Pilsen – European Capital of Culture 2015 will be opened in exactly a year’s time


Although the Pilsen – European Capital of Culture project doesn’t start until next year, in addition to the year-round programme, the festive opening itself on the 17th of January 2015 is also taking shape. Its script is being created by the Artistic Chief of the project, Petr Forman, who has approached, for example, the Art Director of the Circus Arts School in Barcelona, Roberto Magro, to collaborate on it.

We believe that the opening ceremony will engage all of Pilsen. People will come together in the main square in several colourful processions symbolising both the rivers on whose confluence the city lies and the principal idea of the whole project”, Petr Forman says by way of introduction. Moments of suspense will be delivered by the Swiss tightrope walker David Dimitri, who will be accompanied by other Czech and international artists and acrobats. “The evening launching the European Capital of Culture project will be full of music, images, suspense and emotions”, Petr Forman says.

Next week Pilsen will play host to a visit from the well-known British writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, the author of the script for the London Olympics opening ceremony in 2015 and also of the screenplay for the recently released film The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. “Frank is coming together with John Wassell, founder and producer of the British group Walk the Plank focusing on large scale outdoor productions. They have been involved e.g. in the opening event in Turku in 2011 and in both the opening and closing ceremonies of the European Capital of Culture 2008 in Liverpool. We shall discuss possibilities for collaboration on the Pilsen 2015 programme, in particular in connection with the opening ceremony”, the Programme Director of Pilsen 2015, Jiří Sulženko, reveals.

Music for the opening event is being composed by an outstanding contemporary Czech composer and conductor, Marko Ivanovič. The original composition commissioned solely for this occasion will culminate in the first ringing of the new bells in the Cathedral of Pilsen. “I truly appreciate the work of the people involved in the “Ze srdce zvon” (Bell from the Heart) fundraising campaign and the attitude of Bishop Radkovský, who agreed that the new cathedral bells will ring for the first time at the launch of the European Capital of Culture”, Forman emphasises.

The celebrations will then move over to the surrounding parts of the city as well – both to outdoor areas which, as an exception for this day, will become pedestrian zones, and into historical houses, courtyards, cultural houses, museums, galleries, libraries, pubs and music clubs.

Besides international personalities, local artists will be engaged in the ceremony as well. “It is my wish to collaborate with all local musical bodies, choirs and musicians. We have already been in touch with some Pilsen musicians who are going to take part in the unique experience”, Forman explains.

Throughout the year, Pilsen 2015 will offer more than 50 big cultural events in public spaces and over 600 other events. The programme will encompass a variety of genres from theatre to music, exhibitions, architecture, dance, performance and art installations to community and educational programmes. Local citizens and visitors to Pilsen alike can, among other things, look forward to a festival of light, year-round season of Le cirque nouveau, nine weeks of Baroque, monumental celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, art installations in public spaces, exhibitions of Jiří Trnkan and Ladislav Sutnar, contemporary design and works from the collections of the Villa Stuck Museum and the Lenbachhaus Gallery in Munich. As part of the project a cultural-community centre will open in the former Světovar brewery as well as other industrial premises and the new theatre building. Organisers have placed a great emphasis on the active involvement of the city’s population and sustainability after the project itself ends. The overall budget comes to 420 million CZK, principal donors being the City of Pilsen, Czech Ministry of Culture, European Union and the Pilsen Region.

Pilsen’s transformation into Czech cultural metropolis will begin as early as autumn 2014, when Manège Carré Senart will lay anchor in the centre of the city: a magical manège of the fine artist Françoise Delarozière, for which he has created a number of giant puppets strolling through the streets of world cities.