Prague has a new cultural venue. The cantilevered glass building located next to the National Museum, which was until recently protected with concrete barriers to prevent a terrorist attack, has now opened to the public. You can explore its history dating back to the 1930s, when it hosted the Prague stock exchange. During the communist era, it was home to parliament, and between 1995 and February 2009 it was Radio Free Europe’s headquarters.
Now headed by the National Museum, the venue will host exhibitions and other cultural events beginning this fall. On 16 September, an exhibition will open to present the Košice Gold Treasure, which ranks among the most unique European coin discoveries. On 9-16 October, the annual International Theatre Festival Four Days in Motion will present ensembles from Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Mali and South Africa. On the anniversary of Velvet Revolution, 17 November, an exhibition called Be Free will open here to illustrate life in communist Czechoslovakia. The building is open daily from 10am to 6pm for guided tours, also available in English, for CZK 80.
Today at 9pm, an open-air circus performance with fire jugglers and clowns will start the sixth season of new circus, theatre, music and visual arts up on Letná. The Letní Letná festival will run through 31 August. Highlights include performances of the French ensembles Cirque Trottola and Le Boustrophédon, as well as La Putyka, a performance that uses acrobatics, puppetry, dance and wushu to convey the atmosphere of an evening at a Czech pub. Read last week’s Do It for more information.
A dreamy ballad of sexual dependency, Holdin’ Fast, enters the stage of the Ponec Theatre on Saturday, 22 August. The performance was created by DOT 504, the Czech Republic’s first fully professional physical dance theatre company. Helena Arenbergerová was nominated for the 2007 Thalia Prize for her performance in Holdin’ Fast.
The British Shakespeare Company will take the stage at the Summer Shakespeare Festival at Prague Castle to perform two comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing, from 21 to 23 August. Besides the projected rain showers on Saturday, nothing should spoil the open-air performance presented by professional Shakespearean actors in English.
On Thursday, Primal Scream and Pro-Pain will open the Trutnov festival, which is recognised as the Czech Republic’s oldest al fresco music event focusing on alternative rock. Trutnov started 22 years ago as an anti-communist underground festival with Václav Havel as one of the participants. Ex-president Havel who was elected the festival’s chief in 2007, is likely to attend this year. The event takes place on its traditional premises, Na Bojišti, through Sunday.
More on music. All of the Křižík Fountain’s 3,000 nozzles, 50 water pumps and 1,200 submerged floodlights at the Holešovice fairgrounds will remain switched off on 23 August. Instead the venue will be covered with a big stage, large-scale projections and light effects to host Radiohead, who will be performing in the Czech Republic for the first time. The show begins at 7pm.
In mood for classical music? Prague’s Rudolfinum is hosting an event celebrating the works of Antonín Dvořák and other renowned composers from 21 August to 4 September. To open the Dvořák’s Prague festival on Friday, leading violinist Pavel Šporcl will play Berlioz, Mendelssohn and Dvořák’s Symphony No 8 accompanied by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier.
Ready to move? The Czech Australian New Zealand Association CANZA is organising an Australasian Beach Day at Žluté Lázné on Saturday 22 August. Demonstration mini-tournaments of various beach sports popular in Australia and New Zealand on the sand –including beach cricket, touch rugby, Aussie Rules and beach volleyball – as well as wine tasting, kangaroo BBQ and activities for kids are on the schedule. The cost to participate is CZK 150 per person.