Street festival Behind the Door brightens up Advent in Prague

Photo: Marion Galard

Advent in Prague is usually full of good-cheer, live music, Christmas markets and crowds of people enjoying mulled wine or roasted chestnuts in the streets. This year the coronavirus restrictions have prevented much of this happening. However the street festival Behind the Door has modified its program to meet the requirements and lighten up Advent in Prague. I asked its spokesperson Dominika Pfister to tell us what’s in store.

“The festival Behind the Door is a street theatre festival. It has already started, but the main program will be from December 7 till December 13 when people will be able to meet artists, actors and jugglers in the Prague city centre.”

What are the highlights this winter? I know it started with a procession of angels on Old Town Square.

“Yes, every Sunday –every Advent weekend – we will have a parade with big puppets. We have one giant puppet that is seven metres tall – an angel. So this procession will take place every Sunday and on weekdays there will be a lot of artists in the streets –like Bratři v Triku –a well-known duo of jugglers.”

Photo: Marion Galard

Has the festival had to be modified this year because of the coronavirus crisis and people not being allowed to gather?

“Yes, it has. Normally, we can invite people to some venue and tell them when and where the given event will take place but unfortunately this year we cannot do that. So this year we will perform for passers-by, people on their way to work or out for a walk. We cannot tell people where to go because we would be inviting them to gather and that is prohibited.”

So you will be passing through Prague and stopping at bus stops, tram stops and performing for a handful of people here and there?

“Yes, exactly. We do not have one venue where the festival takes place, but will be performing in many different places –bus stops, tram stop, in the metro or on Prague’s squares –it is not organized.”

What if people want to see the artists –will they know where to go or is it a matter of chance?

“It is much more a matter of chance. We can give them some clues – like that it is going to be in the city centre in the afternoon, but we cannot say the exact place. So you will need a bit of luck to meet us.”

Photo: Marion Galard

What is the main message this year?

“The main message is really simple, but we think it is important – we want to make people happy and dispel the bad mood which is now in the society.”

How have people responded so far?

“Very well, actually. We started on Sunday and it was really nice. We had this parade in the city centre –on Old Town Square -and there were a lot of people, families with children – and they were so happy to see something. Normally there would be live music under the Christmas tree, performances and a Christmas market and this year there was nothing in the city centre– we were the only event.”