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The international festival Letní Letná will present the best contemporary circus and theatre. After last year’s light 18th edition, it returns with a fully-fledged program. As far as international stars are concerned, French companies will dominate Letní Letná, with the French tightrope walker Johanne Humblet, who opened the open-air festival on 12 August 2021. The best Czech acrobats, jugglers, and clowns will draw the audience’s attention until the end of August in Letná, Prague, with an open-air stage that is free of charge. The young audience will have their slice of the action as the Stage for Children will entertain them with various performances. Everybody can also learn (not only) circus skills in the accompanying program.

International guests promise a combination of acrobatic flexibility and French charm. After Tatiana-Mosio Bongonga’s success in 2019, when she crossed the Vltava river on the rope, Letní Letná has entrusted the tightrope walker Johanne Humblet from the French company Les Filles Du Renard Pâle to open this year’s edition.

Pure adrenaline and an original sense of humor drive four acrobats from the French-Swiss ensemble Cirque La Compagnie. Their performance L’Avis Bidon was recommended by the contemporary circus festival BIAC Marseille as the French favorite for Letní Letná exclusively. The festival audience will have a chance to see Cirque Le Roux again. The performance Deer in The Headlights merges the homage to film, contemporary circus, and humanity in its beauty and clumsiness. The “imported” performances from the land of the Gallic rooster also include Compagnie 100 Issues and Don’t Feed The Alligators that affirms the liking for unclassifiable forms and humor doubting the attitude to death.

AirGym Art Company: Wendigo

The 18th edition of Letní Letná is also a unique opportunity to see the new Czech performances of the contemporary circus in one place and catch up with what you have missed so far. AirGym Art Company prepared a special premiere for this year’s edition and occupied Laputa Hotel with exquisite hanging acrobatics. The performance Vpřed/Forward inspired by Václav Havel’s optical poem is the premiere of Žongléros Ansámbl company.

Losers Cirque Company organizes Konkurz/Casting, in which the winner is appointed by the audience. In the new performance Runners, Cirk La Putyka uses a huge treadmill to identify with people nowadays, who try to manage and catch up with everything.

The Czech tent will host new productions by Cirkus TeTy, which employs the union of contemporary circus, dance, physical theatre, and aerial acrobatics in their plays Peeping Janes and Disturbance; circus artist and performer Roman Škarda and his project Absurd Hero and nonverbal productions of Zuzana Drábová and the duo Zoja Mikotová and Tonda Novotný.

Filip Zahradnický: Collection of Sceptical Pleasures

Letní Letná also invites the audiences to the popular open-air stage. The fans of contemporary circus and theatre can see selected performances for free. The new open-air productions are Holektiv’s Vrány/The Crows, street comedy Bezdéčka performed by Squadra Sua clowns, and two contemporary circus reflections on online and offline existence: Link the Click (performed by Balancealots) and Tajemství oblaků/The Secret of Clouds (revealed by AirGym Art Company).

Letní Letná is always a big event for children and the 18th edition is not an exception. Losers Cirque Company will perform a piece for young audiences for the first time in their history. The play MiMJOVé was done in cooperation with mime Radim Vizváry. The Stage for Children is exclusively designed for young audiences. The regular guests – Swiss clown duo Compagnie DUE – will easily overcome the language barrier. Their repertoire features the pure clownery OH! As well as a funny story about fear called Danger.

Bratři v tricku 

The Stage for Children repertoire includes mostly Czech ensembles – not only those specializing in works for children. The abbreviation H.I.T. hides the deeply improvised farce by Teatro Novogo Fronta. Bratři v tricku advise to forget about worries in their Game of Throne and will entertain young audiences with the family show Prasečí circus/Pig Circus. Anička a letadýlko company serves the fairy-tale sea stories Frutti di mare. Toy Machine will present the smallest animal circus show in the world and Divadlo KAKÁ turned Aesop’s tales into drama. Classical fairy tales will be performed as well, yet sometimes in their special version: Buchty a loutky taught Puss in Boots how to walk, The Tall, The Wide and the Sharp-Eye met in Divadélko Romaneto, Divadlo Já to jsem will remind us of a touching story of Pinocchio with his long nose. Divadlo Víti Marčíka will retell The Sleeping Beauty or Three Golden Hairs of Grandfather Wisdom.

Those who are not happy to watch theatre and contemporary circus can do it themselves as part of the accompanying program designed for the beginners and the advanced. Audiences will have a chance to learn tightrope walking with a cane, try plate spinning, walking on broken glass, and engage in visual workshops. Juggling Day will show the triumphant fight with gravity turned into an evening gala show on 23 August.

Losers Cirque Company: Casting

The traditional festival inventory is a wooden merry-go-round by carver Matěj. The days dedicated to the Medical Clown and the non-profit Puppets in Hospitals will focus on charity, with the projects staging their performances as well. The visitors can test their good shot at Don Papa Shooting Range, where they can win a rose or see the exhibition of animator and illustrator Eliška Podzimková.