5 Prague Fringe picks for 2024: A spotlight on international performances

Opening this week, the Prague Fringe Festival features a set to transport audiences around the globe, from Ukraine to India and beyond.

Lindsay Taylor Stewart

Written by Lindsay Taylor Stewart Published on 27.05.2024 13:20:00 (updated on 28.05.2024) Reading time: 4 minutes

For people who live to see theater in the Czech capital, spring doesn’t officially blossom until the curtains rise at the Prague Fringe Festival. Each May, a vibrant (and sometimes noisy) theater-loving crowd descends on the Malostranská Beseda and nearby venues for a six-day celebration of all things Fringe and the artists who craft them.

This year’s Prague Fringe Festival is exceptionally global, featuring works from artists across four continents. The 2024 program boasts an impressive 36 carefully curated productions representing 15 countries from diverse storytellers, thespians, and comedians set to energize the streets and backroom stages of Malá Strana. Prague Fringe Founder/Director Steve Gove responds to the worldwide interest:

“This year, we received the largest number of international applications since the pandemic, so we have a bumper selection of shows—that’s on top of the usual range of incredible shows from the UK and, of course, the Czech Republic.”

He’s not kidding. From Australia to Canada, Finland to Japan, and India to Italy, performers are clear that this City of Spires is a welcoming, relaxed, and intimate must-stop on the World Fringe stage.

Audiences will undoubtedly look forward to UK award-winning veterans, such as Emily Carding for Let the Bodies Pile, written by Henry Naylor, or Pip Utton, who will present At Home with William Shakespeare. Perhaps they’ll take in English fan-favorite, Happily Ever Poofter, or keep it local with the Prague-based loveable greybeards in Jára Cimrman’s The Stand-In. Beyond these and other anticipated titles is a treasure trove of Fringe-finds for audiences looking to be transported.

Get a glimpse of five worldly productions that piqued my curiosity:

Alice (Italy)

Alice, a 34-year-old woman with a successful career and a loving partner, defies societal expectations and dares not to start a family. This decision forms the central theme of this comedic monologue. “Alice No" delves into the timely and often contentious topics of abortion and the decision to go it child-free. Winner of the “Best of Catania” award and presented at Prague Fringe as part of the ongoing partnership with Milan Off and Catania Off Fringe Festivals, “Alice No” will no doubt leave a mark. Seize the opportunity to see this storyteller perform her piece in Italian on May 30 or see it in English during her run at the Museum of Alchemists.

Museum of Alchemists
29.05. 18:30–19:25
30.05. 19:45–20:40
31.05. 21:30–22:25
01.06. 16:45–17:40
In Italian May 30 (otherwise in English)
Link to show

Unerase Poetry - Stories from India (India)

“Poetry from Home” aptly defines this heart-baring show presented by a spoken word collective growing in internet fame and coming straight to us from Mumbai. Helly Shah, Taranjit Kaur, and Simar Singh will tell tales of identity, love, injustice, and hope. In their first-ever international run, they promise to share their most personal experiences from India with Prague audiences. Catch a performance in Hindi on May 30, offering a linguistic experience meant to enrich the cultural tapestry of the festival, or hear their voices in English at the Malostranská Beseda starting May 27.

Malostranská Beseda
27.05. 20:45–21:45
28.05. 21:30–22:30
30.05. 21:45–22:45
31.05. 18:00–19:00
01.06. 19:30–20:30
Language: In Hindi – May 30 (otherwise in English)
Link to show

The Whisper of The Waves (Taiwan)

Shinehouse Theatre’s Taiwanese production explores the emotional landscapes of everyday people facing pivotal life moments. “The Whisper of The Waves” weaves the stories of a lonely taxi driver with a deeply rooted connection to a potted plant, a same-sex couple grappling with parenting decisions, and a woman on a final journey with her cat. Viewing the trailer shows that this production is bound to be a sensory delight with a surrealistic set, immersive soundscape, and high-concept stylization. It has earned accolades for its creativity and depth, snagging the Lustrum Award at the 2022 Summerhall Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and can be seen at Divadlo Inspirace throughout the festival week.

Divadlo Inspirace
29.05. 18:00–19:30
30.05. 18:45–20:15
31.05. 18:15–19:45
01.06. 19:45–21:15
Language: Taiwanese (with English and Czech surtitles)
Link to show

Blooming (Ukraine)

“Blooming," a vivid two-woman show exploring the often silenced or emotionally charged responses to violence, comes from the heart of a country with a resilient spirit. Using excerpts from Tamara Duda’s novel Daughter and real-life testimonials, this piece navigates the cyclical nature of trauma while inviting the notion of recovery and peace. “Blooming” is a powerful narrative that spotlights the critical issue of violence against women. It garnered attention at the VII International Theatre Festival JoyFest and received the award for Polycultural Dialogue. Playing at Divadlo Inspirace for only three nights starting from May 30.

Divadlo Inspirace
30.05. 20:45–21:35
31.05. 15:30–16:20
01.06. 21:45–22:35
Language: Easy English
Link to show

Standing on the Miraculous Field (Netherlands/Japan)

​​Terra Norhiro Terazawa, a Japanese storyteller based in the Netherlands, returns to his familial roots to visit a Japanese school and connect with memories of his father. Accompanied by Lisa, his girlfriend (and a musician), Terra’s goal of setting up a sustainable farm together surprisingly shifts to a “do nothing” approach. Expect this performance to challenge viewers to consider their relationship with nature and the land that sustains us. “Standing on the Miraculous Field” is just one of the shows opening the festival and playing at Divadlo Inspirace all week.

Divadlo Inspirace
27.05. 20:30–21:30
28.05. 19:30–20:30
29.05. 20:15–21:15
31.05. 20:15–21:15
01.06. 16:45–17:45
Language: English
Link to show

Still on the fence about Fringe?

Set against the postcard backdrop of one of Prague’s prettiest historic districts, the Prague Fringe Festival is a must-visit event for arts and culture enthusiasts.  

Dare to stay out late on a school night at the Malostranská Beseda Fringe Club post-shows to share your impressions of the shows you’ve seen and connect with a like-minded community of veteran performers, local and global talent, volunteers, audience members, and reviewers. See one show or twenty; there’s no right way to Fringe.  

Like every year, there’s plenty of opportunity to see handpicked shows that provoke or evoke. Word of mouth spreads fast, so purchase tickets for those popular productions early. Visit Prague Fringe Festival’s official site to explore the complete program, buy tickets, or purchase a Fringe Pass.

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