THEATRE AND FREEDOM: Paradigm Shift(s) in the Independent Theatre Culture in Europe after 1989

International conference

Prague, October 23-24, 2019

The year when we remember the 30th anniversary of political changes in Central and Eastern Europe calls upon looking back on 1990s ideas and hopes. It is independent theatre, which was a key platform for the attempts for their implementation not only at aesthetic and artistic, but also at social and political levels in various models and configurations of existence. It was largely inspired by the development of the international independent artistic scene, which was difficultly accessible for the majority of artists behind the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain until 1989. Is it possible to consider the development of independent theatre in Central and Eastern Europe in the 90s as a “success story”? Is independent theatre and artistic scene taken for granted nowadays? Are social status and social need for independent art in society today completely different from ideas of 1989? How does contemporary independent scene relate to the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde legacy? Based on their insight in the development of independent theatre in the past 30 years, ten professionals from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus and some of the Baltic States will try to find the answers. The conference does not deal only with the confrontation of the historical development of this part of theatre culture in their papers, but also with discussion formats focused on visions of European independent theatre for the future.

The conference takes place as part of the Arts and Theatre Institute research project “Czech Independent Theatre after 1989”, accentuating the development of Czech theatre in new social and political conditions, especially in the context of transformation, decentralization of the theatre network and new tools of cultural policy. The main item of interest are the roots,  professionalization and development of epicenters of independent theatre stages and companies after 1989 in the Czech Republic and sub-papers on the development in Slovakia.

The conference language is English.

Programme (PDF)

Main organizer:

Arts and Theatre Institute (


ENICPA, The European Network of Information Centres for the Performing Arts (

Palm off Fest, International meeting of Central European theatres (

Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre, Theatre Faculty, Academy of Performing Arts

Association of Independent Theatres Czech Republic

PACE.V4 (Performing Arts Central Europe – Visegrad Countries Focus)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.