The Prague Quadrennial, one of the most prestigious international exhibits of theatre design, will take place at the Industrial Palace in Prague from June 7-11. Known in the theatre community as the PQ, this year's showcase for scenery, costumes, and architecture expects representation from more than 40 countries, including work by some of the most renowned designers in the world.
Organized by the Czech Republic and the Czech Theatre Institute, the PQ has been held every four years for more than 30 years and is aimed at professionals, students, and others interested in theatre and design. This year as always, the centerpiece of the Quadrennial is the National Exhibit, where countries from every continent are invited to mount exemplary theatrical designs.
Another exhibit of note this year, "Homage to the Theatre," will highlight the works of a single designer, a single theatrical concept, or the contributions of a particular theatre. Housed in the center of the Palace, this exhibit will celebrate seminal figures in theatre design and architecture. The Theatre Architecture Exhibit will focus on contemporary design of theatre buildings and those who have created them. PQ 99 will also feature work by students, representing their countries and international theatre schools, in the Student Design Exhibit. A performance space will be incorporated into the Student Design Exhibit to foster interaction between students and professional designers.
For the first time, visitors to PQ 99 also will be invited to participate in seminars, master classes, hands-on workshops, tours of the theatre industry in Prague, and of the city itself. The International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects, and Technicians (OISTAT) has also stepped in to assist PQ organizers in offering a parallel program in theatre design and architecture for both students and professionals. The week-long series of events planned by OISTAT will begin on June 8 and include master classes by leading designers and presentations from professionals in allied fields such as theatre research, puppetry, and theatre librarianship. Sessions will range from small group presentations to hands-on workshops in craft and design to comprehensive presentations by notable costume, scenery and lighting designers.
Speakers scheduled to participate in the OISTAT program include: lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, who will present a session on the creativity of lighting design, including a look at her recent projects; set designer Desmond Heeley, who will lead a workshop for student designers, including a portfolio review of their work by Heeley, technical director and editor Helmut Grosser from Germany, costume designer Maija Pekkanen from Finland, and costumer Rober Doul from Canada; media designer Laurie-Shawn Borzovy of Toronto, who will present "New Tools for an Old Fool," a discussion and demonstration of new technologies as they relate to the ancient art of theatre crafts; Czech costume designer Simona Rybakova, who will lead a tour of costume shops in Prague; and architect Timothy Hartung of the US, who will lead a design charette in which international participants will create a theatre space.
Several OISTAT/PQ activities are also planned outside of the exhibition center, including visits to the historic National Theatre of Prague and the hall of the "Stavoske Divadlo," which housed the first performance of the opera Don Giovanni, conducted by Mozart himself. Also scheduled is an optional tour of Cesky Krumlov just outside of Prague, one of only three 17th-century theatres operating with all of its theatrical machinery in place.
Medals honoring Quadrennial exhibits will be awarded on June 11. For more information about attending the PQ, contact: OISTAT, Lindengract 93, 1015 KD Amsterdam, The Netherlands; phone: +31 74 505095; fax: +31 85 457235; email: 100333,1443@CompuServe.com.