O festivalu


The Letní Letná festival has celebrated its 15th birthday. Since its creation it has taught Czechs to love circus artists.
------- Reflex, 2018 -------------

Prague's Letní Letná festival brings international and Czech acts which inspire the audience to create their own definitions of contemporary circus. And every year, these definitions are challenged.
------- Radmila Hrdinová, Právo 2017 -------------

Contemporary circus is a widely accessible genre, which makes it an easy starting point. Yet, disregarding the criterion of quality may be equally harmful in this field as in any other. Looking back at the thirteen editions of Letní Letná, there is no single item that wouldn’t reach the quality bar. A unique phenomenon, indeed.
------- Jana Machalická, Lidové noviny, 2016 -------

For fifteen years Letní Letná has been setting the trends of contemporary circus in Czechia. It has become an inseparable part of the Czech and European map of cultural events. Since the very beginning the festival has been introducing the crème de la crème of the international contemporary circus. Furthermore, it tirelessly develops the local scene and helps many troupes enter the world chapiteau.

Since its founding in 2004, the festival Letní Letná presented 1,700 shows that were attended by the overall number of 390,000 spectators. The festival’s attractiveness is incessantly growing: the first edition offered 60 shows to 6,300 spectators, the last edition in 2018 then lured over 55,000 spectators to as many as 190 shows. Within its fifteen year of existence, Letní Letná has grown into a stable pillar of the cultural calendar, not only in Prague but also on the national level, building up a unique profile of an event that systematically hosts the best of international contemporary circus and, at the same time, provides cultural and leisure activities to children and their families.

Letní Letná has become a solid platform presenting the work of Czech contemporary circus and theatre companies to the general public. The festival regularly features new works of such groups as Cirk La Putyka, Losers Cirque Company, Cirque Garuda and others. The charm of the event as a whole translates into massive and effective publicity for such specific projects. Besides, the festival is an important meeting point where Czech artists can approach foreign productions, serving as an enriching interface for the development of new circus as a discipline in the Czech Republic.

Furthermore, Letní Letná is a co-producer of European projects: in 2012 the festival was involved in and later successfully presented a premiere of LaCrimae (a piece bringing together the Swedish company CirkusCirkör, the French Cahin-Caha and the Czech company Cirk La Putyka). In 2014, Letní Letná became a co-producer of a project of the Belgian company Le Poivre Rose, one to feature Iva Bittová live on stage. Another coproduction followed in 2015 with Losers Cirque Company and their piece Walls & Handbags that was awarded the Theatre Journal Award in the category of Dance and Movement Theatre.

The festival also helps mediate contact between Czech artists and the international scene and therefore encourages the growth and development of the genre of contemporary circus in the Czech Republic.

LETNÍ LETNÁ 2018... about the 15th edition of the festival

This year the Letní Letná festival celebrated its fifteenth birthday and it pushed its own boundaries yet again, both in terms of performances and visitors – over 55,000 people visited the festival.

There was a magnificent open-air show for the fifteenth anniversary of the festival. Over thirty artists, clowns, dancers and musicians from Czechia and abroad demonstrated their skills under the baton of Daniel Gulko in the performance De Nova Stella which was custom-made for Letní Letná. The show played twice and it was free.

The festival visitors could also see several premieres. There was the European premiere of Dans ton Coeur which is a brand-new show by Akoreacro. The audience reception was great and both critics and the public were excited about it. The Losers Cirque Company who are known to the audience presented their new performance Vzduchem. Baro d´Evel Cirk Cie performed their one-of-a-kind experience Bestias featuring acrobats, horses, parrots and a crow. Adventurers Cirque Inextremiste came with their show Extensions the successful sequel to their Extrêmités.

The festival is proud to be a significant platform of the Czech contemporary circus scene and it tries to support local artists and troupes. A lot of young companies were presented to the public this year – Vít Neznal & kol., Bratři v tricku, Holektiv, Collective Momentum, Feel the Universe Circus Company, Divadlo Bolka Polivky, Squadra Sua, VOSTO5, Cink Cink Cirk and others.

Letní Letná had a lot to offer to contemporary circus professionals, too. There was an international conference Circus and Its Others II exploring difference in (contemporary) circus practice organized by CIRQUEON – The Centre for Contemporary Circus.

For the first time in festival history a presentation of Czech contemporary circus artists Professional Days was organized. It was mainly intended for foreign promoters, festival directors and attendees of the conference Circus and Its Others. In three days, there were six evening shows and two evening extravaganzas – The Jugglery Gala Show and Cirksession – showcasing the best of the Czech contemporary circus scene. Artists could meet the audience at two informal get-togethers.

Another part of the festival has been, since its beginning, the children’s programme. Apart from performances for children of all ages, there were art and dance workshops and other activities. The circus day camp Letní Letňák is traditionally very popular among children and the same applies to the weekend Letňáček PLUS. For the third year in a row we also provided parents with a baby-sitting service called the Noční hlídka (Night Watch).

The festival area was accessible free of charge and featured the Letní Poloha Bar which turned into a circus tent with music in the evenings.

Photo: František Ortmann