Prague Fringe Festival gets underway on Sunday


Prague’s seventh annual Fringe Festival, a marathon of theatre, dance, comedy, music and film from around the world, gets underway in the Czech capital on Sunday. Running for eight days, it will offer 227 English, Czech or non-verbal shows performed by 39 companies. Steven Gove, the man behind the Prague Fringe Festival, told me what is on offer this year:

“Well this year we have got 39 different groups coming from all over the world, so it’s a real mixed bag of performances, including dance, music, theatre and puppet theatre too.”

Is there anything in particular that you would like to draw attention to?

“It is almost impossible to pick a highlight from such a rich programme but there are a lot of really quite interesting pieces and I’ll mention maybe one or two of them. We have got the national saxophone choir from Great Britain. It’s a 20-strong group of saxophonists who will play together. There is a dance troupe from Scotland. They are young Scottish dancers who will dance traditional Scottish dances. We have got comedy, such as Topping and Butch, who perform at the Fringe every year and this is their 6th year. There is a theatre ensemble from the United States, a magic show from San Francisco. There is a dance performance from the Czech group Veselé Skoky and many, many more things.”

Who is actually your target audience? Is it mainly the English speaking community here in Prague?

“A lot of English speakers or lets say non-Czechs who speak English do come to the Fringe. But an increasing number of Czechs come every year; usually younger Czechs and a lot of students. Our target audience is a real mix. We have tourist who fly in specifically for the Fringe Festival. Some tourists who are already in Prague find us and come to the Fringe. And there are of course many thousands of expats living here. And locals make up a large part of the audience, too.”

Would you say that Prague ha proven to be the right venue for this kind of festival?

“I think so. A few years before we started to put the idea together I noticed that there was a very successful German language theatre festival in Prague and I thought: English is the “in” language today and it will become more so as the years go on. So I sort of predicted that this would be very interesting for locals and it is proving to be correct because every year more and more Czechs come to the Fringe and they understand the performances with no difficulty or with little difficulty.”