This year, a record five South African productions will be represented at the Prague Fringe Festival in the Czech Republic, which takes place Friday 27 May to Saturday 4 June 2016 in the Malá Strana (little quarter) district of the bohemian city.
The 15th iteration of the Prague Fringe Festival will see a group of South African production companies at the top of their game, presenting productions spanning a range of genres. Slight-of-hand expert Stuart Lightbody is no stranger to Prague audiences, returning to the Festival for the fourth time, with Sleepless Dreams. African storytelling traditions come to the fore in Jade Bowers’ production of Tin Bucket Drum; while The Matchbox Theatre Collective presents Giftig (Afrikaans, meaning ‘poisonous’) physical theatre, and their acclaimed dance theatre piece If These Bodies Could Talk; with physical comedy Richard Burns making up the complement of productions.
“After having met Tony Lankester (CEO of the National Arts Festival, SA) almost 10 years ago and together establishing a World Fringe Alliance and then actually visiting the National Arts Festival in 2012, 2013 and 2014, it is an incredible pleasure to be welcoming such a strong groups of South Africans to Prague for our special 15th year edition.” He elaborates, “particularly, we are thrilled to be welcoming a record number of South African performers this year – despite vast differences in the kinds of productions and stories they’re telling, South African work has a very specific flavour, which our audiences find enchanting!” – Steve Gove, Founder and Director of Prague Fringe.
After its debut run and Theatre Award nomination at Fringe World Perth last year, Stuart Lightbody brings Sleepless Dreams to Prague, ahead of a run at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. From the Standard Bank Ovation Award-winning creators of Illusive and Devilish comes this true story of obsession, a story that starts with an out-of-print book hidden away in a secret library. Directed by Tara Notcutt, it will be performed at Divadlo Kampa from 30 – 31 May, as well as the 2 – 4 June 2016.
Tin Bucket Drum follows the story of a child born with a revolutionary heartbeat into a silent dictatorship. The play takes a swipe at age-old global systems of restriction enforced for personal gain and how it affects the people on the ground. Featuring Warona Seane with live original music by Matthew MacFarlane, it is directed by 2016 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre Jade Bowers. It will be performed from 27 – 30 May 2016, at Divadlo Inspirace.
Using dance, music, innovative lighting and digital media If These Bodies Could Speak explores the struggles of a relationship through instinctual elements. An elegantly and emotionally choreographed piece about a couple – any couple – who argue, fight, lose themselves and each other but eventually, regain the love they once had for each other. Featuring Bailey Snyman (2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Dance) and Nicola Haskins, it will be performed daily from 28 – 31 May 2016, at Divadlo Kampa.
Love, loss and apathy surrender to comedy; touching the heart of the meaning of life, in Giftig – a two-hander from the award-winning South African group Matchbox Theatre Collective, featuring Micia De Wet and Bailey Snyman. It will be performed from 27 – 30 May 2016 at Divadlo Kampa.
Richard Burns is an absurd rendezvous with fate where an everyday decision decides the outcome of every other day. Fasten your seat belts, prepare for take-off as this production wakes you from your dream in this mysterious physical comedy from writer and director Candice Botha. Starring Bailey Snyman (2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Dance), it will be performed daily from 31 May – 4 June 2016 at Divadlo Kampa.
As the Prague Fringe ‘veteran’ of the group, Lightbody explains “I’m delighted to be able to perform again in one of my favourite cities, and even more so with such a strong group of other South African performers! Fringe Festivals are such a great opportunity to spread to wonder and magic, and create special moments with people around the world; but I particularly appreciate these opportunities to engage with and learn from other artists.”
Visit the Prague Fringe Festival website for more information and programme details.