International Festival of Contemporary Circus and Theatre
Letní Letná Is Going Light!
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For sixteen years, Letní Letná has been setting the trends of contemporary circus in the Czech Republic and has become an integral part of the annual Czech and European map of cultural events.
Since its very beginning, the festival has presented the crème de la crème of international contemporary circus. It also systematically supports the local circus scene and has helped numerous artists enter the world of circus tents.
Letní Letná 2019
The 16th edition of the Letní Letná festival of contemporary circus and theater boasted a magnificent opening: charming French tightrope walker Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga walked over the Vltava from the Law School building up to the Letná hill with no safety harness. Thousands of people held their breath as they watched her from the riverbanks and nearby bridges and thousands more joined them thanks to a live broadcast.
The festival program focused on top-class international artists. Their performances perfectly illustrated the diversity and artistic span of contemporary circus. Canadian Cirque Alfonse presented their humorous and dynamic Tabarnak. A unique group of 17 female artists brought Projet.PDF which dealt with important women’s topics. Saison du Cirque by Cirque Aïtal invited the audience to a world where contemporary and traditional circus united. Last but not least, T1J (Théâtre d’Un Jour) presented an unparalleled mix of theater, acrobatics and singing in an extremely spowerful show.
The festival is proud to be an important platform for the Czech contemporary circus scene and strives to support local artists. Besides such well-established names as Losers Cirque Company or Cirk La Putyka, it gave a variety of less-known Czech artists an opportunity to perform in front of a live audience: Collective Momentum, Holektiv, Bratři v Tricku, Squadra Sua, Cink Cink Cirk, VOSTO5 and others. As usual, the festival featured the Cirksession and the Juggling Gala variety shows.
The festival was visited by a total of 60,000 spectators and another 30,000 watched the opening show.
When we were starting out, I frankly believed that contemporary circus was beautiful, free-minded, romantic, creative and exciting. I believed that it had a future and that it made sense to let the public know. And I am confident this still applies!
The Letní Letná festival has celebrated its 15th birthday. Since its creation it has taught Czechs to love circus artists.
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.
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.
Since 2015 Letní Letná has held the EFFE label – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe. The label was created by European Festivals Association. In total 23 Czech festivals received it in 2019.