About Letni Letna festival
from 2004 to 2018
Since its creation Letní Letná has featured 1,662 performances and the total number of visitors has reached 377,000. The program always offers current productions that have not been presented in Czechia and Central Europe. It features elite troupes with big names that have been awarded international prizes. In 2018, Letní Letná introduced, together with the Belgian festival Zomer von Antwerpen, the European premiere of Dans ton Coeur by Akoreacro.
The festival has been intensely working on the development and promotion of the contemporary circus scene and it organizes and supports get-togethers of experts and artists with the public. In this context, Cirkforum was organized in 2016. This conference was an occasion for the experts, for the public and for international guests to learn about Czech contemporary circus groups and to discover organisations that use contemporary circus as a teaching method. As the event was successful, Letní Letná decided to organize another conference in 2018. The agenda was richer – it was a three day conference called Professional Days and it took place during the festival. Letní Letná has been supporting the development of contemporary circus as an independent genre. Apart from the main program (the annual presentation of a selection of Czech and international groups), since 2012 there have also been international coproduction projects that enrich the contemporary circus scene, make room for creativity, involve young beginning artists, and that have European potential as they bring nations and artists together.
Lacrimae was the first coproduction project in 2012 and 2013. Three prominent European contemporary circus groups joined forces – the Swedish Cirkus Cirkör, the French Cahin Caha and the Czech Cirk La Putyka. The first fruit of their cooperation was the show Cabaret Lacrimae that premiered at Letní Letná in 2012. Then all the groups prepared their independent performances for 2013 that were presented for the first time in La Seyne sur Mur in France and then at Letní Letná.
In 2014, the coproduction project LE POIVRE ROSE prepared a show for the 12th edition of Letní Letná. The creative ambitions of artists from Belgium, Canada, France and Czechia were combined with live accompaniment by the well-known singer Iva Bittová.
The project Bestiario in 2017 represents another development in the area of international cooperation. It was the opening performance of the 14th edition of the festival directed by Firenza Guidi (director of the recognized British group NoFit State Circus). The stage hosted eighteen Czech artists accompanied by performers from NoFit State Circus. The opening was the result of a week-long preparatory workshop and was seen by over 3,000 visitors.
The 15th edition of the festival in 2018 followed again the concept of an opening based on a workshop with international participants. However, this time it was on a much bigger scale. The show was directed by the famous French director and head of Cie Cahin Caha Daniel Gulko. There were two rehearsal sessions in June and in August involving 34 Czech and French artists over thirteen days of workshops. The outcome of their effort – the performance De Nova Stella (The New Star) was presented to the public free of charge twice. This unique extravaganza attracted approximately 6,000 visitors. Professional Days focused on the presentation of Czech contemporary circus groups to foreign promoters and festival directors and attendees at the international conference Circus and Its Others that was organised in cooperation with the centre of contemporary circus Cirqueon. Over three days there were six evening performances and two extravaganzas that showcased the best of the current contemporary circus scene – Juggling Gala and Cirksession. Apart from that there were two informal evening events where international participants and visitors could meet and have a chat.
The festival also provides room for young Czech artists (Cink Cink Cirk, Holektiv, Feel the Universe Circus Company and others). This year the open-air programme presented Cirquonauti (Teens Performance Group, teen-age CIRQUEON students).
Letní Letná is growing bigger and bigger – both in terms of the number of performances and the number of visitors. There were 60 shows and concerts and 6,300 visitors the first year. In 2018 there were over 190 shows and over 53,000 visitors. 90% of the tickets for the evening shows were sold out.
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