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Case studies of three successful audience and market development projects

V.O.S.A.

V.O.S.A. Theatre was established in 2010 on the occasion of the Czech Republic’s presentation at the EXPO 2010 Shanghai China World Exhibition. A group of acrobats and performers from the Czech Republic created a performance called High Dreaming with contemporary circus elements and live music. Since then the group has performed at Czech and foreign theatre festivals, in showcases, and through many other activities in the Czech Republic and abroad. The street performance High Dreaming uses six completely original machines that are based on the principles of the bicycle and its early precursor, the velocipede. Among those who worked on the design and preparation of the machines was Josef Zimovčák, famous for riding around the world on a velocipede. In this way, V.O.S.A. created machines that have the biggest spoked wheels in Europe. V.O.S.A. Theatre turns the street into one big stage; they spontaneously include balconies, street lamps, and, most importantly, the audience in the action. Their reputation and popularity among audiences has brought invitations to perform in European capitals of Culture – in Košice, in Polish Lublin, and in Plzeň, in West Bohemia.

Cirk La Putyka

Cirk La Putyka is the biggest and at present the most popular Czech company devoted to contemporary circus. It tries to erase the boundaries between acrobatics, contemporary dance, puppet theatre, music and sport. It creates its own specific poetics and its own take on the genre. For Cirk La Putyka it is not only important to maintain a professional approach within their individual theatre and circus numbers; the subjects of the stories they tell are also very important. Cirk La Putyka was established in 2009 after the success of their first performance La Putyka. November 2014 marked another milestone in the company’s history with the opening of Jatka 78, a multidisciplinary space in the Prague market hall in Holešovice. Today it is the company’s home stage.

Obludárium

In Obludárium, Forman Brothers Theatre present a two-hour-long cabaret-circus in an impressive circus tent. The artists undermine the conventions of commercial theatre by presenting a world that respects simplicity and embraces enigma and mystery. Assembled in the arena of this cabaret-circus are fifteen performers – jugglers, dancers, actors, and others – who combine remarkable physical, creative and theatrical skills. The characters on stage are intriguing, distorted and grotesque, matching the classical image of an itinerant circus. This unique experience culminates in a direct encounter between audience members and performers, who are transformed into hosts toasting their guests with glasses of traditional Czech beer. The company’s performance Freak Show, co-produced by the Théâtre National de Bretagne, premiered in 2007 in the French city of Rennes. Since then the company have played hundreds of performances throughout the world. Their unique tent was built in central Paris at Champs Elysées.

Mgr. Veronika Štefanová

— PhD, Publicist and Editor, Czech Radio & Manager of the Documentation Department, Cirqueon —

What are the most important challenges for circus / street arts in your country in respect of audience and market development?
"Regarding the role of the Czech Republic in the framework of Central European contemporary circus, the initiative of people connected with contemporary circus should now be directed towards the establishment of a professional circus school that would prepare young performers for their contemporary circus careers, and eventually for other circus studies. We can fnd many artists with creative visions and several years of experience with contemporary circus in the Czech Republic. Now they can share their experience with a young generation in order to add intensive and professional training to creative activities."

Photo: David Konecny