Freedom and independence in art are associated with more than just a wide range of possibilities and forms for an artist’s creative expression, his worldview and portrayal of reality. We find a rich kaleidoscope of expressive devices in all forms of art, and they have become part and parcel of our daily life. The capacity to be receptive to and comprehend works of art has become an eminently important ability for reflecting on the world at large as well as on contemporary European theatre in particular. Comparing and analysing the seen should become one of the basic pillars of understanding society.

Divadelná Nitra’s programme does not merely offer an enjoyable experience for a demanding audience, it also presents an opportunity to broaden one’s view of the possibilities of treating and depicting important socio‑cultural issues. The diverse range of depictions of freedom presented at the 28th year of the International Festival Divadelná Nitra requires a receptiveness and openness to difference in opinion and value. Informal education offers a platform for mutual confrontation and a search for ways to understand and perceive works of art, but also much more.

How To Understand Theatre is a year‑long project focused on informal education about theatre organised by Association Divadelná Nitra since 2008. In addition to educating audiences, it is mostly oriented at high school and university students from all over Slovakia and the public at large. How To Understand Theatre 2019 consists of four separate sections, whose purpose is to engage various target groups by means of a diverse array of activities. The project’s second part will take place during the International Festival Divadelná Nitra.

How To Understand Theatre – study visit at a theatre festival / International Theatre Festival Divadelná Nitra

This edition of a successful section of the project will take place during the 28th festival year, where selected students from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava (12) and the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica (3) will attend 10 performances in the main programme over the course of the festival’s six days. Their schedule will include regular meetings with mentor Martin Pšenička, with whom they will analyse the productions they have seen, discussions with creators and actors at morning Artist’s Talks… During their stay, students will get to meet a group of foreign participants of the project V4@Theatre Critics Residency and foreign lecturers, as well as the members of the Audience Programme Board of the international project Be SpectACTive!, putting them in touch with a different perspective on the given works of art. These meetings will help them in deepening their knowledge of current tendencies and stage practices in world theatre.

The twelfth edition of How To Understand Theatre features new additions in the form of theatre travels, as part of which we have visited the State Opera in Banská Bystrica, and we continue to try to inspire audiences to raise questions about productions as much as the world they portray. The selected productions and activities advert to the diverse nature of contemporary theatrical practice especially in the European context. How To Understand Theatre 2019 also features the sections ‘How To Understand Theatre in Nitra’, ‘How To Understand Theatre – Theatre Travels’, and ‘How To Understand Theatre – Lectures and Discussions on Contemporary Theatre’.
Martin Pšenička – studied theatre studies at the Faculty of Arts of the Masaryk University in Brno. In 2004 − 2008, he worked on his dissertation at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada. Since 2007, he has lectured at the Theatre Studies Department of the Faculty of Arts of the Charles University in Prague, where he is head of department since 2017. Since 2011, he is an editor for Divadelní revue, published by the Cabinet of Czech Theatre Studies at the Arts and Theatre Institute in Prague. He is an external associate of the Department of Authorial Creation and Pedagogy at the Prague Academy’s Film Faculty. He specializes in theatre performance analysis, theatre theory and post‑war alternative theatre.
Further information about the project HERE.