Prague's new summer venue to house circus, cabaret, and concert acts under the big top

The temporary tent at Výstaviště, designed to meet the current requirements for live performance, opens on May 25.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 20.05.2021 12:00 (updated on 20.05.2021)

A new temporary venue is opening up for the summer in Výstaviště in Prague’s Holešovice district. The circus tent Azyl78 will open on Tuesday, May 25, and until the end of September, it will offer a program of a live theater and concerts, some of which have no language barrier.

Under the current pandemic restrictions, a negative Covid test, certificate showing a completed vaccination, or recovery from Covid is required to attend events. For visitors’ convenience, testing can be done before the show next to the box office for people who do not already have a recent antigen test. People who want to use the service should be sure to come early. Also, the tent is at the far end of Výstaviště, a bit beyond the end of the Brussels Road, so people should leave enough time to walk from the park entrance.

Tickets are on sale at Jatka78 website, in cooperation with the Goout ticket network, and at the box office in front of the tent. Audience size is limited by law, so booking in advance is recommended.

The tent is conceived as an asylum for performing artists. Cirk La Putyka, the driving force behind the project, is normally at home in Jatka78 in the Prague Market, but that space is under renovation. They came up with the idea of a tent as an asylum not only for themselves, but other performing troupes, musicians, and guests.

When finished, the outside of the tent will feature a black-and-white mural by artist Lukáš Musil, aka Musa. He took inspiration from both the idea of the tent as place of traditional rituals and from cave paintings. The inside of the tent is black, the provide a theater-like space for the performers that can even be used in the daytime.

Azyl78 is on the Výstaviště’s border with Stromovka Park. “For me it is important to have grass, nature, and trees around,” Štěpán Kubišta, director of the Jatka78 theater, said. He added that is was necessary to take a new approach to the audience after such a long separation from culture.

“We expect them to go to the park rather than to a classic stone theater, and that before the performance they will lie down on the grass under a tree, have a beer, then go to the performance and then maybe stay longer,” he said.

Azyl78, under construction. (Photo: Jatka78)
Azyl78, under construction. (Photo: Jatka78)

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The first show will be Kabaret pot a lesk aneb azyl pro všechny druhy umění (Cabaret Sweat and Shine or an asylum for all kinds of art), a new circus performance by Cirk La Putyka and friends, directed by Rosťa Novák, Jr. The show, which will run for five days in a row, will feature acrobatics, dance, and live music. (New circus does not make use of trained animals.) The special opening evening on May 25 will also be broadcast online on the Film Naživo platform.

The name of show is a pun, as “potlesk” means applause, while “pot a lesk” refers to the sweat (pot) the artists put in before they can shine (lesk) on stage and put the two word together to create applause.

“We are returning to nomadic life and the roots of circus art. We are all justifying why we missed the stage so much, and we look for answers. Proof of this is Azyl78, a dream come true for me. The audience will be able to see what it means for us to to share the stage with the spectator,” director Rosťa Novák said.

Tata Bojs. (Photo: Salim Issa)
Tata Bojs. (Photo: Salim Issa)

He also praised the concept of the stage as a place to unify the arts in this time of crisis.

“At the beginning of the 20th century, there was a great struggle between theaters, circuses, opera houses, and cinematographers. We are now trying to connect them all in this circus space: To become a culture asylum,” he added.

Another highlight on the schedule is Velký Třesk! (Big Bang!), featuring Czech music group Tata Bojs and dance group Dekkadancers. The show will features songs (in Czech) from the albums Jedna nula and Nanoalbum. It runs for three performances from June 16 to 17 and reprise from July 5 to 7.

Dekkadancers also have a solo show called Bez Hranic: Poslední Večeře (Without Borders: Last Supper) on July 3 and 4. More dance can be found with Lenka Vagnerová & Company performing Panoptikum on June 19, and Pražský Komorní Balet performing L.I.VE on July 2.

Poslední Večeře. (Photo: Dekkadancers)
Poslední Večeře. (Photo: Dekkadancers)

Another musical evening is Czech pop star Aneta Langerová performing from her album Dvě slunce (Two Suns) on Aug. 9.

Cirk La Putyka has some shows that have a bit of Czech language but are basically visual. The new circus show Kaleidoscope, running July 20 to 24, is billed as partly in Czech but it heavily features acrobatics and dance. Kabaret Dynamit also has a bit of language but should be “internationally friendly.” It runs from July 24 to 27.  

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