Skip to Main Site Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Back To Top

Students explore global theatre trends at Prague festival

Published on July 06, 2023

Students explore global theatre trends at Prague festival

theatre set
A theatre set on display at the Prague Quadrennial

Thirteen Eastern Connecticut State University students were introduced to theatre traditions and practices around the world by attending the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in the Czech Republic in June.

The two-week study abroad experience was the culmination of a three-credit course this past spring in performance design and practices. The course is designed to teach students about global cultural trends and to gain an understanding of Czech culture and history.

“This is a life-changing experience for our students,” said Kristen Morgan, associate professor of theatre and performance media. “I was particularly impressed with how the students took charge of their own experiences on this trip, seeking out museums to visit, arranging a boat tour and a ghost tour for the group, and trying new foods,” she said.

“One of the most important aspects of the trip was having our students witness and take part in different cultural experiences from many represented countries and regions, expressed through creativity, interactive design and performance,” said Anya Sokolovskaya, associate professor of theatre and costume design.

The group at dinner

Exploring the city

The cemetery in the old Jewish Ghetto

Students chose a ghost tour of the town.

Hand washing to wash away spirits after leaving the cemetery

Senior Jacqueline Navickas displays her PQ credentials.

This was the 15th Prague Quadrennial, or PQ 2023. The festival was established in 1967 to attract professional and emerging artists and the public to activities highlighting design for performance, scenography and theatre architecture. This year’s PQ had nearly 11,000 accredited visitors.

“Besides the festival, we learned a lot about the city of Prague itself and the history,” said Olivia Skerry, a junior majoring in pre-early childhood education. 

“The highlight of the trip for me was the variety of performances I had the opportunity to witness,” said senior Kyle Tinker-Palaia, a theatre major. “One day I stumbled upon a satire about a toxin-worshipping cult staged under a bridge, and the next group of us saw an intimate and hilarious storytelling show about Larry Walters, who inspired the movie ‘Up.’”

“I had the opportunity to witness cutting-edge stage designs, innovative approaches to storytelling and diverse theatrical traditions from around the world,” said Tinker-Palaia. “Interacting with artists, attending workshops and exploring the exhibitions broadened my perspective on theatrical aesthetics, pushing me to think creatively and expand my own artistic boundaries.”

“It was an adjustment just to be in a different country, especially for someone like me who’s never left America until this trip,” said Celeste Petrowsky, a sophomore theatre major. Another student new to international travel, junior Ethan Pervere, said that “traveling to see the Prague Quadrennial has taught me so much about how others view theatre, and coming back I will definitely view performances and art with a new, more critical lens.”

After the trip, he said, “I realized that theatre is more than a script, actors and technical elements; theatre helps communicate our thoughts, beliefs and story.”

Written by Lucinda Weiss