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Bazaar Festival

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.


It's time to go deep, beyond all that is “surface”. Below all these beautiful layers and distractions, there is much more happening than we think. So let’s switch on our sensors, sink low, and listen for ourselves: it’s seismic, tectonic, and hella dynamic. The molten rock, the aquifers, the ice sheets, the deep ocean currents flow in ways you’d never think, they push and drive, forming landscapes and seascapes and our futures.<br /> Now consider the powerful, subterfuge forces at work in the artistic environment. The 10th Bazaar Festival won’t bring us anything that only shows at the surface. There are artists at work in Central and Eastern Europe who are choosing to go deep, become the change they want to see in the world, and whose practice goes beyond just creating. Some have given up most of everything else to focus on long term commitments to development, on honing ideas, on perfecting an approach, on seeking hard to access knowledge, on perceiving things you cannot normally perceive, and that you might not first associate with the arts. These are the Courageous Practitioners. As they go deep, they may seem to vanish from view for a long time, but now we have the chance to witness these journeys. What forces are moving them? What technologies, techniques, and tools are they employing? What are they bringing up from the depths? Let’s keep those sensors on and let’s go with them. Bazaar Festival number 10 takes a close look at Courageous Practices.

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