Transformations of space and its importance for contemporary theatre work

As part of the International Meeting of Students of Art Colleges Gaudeamus Theatrum, Drak Theatre is organising its fourth public conference. This year’s gathering is dedicated to site-specific work and the theme of the conference itself, which is the importance of space for contemporary theatre work, is related to this. Together, we will thus be able to contemplate and show on a number of remarkable examples from practice how the thinking of the role of space is changing, or what forms and meanings space can acquire in contemporary work. Is it only an indispensable circumstance and condition of creation, one of the means of production, a possible theme, or can it even become an active creative partner? And what to do with terms like immersive or site-specific? What exactly do or can they mean?



9:30 am                 Presentation, opening remarks

9:45 am – 11:15 am      1st block (presentation of guests, moderated discussion)

11:15 am – 11:30 am    Pause

11:30 am – 1:00 pm     2nd block (presentation of guests, moderated discussion)


Moderated by: Tomáš Jarkovský


1st block – Transformations of the theatre space


Guests: Lucia Škandíková
Jan Mocek
Anna Chrtková


Lucia Škandíková: Looking for the relationship between the frame and the scenographic space

What am I willing to believe in the theatre? I accept that what I am looking at in the theatre is being staged in advance and I approach it as a play in which I assume I will be manipulated. From a semiotic point of view, everything that is on the stage is a sign and a component of an illusive space. As a viewer, I know this is a fictional analogy of the world. Theorists generally tend to deal with fact and fiction separately. In my work, I focus on the boundary that bridges these concepts. I am interested in the visual organisation of the space, which designates where the theatrical image begins and ends, which we perceive as a sign in the viewer’s perception, and what separates it from the space of the observer’s true reality. Is it possible to perceive these different realities as a homogeneous whole? I focus specifically on the search for the relationship between the frame and the scenographic space.

Lucia Škandíková graduated in Costumes and Masks at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts under professor Jana Zbořilová. She spent half a year studying at the Institut del Teatre in Barcelona. She is involved in theatre and film scenography and costumes, focusing on original documentary theatre and installations in her work. She works with directors Daniela Špinar, Viliam Dočolomanský, Radim Vizváry, Jiří Havelka, Veronika Riedlbauchová, Sláva Daubnerová, Petr Boháč, Miřenka Čechová, etc. As a stage designer, she has contributed to a number of performances both in the Czech Republic and in Europe (Slovenia, Estonia, Slovakia).


Jan Mocek: Virtual city

It is said that while the moving pictures defined the twentieth century, video games will dominate the twenty-first century. To which era does the theatre belong? In his contribution, theatre director Jan Mocek focuses on the possibilities of connecting digital worlds with the offline reality of the theatre and on the concrete example of the Virtual Ritual performance, which he created in Archa Theatre in 2019. He will try to explain in what ways video games can be inspirational for the theatre.


Jan Mocek’s projects are on the edge of theatre and visual art. In his performances, he combines elements of pop culture, politics and documentary and focuses on current topics. Fatherland (2018), Virtual Ritual (2019), I am the problem (2020), Present: Perfect (2021), Landscape with Pheasant, Hare and Deer (2022), and Happy Hour (2023) are his latest productions, which have appeared both at domestic and foreign theatres and festivals, e.g. Komuna Warszawa, Submerge Digital Arts Festival, 4+4 dny v pohybu, Fast Forward Dresden, Divadelná Nitra, etc. He presents his projects together with Táňa Švehlová as part of their own production platform SixHouses. He is a member of the In-Situ platform.


Anna Chrtková: Curatorial practice of Y Events as a composition of temporary relationship structures

Y Events is a series of single events focusing on contemporary performative art, the connection of local and international scenes, the blending of genres and the search for new narratives, organisational structures and thematic frameworks. Y Events create a shared space-time continuum that seeks to find the points of contact between exhibiting, acting or performing, in which participating artists, theorists or artistic collectives take part, as do incoming visitors. The contribution presents the practice of Y Events as inseparable from the operation, space and supporting structures of Divadlo X10, thanks to which the curatorship can be seen to be procedural artistic research of the possibilities of black box and white cube practices of art presentations.

Anna Chrtková is a stage designer and curator dealing with the intersection of performative and visual arts, currently working as a PhD student at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre in DAMU. In 2019, she graduated with a Master’s degree from the Studio of Scenography at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno and in 2020 she studied the Theory of Interactive Media at Masaryk University’s Faculty of Arts. She has been cooperating with the Prague theatre Divadlo X10 for a long time, where she and Petr Dlouhý are behind the experimental dramaturgical series Y Events. As a stage designer, she cooperates with Czech studio stages (HaDivadlo, Husa na provázku Theatre, Na cucky Theatre, Studio Alta, etc.). For the Prague is not Czech project, she won the Prize for Imagination at 2019’s Prague Quadrennial together with the Intelektrurálně collective.



2nd Block – The site-specific phenomenon


Guests: Tomáš Žižka
Martina Schlegelová
Matyáš Dlab


Tomáš Žižka: Recycling of mamapapa site-specific projects


In a brief retrospective covering the recent past, we are given the opportunity to look at an analysis of the methodology as it was developed in practice after the November Revolution until the present day, when various artistic approaches to a place were verified in individual projects and presented chronologically in the historical context of theatre and artistic work. An ideal site-specific project is always conceived with the knowledge of the framework and wider context, works with a dynamic structure of interactions to the site, but also to society and its conditions.


Tomáš Žižka is a scenographer, musician, performer, teacher of scenography in the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre in DAMU Prague, director, initiator and implementer of site-specific projects, lecturer of seminars for amateur theatre actors, member of juries. After finishing his studies in woodcarving at the Secondary School of Applied Arts in Bratislava and graduating from the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU in Prague, he is mostly engaged in team theatre work or pedagogical activities. He works as a guest lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade and teaches at the University of Arts in Utrecht. He has participated in a number of workshops and symposia in non-traditional spaces and contexts. At the same time, he focuses on film, documentary and audiovisual works in non-traditional environments and situations. He is a co-founder of the mamapapa civic association with Martin Janíček and others.


Martina Schlegelová: South Specific – a new biennial of open-air, site-specific and immersive theatre

Last year, České Budějovice won the competition for the title of 2028 European Capital of Culture. One of the flagship projects in their application is the new international theatre festival South Specific, which will be held every even year in České Budějovice and its surroundings. It builds on the tradition of open-air, site-specific and immersive theatre, which began in South Bohemia in the middle of the last century. The contribution presents the initial edition of this “experience-based” festival, which will take place this year, as well as future plans. It will also try to briefly answer the question of the sustainability of such an event.


Martina Schlegelová studied the dramaturgy and direction of drama theatre at Prague’s DAMU. Since her studies, she has been interested in contemporary drama and the independent theatre scene, and in 2006 she established herself as the Artistic Director at the independent Prague theatre Divadlo LETÍ, where she worked until August 2023. She has also worked in municipal theatres, such as the Klicpera Theatre in Hradec Králové, Slovácké divadlo in Uherské Hradiště, Brno’s HaDivadlo, the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Plzeň and the F. X. Šalda Theatre in Liberec. For eleven years she worked as a teacher in the Department of Theory and Criticism at DAMU, where she also passed her doctoral examination. She occasionally translates from English and German, especially contemporary drama. Since 2013, she has also been directing for radio, and for four years she has worked as a regular director for Czech Radio. She worked as the Artistic Director for Drama in the South Bohemian Theatre from February 2018 to December 2023. Since 1 January 2024, she has been appointed Director of the South Bohemian Theatre.


Matyáš Dlab: Composite-specific – selected creative approaches of the D’epog collective

The art collective D’epog is dedicated to intermedia work, which is based on the practice of performing arts. It has long been working without a permanent stage and usually implements its projects in non-theatre spaces. Matyáš Dlaba’s contribution will present selected creative approaches of the D’epog collective, which were used in the past in relation to specific spaces and environments. It will introduce various strategies, such as the use of the architectural, aesthetic and physical qualities of space, as well as the practice and memory of their common use. Selected examples will include the staging of projects, one-off performances and events in gallery or cinema environments.

Matyáš Dlab studied the Theory and History of the Dramatic Arts at Palacký University in Olomouc and Theatre Dramaturgy and Drama Direction at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno. Since 2014, he has been a member of the artistic collective D’epog. Since 2019, he has been the Artistic Director of the Terén platform, the stage of the Centre for Experimental Theatre.



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