Plzeň 2015 – The European Capital of Culture

Plzeň 2015 – The European Capital of Culture

West Bohemia’s Plzeň is becoming the Czech cultural mecca for 2015!

January 17 2015 - December 31 2015
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More than 600 events in various fields and genres – ranging from contemporary circus to exhibitions, concerts, theatre, dance, education projects and large-scale events in the public space – will be held in Plzeň from 17th January 2015 until the end of the year under the auspices of the European Capital of Culture 2015 project.

The events will be taking place in all parts of the city: in cultural institutions as well as in public space. In most of these, the Plzeň 2015 project cooperates with local, national and foreign organizers, institutions and partners. In terms of genre, the programme will be ranging from theatre, music, exhibition, architecture, dance, performances, art installations in the public space and community events to education projects and meetings. Over the year, Plzeň 2015 will provide over 50 large cultural events in the public space and over 600 other events.

Rock for People Europe
Favourite music festival Rock for People will get the blood flowing in the veins of everyone who comes to Pilsen in the first week of July! The festival will welcome bands from 28 member states of the EU, introducing the famous British heavy rock'n'roll band Motörhead, the sensational Austrian electro-swing DJ Parov Stelar, the German band Guano Apes, the English dub-step quartet Modestep or musician Pete Doherty and many others.
9 Weeks of Baroque festival
9 Weeks of Baroque festival will bring experience Baroque with all your senses. Pilsen region will  offer tours of Baroque castles, music production, theatre performances, concerts in churches, guide tours of towns or historic fireworks. The 9 Weeks of Baroque festival invites you to daily programmes held over 63 days at 63 locations in West Bohemia. 
Carros de Foc: Giant puppets in the streets
A giant-puppet show by the theatre group Carros De Foc will be presented in Pilsen as a tribute to Pilsen puppetry. Carros De Foc is an internationally unique theatre group from Spain that has been working with giant puppets for more than 20 years. The Pilsen project Pilsen Dreaming will introduce 8 giant puppets with sound. Apart from the classical parade puppets, giant marionettes and a unique flying bird will also be introduced.

The transformation of Plzeň into the Czech cultural capital has begun in autumn 2014 when the West Bohemian capital became home to Manège Carré Senart – a magical circus of Francois Delarozière, a visual artist of the theatre society Royal de Luxe from Nantes, for which he created a series of giant puppets that walk around city streets. Plzeň was only the ninth city in the world where this performance appeared.

A programme throbbing with live culture

The programme will start in January by the performance of a top-class tightrope walker and acrobat David Dimitri and in February the city will be ablaze with a Festival of Light lasting several days. The schedule for March includes the official opening of the Culture Factory in the former Světovar brewery which, with its four versatile halls, is meant to become a haven for live art, artist residencies and the local artist community. In 2015, Světovar will be hosting theatre co-productions with Théâtre Le Manège from the Belgian town of Mons and other partners. In April, various factory sites in the city will turn into art spaces as part of an event called Imagination Factory. The Liberation Festival in May will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Plzeň by the American army.

Furthermore, May and June will be the peak months for art to occupy public space with temporary visual exhibits, neighbourhood parties or opening of unexplored places. Also coming up is the concert of the American legend Lynyrd Skynyrd which will, for the first time in the Czech Republic, play on the Festival of Freedom on 1st May 2015. The band has chosen the date on purpose in order to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Plzeň liberation.

Not only the citizens of Plzeň but also the city’s visitors can eagerly anticipate the multi-genre festival Vivid Street and a project called 9 Weeks of Baroque – an extensive programme of live art events set in unique baroque monuments within the Plzeň region. In September, the International Festival “Theatre” will be accompanied by a recently established parade of contemporary circus, which will blend in with the rest of the season of this popular genre. Throughout the whole year, the squares and neighbourhoods of Plzeň will be livened up by leading names of the European contemporary circus such as Les Colporteurs or Cirque Trottola. The programme of the J. K. Tyl Theatre will include pieces from contemporary theatre and dance.

Together with local organizers, we pay special attention to exhibitions that celebrate prominent personalities connected with the city. The oeuvre of Jiří Trnka will be presented to both children and parents in an exhibition inspired by his famous book The Garden (Zahrada) and prepared by Trnka’s son Jakub and grandson Matyáš. The West Bohemian Gallery will introduce the works of great artists of the Munich Secession and pioneers of the avant-garde from the collections of the Villa Stuck Museum in Munich and the Lenbachhaus Gallery – among others Gabriel von Max, Franz von Stuck, Vassily Kandinski, Paul Klee and other members of the group Der Blaue Reiter but also Czech representatives of Art Nouveau and modernism who lived and worked in Munich in the same period.
For the first time, the West Bohemian Gallery will bring to Europe from New Zealand a unique collection of Maori portraits of the Plzeň-born Bohumír Lindauer. The West Bohemian Museum will commemorate the legacy of the world-famous designer Ladislav Sutnar. A special tour will let the visitors access unique apartment interiors by the architect Adolf Loos in Plzeň. An exhibition of contemporary puppet-making in all Europe is also emerging, supervised by Matěj Forman. Furthermore, an exhibition of contemporary design from all over the world will be set in the factory premises of the Pilsner Urquell brewery.

One of the goals of the European Capital of Culture is to contribute to the development of the whole region. Plzeň 2015 will therefore focus on three topics typical for West Bohemia but not yet adequately explored: industrial heritage, art in the landscape and baroque monuments, which will be lit up with music performances and a programme for all week. In association with the Research Centre for Industrial Heritage, a guide to industrial monuments is being created. The Faculty of Art and Design helps bring back to life abandoned churches in the Sudetenland region along the border.

Apart from that, Plzeň 2015 will not be oblivious to minorities and citizens of all ages and nationalities. For instance, the Uncle Tom’s Cabin project has been engaging foreigners living in Plzeň in creative workshops since the end of 2013, and choreographer Peter Jaško is preparing a performance for the occasion of the gathering of the Sokol movement in Plzeň in 2015.