2011 Fringe Festival in Prague

Edinburgh isn’t the only city to host a Fringe Festival dedicated to comedy, theatre, music and dance.  Praha (Prague) also holds a nine-day Fringe Festival which this year will start on 27th May and finish on 4th June 2011.  Events will take place in nine venues in the beautiful Mala Strana area of the city.

Over the past 10 years Fringe Festival Praha has hosted works by local, national and many international companies who fly in annually for the event.  Most shows are very visual, some are in English, some in Czech, most last for an hour, and all are designed to entertain, delight and, at times, even challenge.

For more information visit Fringe Festival Praha.

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Bulgakov’s The White Guard at the Lyttelton Theatre, London

The White GuardUp until the 15 June 2010, the (National) Lyttelton Theatre in London is showing Bulgakov’s play The White Guard…

In Kiev during the Russian Civil War, the Turbin household is sanctuary to a ragtag, close-knit crowd presided over by the beautiful Lena. As her brothers prepare to fight for the White Guard, friends charge in from the riotous streets amidst an atmosphere of heady chaos, quaffing vodka, keeling over, declaiming, taking baths, playing guitar, falling in love.  But the new regime is poised and in its brutal triumph lies destruction for the Turbins and their world.

NT Associate Howard Davies directs this major new production, featuring a fantastic NT ensemble cast.

Captioned performance: Wednesday 12 May at 7.30pm
Audio-Described performances: Friday 21 May at 7.30pm, Saturday 22 May at 2.15pm (Touch Tour at 12.45pm)

Tickets from £10

Running Time 2 hours 40 minutes (including interval)

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Czech Cities Come to Life with Easter Markets

Znojmo City
Znojmo City

The Czech Republic is one of the most popular places visited by European and American Westerners alike.  If you are taking a trip this Easter check out some of the beautiful Easter Markets – they are simply not to be missed!  An Easter Market is held every year in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in Prague. Stalls with souvenirs and Easter products lure locals and visitors alike from 20 March to 11 April. In addition to shopping, an interesting cultural programme awaits. Spectators will enjoy folklore, folk music and dance in Old Town Square. There will also be a workshop for children, providing the youngest ones the possibility to braid switches into so-called “pomlázky” (birch rods) and to dye eggs.

Market places will of course sprout up in a variety of places in the Czech Republic. The South Moravian city of Znojmo, for instance, will celebrate the spring holidays from 29 March to 4 April. Easter markets filled with artisans, culture and attractions for children are being prepared. Children also can look forward to tours of Znojmo underground designed specially for them. www.znojmocity.cz

In Ceský Krumlov, Easter markets are held from 1 to 5 April and the attractive programme will be complemented this year by passion plays in the monastery garden. www.ckrumlov.info

People can also celebrate Easter at castles and chateaus. From 3 to 5 April, the event titled Princely Easter at Krivoklát will take place. You can expect to see an Easter market and concerts as well as masses and theatre performances. www.krivoklat.cz

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Russian Theatre Festival in London

Between the 1st and 4th of February London will welcome the Festival of Russian and Russian-language plays.  Each play, produced by Sputnik Theatre Company, will begin at 7.30pm at the Soho Theatre in London.  This festival will be the first annual Russian Theatre Festival in the UK, presenting four British premieres by emerging Russian-language playwrights in English.

Dreams by Natalya Kolyada (1 February 2010) is a fictionalised account of real testimonies from Belarus. Maria, Anna, Olga and Elena didn’t know each other until their boyfriends and husbands had a run-in with the state. For the four women to speak out is dangerous – but to stay silent is impossible.  Kolyada is a co-founder of Free Theatre, an underground theatre company in Belarus whose Patrons are Vaclav Havel and Tom Stoppard.

Tityus The Irreproachable by Maksim Kurochkin (2 February 2010) is a futuristic political satire. The Administrator-Killer of United Mankind is in trouble.  The terrorists have gone into hiding. The Administrator-Killer discovers that clues have been hidden in contemporary Russian playwriting. But what he and his Captain find is not what they were expecting.  Tityus won Moscow’s prestigious New Drama Award 2008.


Mums by Vladimir Zuev (3 February 2010) is a detailed and moving portrait based on real testimonies of Russia’s taboo subject – Chechnya. Vera, Rosa, Oldest and Youngest live in a basement of a dilapidated building in central Grozny. They didn’t want to come but they refuse to leave until they’ve found their sons. Zuev won the Eurasia Award 2007 for Mums.

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Celebrate Anton Chekhov’s 150th Birthday

Anton Chekhov
Anton Chekhov

This year Russian literature lovers will celebrate the 150th birthday of the renowned Anton Chekhov.  From 18 – 23 January 2010, Michael Pennington, one of Britain’s finest actors, and leading Chekhov specialist, Rosamund Bartlett, will host a series of shows dedicated to the work of this fascinating writer at the Hampstead Theatre  in London.

Renowned writers and directors have chosen their favourite Chekhov stories and plays, and will be discussing them alongside readings and performances by eminent actors. Michael Pennington will also perform his acclaimed one-man show about Anton Chekhov himself.  A different show will take place each day and some performances will be accompanied by audience discussions about the great man’s work.

The events will raise money to restore the White Dacha – the house in Yalta where Chekhov wrote Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard which recently lost its state funding despite being in in serious state of disrepair.

Performance Schedule

Monday 18 January, 7.30pm
Chekhov’s Vaudevilles: Michael Frayn (with David Horovitch, Miriam Margolyes and Steve McNeil)

Tuesday 19 January, 7.30pm
Chekhov’s Women: Lynne Truss on In the Cart and The Darling (with Rosamund Pike)

Wednesday 20 January, 7.30pm
Chekhov’s Major Plays: Richard Eyre (with Tom Burke, Lisa Dillon, Michael Pennington and Harriet Walter)

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Pushkin House Becomes a Theatre

AnastasiaThis Christmas, Pushkin House presents the world premiere of “Anastasia” by Marcelle Maurette.  Set in a Berlin townhouse, in 1928, 10 years after the murder of the Tsar and his family at Ekaterinberg, rumours circulate among Russian exiles that one of the Tsar’s children survived the firing squad.

Taking advantage of this collective hope, three businessmen plot to gain access to the murdered Tsar’s millions by passing off a disturbed girl as that survivor. The girl is a fast learner, she makes a convincing Anastasia Nikolaevna, they just have to fool the Tsar’s mother – The Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna – and the money will be theirs.

This is not a fairy story or a sentimentalised account of the “Anastasia myth”, but an exploration of trauma, suffering, and loss and how the human soul tries to find respite and finally peace from it.

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