The annual Summer Shakespeare festival gets underway at Prague Castle on Thursday evening, with the performance of Romeo and Juliet directed by the SKUTR theatre company, starring Tereza Voříšková and Jan Sklenář. This year’s performances include a number of other plays, including Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Taming of the Shrew. The open-air theatre festival was established in 1990 in Prague and runs until the beginning of September. This year it also takes place in Brno, Ostrava and Bratislava.
The Summer Shakespeare Festival – held annually at Prague Castle and other areas in the Czech Republic and also neighbouring Slovakia – is wrapping up. 78,000 theatre-goers visited this year, seeing 142 evening performances in Prague, Brno, Ostrava, and Bratislava. A performance of King Henry IV at Prague Castle on Saturday will conclude this year’s cycle. Other Shakespeare plays performed this year included The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth and Measure for Measure. During the season, poor weather saw the cancellation of six outdoor performances. Despite 13 fewer show this year, attendance rose by 1,000 from 2009.
One of the biggest cultural events of the season in the Czech Republic, the annual Shakespeare Summer Festival, has just begun at the Supreme Burgrave’s House at Prague Castle. Opening the festival on Thursday night was a new production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, starring the great Czech comic actor Bolek Polívka as Falstaff and directed by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Jiří Menzel.
Prague Castle has been the dramatic setting for the Summer Shakespeare Festival now for eleven years. It was former president Vaclav Havel, himself a celebrated playwright, who thought that The Bard's work might best be experienced there, on a midsummer night. From a single production of Romeo and Juliet in the summer of 1994, the festival has become a major cultural event.
Shakespeare's Twelfth Night has been premiered at the annual Shakespeare festival at Prague Castle. Other plays being performed at the outdoor theatre include Hamlet and the Merchant of Venice. The festival, which usually sells out, travels on to Brno and the Slovak capital Bratislava later in the summer.