell brewery will be enlivened by an exhibition of contemporary world design.
Let us not forget music and concerts, details of which will be published during the year 2014.
The European Capital of Culture wants to contribute towards the development of the whole region. Pilsen 2015 will therefore focus on three themes typical of West Bohemia yet to be truly discovered: industrial heritage, land art and Baroque monuments. They will be brought to life by musical performances and week-long programmes. In cooperation with the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage, a guide to industrial heritage sites is being worked on, while through collaboration with the Faculty of Art and Design, art and life will be brought to deserted churches in the Sudetenland frontier region.
Pilsen 2015 will not forget minorities and citizens of all nationalities and age groups either. For instance, thanks to the Uncle Tom’s Cabin project, foreigners living in Pilsen have been involved in creative workshops starting in 2013; as a tribute to senior citizens and to old age, the choreographer Petr Jaško is working on a performance for the year 2015 to mark the occasion of the Slet – a massive gymnastics festival – of the Czech Sokol organization in Pilsen.
One of the principal criteria for programme preparation is its long-term sustainability. The legacy of the European Capital of Culture project should last well into the future. Besides projects with the ambition of continuing after 2015 (proposals for public space improvements through Pěstuj prostor, a web platform for raising funds and other resources, The Creative Incubator at Světovar and others), the city of Pilsen also makes regular investments in infrastructure: last September the sports grounds and promenade in Štruncovy sady; currently a new modern building for the J. K. Tyl Theatre is being constructed to welcome its first audiences next autumn.
The total budget of the project amounts to 420 million CZK, the principal donors being the City of Pilsen, Czech Ministry of Culture, European Union and Pilsen Region. Further negotiations with the private sector are taking place.
During our presentation we also introduced Book I, revealing the first part of the programme for the year 2015. Book I can be downloaded here.