The Show Must Go ON/OFF-line 4: “Uncompressability”

December 17, 2020; 3.00-  5.00 CET, on-line

Art and Theatre Institute, Prague




Martynas Petrikas/ LTU- Associate professor at the Faculty of Communication atVilnius University.

Savas Patsalidis / GRK – Professor of Theatre at Aristotle University and the Drama School of the National Theatre of Northern Greece

Nela H. Kornetová /CZ- Independent performer and performance maker


Jiří Šimek/ CZ- Actor, Theatre Artistand co-founder of Ufftenživot Theatre Group

In the days of analogue technology, it was necessary to go to a particular place for culture. Once there, the experience was shared with other people. There was no way around it; it was inevitably a collective, shared encounter with theatre, music, paintings. In contrast, the present moment is characterised by fragmentation, digitalisation and personalisation. Algorithms curate unique experiences for each of us on the screens of our mobile devices. Films, music and paintings have simply been compressed into this space and today we are overwhelmed with compressed copies of them: MP4s, MP3s, JPGs, and GIFs. Somewhere, to the side of all this, sits the theatre, like a stone around which this digital river flows. The analogue epoch is well behind us and we’re already well into the digital phase. Can the compression of art and its solitary consumption help us to find a new appreciation for the shared and the collective? Does today’s digital experience offer a chance to arrive at a deeper and better understanding of the importance of collective experience than was possible when it was the only option? How is our relationship to shared experience changing, now that it is a choice?

The Show Must Go ON/OFF-Line is the title of a cycle of international online discussions with guests from the field of performing arts in the Czech Republic and abroad. Individual episodes are united by the common theme of sustainability and the performing arts, which moderators Martina Pecková Černá, Ondřej Škrabal, Alice Koubová, Katarína Figula, Jiří Šimek and their guests, drawn from the ranks of theatre and dance artists, curators, cultural managers and theorists, will examine from many points of view. Among these are the field’s sensitivity and responsiveness to the state of the environment and discussions around our potential to ensure that the quality of life we enjoy today is preserved for future generations. While it might appear that the critical need for social change under discussion in the fields of ecology, economics, politics and culture has been overshadowed in recent months by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the performing arts sector has faced increasing concerns about the sustainability of the field itself, particularly in relation to the chaos around different rules for social distancing, the deteriorating economic situation and unpredictable audiencebehaviour. The rapid adaptation of theatre and dance works for the virtual environment has emerged as a defensive reaction. Does this hybrid existence in real and virtual space amount to a blind alley for a field based on contact with audiences, or does it open up new worlds and new possibilities? Will spectators stay at home forever? How are artists, cultural event organisers, public support providers and educational arts institutions responding to this crisis? What helps them to orientate themselves, what do they believe in and where are they headed? How are they communicating? In dialogue with our guests, we will try to map the performing arts’ emerging strategies and first responses to this global paradigm shift.

This online webinar series is organised by ATI’s International Cooperation Department as part of its Promotion of Czech Performing Arts Abroad program and in cooperation with the European projects Create to Connect -> Create to Impact and PACE.V4. The content of the series is linked to the theme of this year’s Theatre Night in the Czech Republic: sustainABILITY. The webinars will be held on the Zoom platform and take place in English only. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask guests questions during the meetings and the recordings will be made available on ATI’s YouTube channel.

• Webinars will take place on the ZOOM platform; it is not necessary to download the application in advance.

• After filling out the registration form, you will receive an email with a link to access the webinar.

• If possible, please register 15 minutes before the start of the event to allow time to complete the registration process.

• Webinars will be held in English.
Speakers’ profiles:

Martynas Petrikas, PhDis an associate professor at the Faculty of Communication atVilnius University. His research interests include Lithuanian and Central European theatre with a special emphasis on its historical, political and social implications, as well as the international dimension of its development. Martynas has published articles and made numerous presentations at conferences on the reverberations of historical experience in contemporary theatre, as well as on twentieth century relations between Lithuanian and Polish theatre. His key publication, a contribution to the collective monograph“Post-Soviet Lithuanian Theatre: History, Identity, Memory” (in Lithuanian) was published in 2014.

Savas Patsalidis is Professor of Theatre at Aristotle University and the Drama School of the National Theatre of Northern Greece. He is also the president of the Hellenic Association of Theatre and Performing Arts Critics and the editor-in-chief of Critical Stages, the Journal of the International Association of Theatre Critics. He is the author of 26 books on theatre history and theory.

Nela H. Kornetová is an independent performer and performance maker. After graduating from the Janacek Academy of Music and Performing Arts (CZ, 2010) and Norwegian Theatre Academy (NO, 2013), she was DanceWEB 2014 scholarship holder (ImpulsTanz, Vienna). She is the artistic leader of T.I.T.S. performance group based both in Czechia and Norway. T.I.T.S. create audiovisual physical performances that focus on themes and emotions that the audience can relate to directly. They explore the possibilities of hybrid theatre forms at the intersection of play and choreography, sound, image, and body.

Jiří Šimek is a theatre artist. He makes devised pieces and is the co-founder of Ufftenživot theatre group. He studied in Petra Tejnorová’s acting studio at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU) in Prague. In his authorial theatre work, he is concerned with the confluence of physical theatre, dance, improvisation, poetry, speech and new media, always bound by the theme of the project. The theme is of primary importance because Jiří understands theatre as a tool for finding new ways of thinking and as a forum for public discussion in a “real time”and“real place” with“real sharing.”