Letní Letná coming in August

Prague’s international festival of new circus and theater turns 13

The annual Letní Letná festival presents the best of New Circus, mixing acrobatics and theater without the use of animals.

Letní Letná, in its lucky 13th year, will take place again in tents located in Prague’s Letná Park, running from Aug. 18 to Sept. 4, 2016. The festival has become a successful platform for both well-established international and local contemporary circus and theater companies.

Most of the program has no language barrier, and shows that are “good for foreigners” are marked with a blue smiley emoticon in the program. Also, the age appropriateness of each show is marked.

Headliners in the main section include five acts from Australia, France and the Czech Republic.

The festival starts with Australian group Limbo, which sold out its first season at the 2013 Adelaide Fringe Festival and has since toured the world. They claim pop star Madonna twice came to see their self-titled show, which they modestly call “the greatest party between heaven and hell.” The cast includes a sword swallower from Coney Island and an international array of acrobats and contortionists, with music by Brooklyn-based Sxip Shirey.

They are not the only Australian act on the program. The group Circa from Brisbane presents their show Beyond. In the show, seven artists reveal their inner selves on multiple stages with trapeze stunts, Chinese poles, feats of strength and “multiple bunny heads.” UK newspaper The Guardian called the show “ridiculously charming.”

The New Circus movement began in France, and no festival would be complete without a French act. Cirque Le Roux is a quartet of performers who have created their own show called The Elephant in the Room, taking place during a wedding in 1937 on a luxurious estate. The group promises to create “a smoky world of intrigue, physical feats, slapstick and mystery” and will present a “unique and hilarious fusion of world-class circus, film noir and physical theater.”

Czech group Losers Cirque Company is back with a new show called Beach Boy(s), which has a retro California theme. They were at the festival with different shows in 2014 and '15.

Another returning act is Cahin-Caha from France. They are premiering a new one-man show called Bottom, about a tragic clown who goes through several transformations including a woman, an animal and a mythological being in order to find his inner complexity.

Aside from the main program, there is a program of Czech contemporary circus acts and projects for children including an urban summer camp.

Since its founding, Letní Letná has presented 1,162 shows attended by approximately 251,300 people. The festival is growing larger every year and expects this year to be no exception. Even through its increasing popularity, Letní Letná has been able to maintain a pleasant summer atmosphere, reminiscent of the old traditional circus times.

For more information about the festival and how to get tickets visit Letní Letná’s website at www.letniletna.cz

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