The international Bazaar Festival features progressive performance works by dance and theatre innovators that keep a healthy distance from official culture and are not afraid to take risks. Bazaar Festival programming is focussed on makers from the independent scenes of Central and Eastern Europe and since 2019, the Middle East.
The festival is a response both to the gradual development of large, dynamic and curious audiences looking for up-to-date innovative forms of performance creation and open dialogue about the future of our cities and communities, and also to the current political situation in our countries, which to varying degrees has been putting its artists under increasing pressure.
The festival takes its cue from Prague and the Czech Republic’s developing long-term role in advocating freedom of expression of not just Czech artists, but also those from neighbouring post-communist countries. Adding artists from the Middle East helps challenge Central Europeans’ fears of this region, which has even more recent experience with the terrible phenomena of poverty, migration, dictatorship and war.
It is a goal of the festival program to bring in creative personalities who do not behave in an autocratic fashion towards their teams, who work collectively and give colleagues room to express themselves, while maintaining high artistic quality and creative boldness. Thus the Bazaar has presented works like One Gesture (Wojtek Ziemilski/ Wojtek Pustoła/ Nowy Teatr, PL) with deaf performers searching for a common language, Grace (Hodworks, HU) in which dancers react together to conservatism with the courageous breaking of rules or Damned be the Traitor of His Homeland (Oliver Frljić and Mladinsko Theatre, SL), mapping the collapse of Yugoslavia and the hatreds that accompanied it.
Another basic pillar of the Bazaar Festival is an ongoing search for new ways to acquaint audiences with artistic process. The Bazaar is also an important “development catalyst” for works still in the process of being created. Since its initial edition the Bazaar offers devised performance creators a platform for a key development stage of their new works by giving artists short residencies and the chance to show excerpts from future works. The festival also frequently invites back artists whose work was seen in development during past festival editions, and so audiences get to see not only work in development, but the resulting performance.
The Bazaar Festival has been on the Prague scene since 2015 and takes place annually in March in independent venues such as Studio ALTA, Alfred ve dvoře, Archa Theatre, Ponec and others.
Ewan McLaren - artistic director
WE THE LANDSCAPE?
CENTRAL AND EAST EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AREN’T REALLY KNOWN AS LEADERS IN FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE OR EVEN LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL CRISES. IT MAY BE SURPRISING THEN THAT CREATORS OF CONTEMPORARY DANCE AND THEATRE FROM OUR COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH THESE QUESTIONS INVENTIVELY AND IN EARNEST. THANKS TO MY TRAVELS SHORTLY BEFORE THE PANDEMIC (TO GERMANY, HUNGARY, POLAND, SLOVAKIA, AND SLOVENIA, BUT ALSO TO AUSTRIA, CROATIA, LITHUANIA, LATVIA, SERBIA AND UKRAINE) I’VE BEEN ABLE TO SEE MANY SUCH PROJECTS, AND THEY HAVE IN COMMON A RALLYING CALL, A CLEAR STATEMENT THAT THE SITUATION IS HIGHLY DISTRESSING. AND IN THIS VERY COUNTRY, WHOSE NATIONAL ANTHEM SINGS ABOUT AN ORCHARD WHERE BLOOMS THE FLOWER OF SPRING IT IS HARD TO FORGET THAT MONOCULTURE IN FARMING HAS BEEN DEVASTATING THE DIVERSITY OF PLANTS, INSECTS, BIRDS AND OTHER FAUNA, WE HAVE BEGUN TO CONSIDER THE MEANING AND IMPACT OF OUR ACTIONS WHICH WE HAVE LED INDIFFERENTLY FOR DOZENS, EVEN HUNDREDS OF YEARS. THE DRAINAGE OF OUR WATER TABLES, FLOODING, DYING FORESTS, MASS TOURISM, OVERUSE OF AUTOMOBILE AND AIR TRAVEL, “DEVELOPED” COUNTRIES EXPORTING THEIR TOXIC WASTE, MICROPLASTICS IN THE OCEANS, CHILD LABOUR…
ON THE OTHER HAND, IT IS EXACTLY THIS KIND OF EXTREME, DEADLY SITUATION THAT IN THE PAST HAS BEEN THE SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR THE ARTS, OFTEN LEADING TO REMARKABLE WORKS. SOME EXAMPLES ARE TO BE FOUND IN THE PERFORMANCES AND WORKS IN DEVELOPMENT WHICH CAN BE SEEN AT THE 2021 BAZAAR FESTIVAL. IN ADDITION, WE ARE PROUD TO HAVE JOINED FORCES WITH PARTNERS FROM NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES IN OUR THE NATURE OF US PROJECT, IN ORDER TO OFFER YOU A SERIES OF DISCUSSIONS AND WORKSHOPS, LED BY OUR SCIENTISTS AND ARTISTS ON HOW OUR CENTRAL EUROPEAN CULTURE IS COOPERATING WITH SCIENCE IN THIS TIME OF MULTIPLE ECOLOGICAL CHALLENGES. WELCOME TO THE BAZAAR FESTIVAL, “WE THE LANDSCAPE” EDITION.
AKHE ENGINEERING THEATRE (RU): DEMOCRACY
SATURDAY BAZAAR excerpts from theatre and dance works
JURIŠIĆ – MANDIĆ (SI): TOGETHER (OUTDOOR VERSION)
Studio ALTA garden