The selected projects of the PQ STUDIO summer edition

A unique online version of the educational platform PQ STUDIO: Common Design Project was created in response to an unprecedented situation of social isolation caused by a coronavirus pandemic. Many student projects were cancelled so the Prague Quadrennial, in cooperation with the ATI (Arts and Theater Institute), decided to enter the process of educating young emerging performance designers creatively. We chose one theatrical text, and it is no coincidence that is Karel Capek’s The White Plague, which already 80 years ago discussed a situation dangerously similar to these days. We met with students at several webinars and one-on-one consultations and waited for what they would create.

“We are happy to report that we had the opportunity to connect with incredibly talented and inspiring young designers as they worked towards their final submissions to the Common Design Project 2020 Special Edition, summer term. Selecting the five finalists was indeed challenging. All of the proposed designs brought new creative ideas, and imaginative interpretations of the Capek’s play, The White Plague,” describing the leaders of the project Markéta Fantová and Patrick Du Wors.

Eleven universities and young artists applied for the summer semester of PQ STUDIO. The jury, composed of PQ Artistic Director Markéta Fantová, PQ Studio Curator Patrick Du Wors, and artist and lecturer Sophie Jump, selected the four projects. And here we bring you a sample of their inspiring creativity:

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

// Rebecca van Beeck, Sophie Altham //

Central Saint Martins: BA (Hons) Performance Design and Practice

// Jida Akil //

Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

// Hannah Dramm, Josie Bellerby, Emeline Beroud, Joe Laftin, Tomás Pamer //

LCF: University of the Arts London

// Anrini Bhattacharyya, Margarida Da Silva, Shivani Kokkonda, Luiza Bordin Roithmann, Joana Domingues, Faye McKeever, Amy To //

Markéta Fantová and Patrick Du Wors are very happy the project sparked such interest among educators and students alike: “PQ Studio is an ongoing platform for education. We are delighted by the growing interest in this project, with a large number of participants for the fall term already registered. The PQ team is looking forward to presenting the final selections from both terms through a dedicated online gallery. This online gallery will launch in conjunction with the Karel Čapek symposium organized by the Arts and Theatre Institue, Prague, in January 2021.”

Under the curation of Patrick Du Wors, the PQ STUDIO Common Design Project already took place during PQ 2019, at a time when we could still meet face to face. Now the serious question of how to teach scenography online and work in a team with limited opportunities unable to work physically together in the studio is the challenge that drives us forward.

The special issue of Theatre and Performance Design published by Taylor & Francis is out! Why is this issue so special to us? It is all about Prague Quadrennial 2019 with the topic of Imagination. Transformation. Memory edited by Jane Collins and Arnold Aronson with the foreword written by the PQ Artistic Director Markéta Fantová.


Between material and perception: towards an aesthetics of scenography by Katherine Graham

Scenography 2019 in PQ Talks by Barbora Příhodová & Pavel Drábek

The show and gaze of intermedial interculturalism: a reflection on the curation of Otherness at PQ19 by Zheyu Wei

Porous realities, open scenography: a study of the Lebanese exhibition at PQ 2019 by Hadi Damien

Eloquent landscapes: some questions about curatorship and scenography through the experience of Catalonia’s participation in PQ19 by Bibiana Puigdefàbregas & Marta Rafa

One hundred and ninety-two thousand, two hundred and forty-eight steps: curating the Site-Specific Performance Festival at PQ 2019 by Sophie Jump

Mixing realities: reflections on presence and embodiment in intermedial performance design of Blue Hour VR by Paul Cegys & Joris Weijdom

The scenographic potential of immersive technologies: virtual and augmented reality at the Prague Quadrennial 2019 by Lucy Thornett

Curating PQ Studio 2019 by Patrick Du Wors

Transformative power of spatial memory: an interdisciplinary approach to space as performance by Jorge Palinhos , Miljana Zeković , Višnja Žugić , Attila Antal & Eric V. Dela Cruz

Collaboration despite the tyranny of distance by Jo Briscoe

PQWaltz 2019. Waltzing to a resonance room: nothing ever came out of comfort zones by Anne Habermann , Anna Luyten & Saskia Valk // Visual Essey

Following the threads of scenographic costume at PQ19 by Susan Marshall

Fragments by Klara Zieglerova

Book review // Jaroslav Malina in scenography and paintingedited by Christopher Baugh

Book review // Costume in performance: materiality, culture, and the body by Annie Holt

Book review // Immersion and participation in Punchdrunk’s theatrical worlds by Adam Alston

See the whole issue here.

Photo: David Kumermann // 36Q°

A few days ago, we closed the summer semester of the online educational program PQ STUDIO: Common Design Project, which was attended by seven creative teams from schools around the world. Now we are announcing the autumn semester that will start on October 2020.

Online lessons and consultations will introduce you to the topic of the play The White Plague, by the Czech novelist Karel Capek, and will guide you through the creative process.

Register deadline is on 1 October 2020. Don’t miss it.

For more continue HERE.

PQ launches a series of podcasts Disappearing Visceral Landscapes, interviews with international performance design legends created as part of the Fragments project during Prague Quadrennial 2019.

The list of interviews and links are available HERE.

PQ STUDIO: Common Design Project Special Edition

Text: The White Plague (Czech: Bílá nemoc) 
Author: renowned Czech writer, playwright, critic and originator of the word Robot, Karel Čapek  
Open Call text: to download HERE
Deadline for Institutions to Register Intent: 15 June or 1 October (see two timeline options in the Call)

In light of this unprecedented period of self-isolation in the wake of Covid-19, the Prague Quadrennial, in collaboration with Prague’s Arts and Theatre Institute (ATI) launches the PQ STUDIO: Common Design Project Special Edition – The White Plague. The goal of this project is to offer students who may have found their summer creative projects cancelled, a chance to find artistic inspiration through a play that eerily anticipated – over eighty years ago – many of the dangers the world is facing today.  

Referring to the statement of the Minister of Culture of Czech Republic, Lubomír Zaorálek, dated March 10, 2020, after discussions with representatives of contributory organizations on the current situation, Arts and Theatre Institute (ATI) has been charged with mapping the impact of emergency measures related to COVID-19 on the Czech independent art sector (theater, music, visual arts, literature etc.). The first results of the survey are available at ATI web page.

In a special newsletter ATI brings you an overview of different ministries’ official recommendations for the arts sector.

The next special newsletter ATI introduces the research project “Coronavirus and its Impact on the Cultural Sector” performed by the University of Economics, Academy of Performing Arts, and the Arts and Theatre Institute aims to identify and calculate the economic impact of extraordinary measures on selected cultural sectors. ATI also brings an overview of new measures of the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affaires of Czech Republic aimed at mitigating the economic impacts on cultural sphere employees and freelancers caused by extraordinary governmental measures in the field of culture.

The fifth special newsletter brings new and updated measures to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, as well as international good practice. The ATI portal Kreativní Česko prepared an overview of inspiring measures for municipalities and regions; and have also published an overview of European umbrella organizations and networks, engaged in monitoring the situation in the cultural sector and raising questions to the European Commission and EU Member States’ governments.

The sixth special newsletter brings information about the recently passed set of measures proposed by the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic, a summary of more government measures related to people in culture, which was submitted by the Ministry of Culture. The overview of selected international culturally oriented measures related to Covid-19 situation is part of the newsletter, too. Institut umění – Divadelní ústav / ATI also lists reactions to the current state from the International Theatre Institute, Czech music representatives, and the National Theatre Drama. ATI introduces the launch of an extensive survey on mapping the losses, carried out by the ATI in association with the University of Economics and the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts.

The seventh special newsletter brings information about current events in Czech culture and the overview of international reactions to the current state of affairs.

The eight special newsletter brings you information about updated measures, hygienic recommendations related to easing activities of cultural subjects, and new projects to support culture.

PQ Catalogues

PQ catalogues are the amazing source of Performance Design inspiration, know-how, and educational platform.
PQ 2019 Catalogue includes, in addition to exhibitions and projects description, reflexions of international team members on each curated section.
PQ 2015 Catalogue
PQ 2011 Catalogue
PQ 2007 Catalogue
PQ 2003 Catalogue
PQ 1999 Catalogue
PQ 1995 Catalogue (in Czech only)
PQ 1991 Catalogue
PQ 1987 Catalogue
PQ 1983 Catalogue
PQ 1979 Catalogue (in Czech only)
PQ 1975 Catalogue
PQ 1971 Catalogue
PQ 1967 Catalogue

PQ 2019 Performance Space Exhibition´s videos

The Performance Space Exhibition showcased a wide range of possibilities for theatre architecture, from found and transformed spaces to major national projects to temporal outdoor structures, especially those in remote or complicated areas where the creators of the space were not only architects. These 43 spaces were exhibited in a form of short 5-minutes max. videos which are available at PQ Youtube channel.

PQ 2019 Talks

PQ Talks was conceived as a platform to discuss, question, provoke, theorize, acknowledge, and celebrate the creative, intellectual, and cultural riches that scenography brings to our world. Videos of key speakers are available at PQ Youtube channel.

PQ 2019 Fragments

Fragment Exhibition exhibited works of the most influential living designers from countries all over the world. The special Fragments Catalogue allows us not only to see their work, but to hear and try to understand their motivations, inspirations, and their struggles.

PQ 2019 aftermovies

Sometimes the best way how to study the Performance Design is to see it in motion. Watch aftermovies made for PQ 2019, Formations, Site Specific Performance Festival, and 36Q° at PQ Youtube channel to revive the great atmosphere where physical contact existed not just in our imagination.


36Q˚ (pronounced “threesixty”) brings the artistic and technical side of performance design into sharp focus and poses important questions the industry is facing today. Both, 2016 36Q video and 2019 36Q video, prove that creative minds based in the arts, using boundless imagination paired with new technological advancements, enrich our society by creating original and highly inspiring mind-expanding works.

EMERGENCE. From shared experience to new creativity. Living Heritage/Reframing Memory. 

Using performance, the EMERGENCE (EU project lead by PQ, and uniting 8 international partners) explores the role of local and global memory in shaping formations of cultural understanding and interpreting heritage in different areas across Europe as a tool and means of connecting established professional designers with emerging performance creators to develop strong dramaturgical and interpretative skills in the next generation of creators. The special EMERGENCE. Catalogue communicates local findings through the more universal language of art and performance design/scenography. More info on project is available at

Canon. Theatre Technical History

CANON aims to increase awareness and understanding of the history of technical theatre in Europe: its practices and technologies. PQ is proud to have the opportunity to contribute to the current discourse on the preservation of the cultural heritage of transnational and international theatre technology and techniques. More info on project is available at


The selection of articles referring to PQ 2019 are available in English and Czech language.

The Internet is suddenly popping up with new ideas how to get through this surreal period of global uncertainty. Sharing stories of human comedy and giving a gift of laughter in difficult times is what theatre does best and we trust this old, proven recipe to keep our spirits up.  PQ is definitely a place where innumerable stories have been made- we know- having heard many throughout the late PQ evenings in bars and pubs! But these communal spaces, like so many theatres around the world, are now closed. Therefore, PQ invites you to send your stories to us and we will turn them into our own PQ Decameron. There are many tales from the PQ past worth telling, and we look forward to sharing them all! 

Please send your funny, fascinating, gripping, captivating stories to

Photo: Alžběta Jungrová

The idea of sharing and performing across a distance is not new in the internet era, but never before have we as artists had such a need to explore all possible means to maintain human connection. We are interested in discussing, sharing and exploring new forms emerging during this period of social isolation.  Specifically, new forms where the human experience remains central, whist still finding new ways to transfer from one place to another. We are not looking to create a substitute for live events. Rather, a temporary creative replacement, which may become complimentary to live performance in the longer view. As a launching pad, we will dig deep into our PQ archives and bring forward brilliant ideas shared by artists as part of past PQ exhibitions and workshops. And we call on you to share your ideas; your ways of coping with physical distance creatively. Performance Design is based on shared experience; the exchange of emotion through a profound connection with the audiences. PQ Studio asks the question: During this time of social isolation, how can we achieve these goals of Performance Design using available technology. How can we keep the last human venue truly human? Send us your ideas and lets start sharing in PQ Studio Facebook group.

The upcoming European events within the Emergence project had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 situation. We will keep you updated about the project further development and changes.

The project activities in Taiwan will continue without changes in May 2020, consisting of an international workshop and an exhibition at National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying).