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Puppets are just one of the attractions in the Old Town Market Square in Prague, Czech Republic.

Photos/Sandy Bonds

by Sandy Bonds
Vice-President for International Activities


Traveling to Prague –
With a Tour or Not

The USITT PQ Study Tour has only a few spaces remaining. If necessary, a wait list will be created for members who would like to travel to Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro before going to Prague for the PQ 2007 Exposition of Theatre Design.

Dick Durst will lead the group and has included site visits to theatres of interest and opportunities to meet with theatre colleagues from the Balkan States. For details and a complete itinerary, click here. Applications for the Study Tour are still available here.

For those who are not able to join the official tour, the trip to Prague alone is an invaluable experience. The PQ Exposition will be June 14 to 24 with entries from 60 countries showing thousands of designs in three categories of exhibits – National, Student, and Architecture.

The National Exhibits display productions representing the best in professional and academic theatre from each of the participating countries. The Schools of Scenography exhibit features the work of students and the next generation of artists, and exhibits of Theatre Architecture present the latest developments in the buildings that house theatre art. Entranced by the inspiring designs exhibited in the WSD in Toronto? Then the PQ exhibits will multiply that stimulation of creativity.

Concurrent with the PQ exhibits, the organizers are preparing the Scenofest of workshops, seminars, learning opportunities, and performances. The Scenofest events are led by some of the world's finest theatre designers and artisans. Through these sessions, designers, educators, and students have the opportunity to meet with colleagues from dozens of other countries for a cross-cultural exchange of ideas expressed through the arts of the theatre.

The range of events is still being planned, and registration will be needed for some of the sessions. Although the admission policy has not yet been decided, in the past the exhibits have either been free or had a very nominal cost. Information on that process when it becomes available and updates to the schedule can be found here. With the PQ offered only once every four years, each experience is unique and not to be missed.

Students interested in attending the Prague Quadrennial and participating in the many Scenofest activities organized specifically for students may apply for support through the USITT Student International Travel Award. This award is offered biennially and encourages students to travel to the PQ. To apply, students must be current USITT members, enrolled full time and in good standing in either upper division or graduate program in theatre, and have demonstrated excellence or outstanding potential in research or design. The application includes a 500 word proposal of the specific project or knowledge the students seeks to obtain through this experience. Applications are due January 3. For additional details and applications forms, click here.

Prague is now a major tourist destination, so travel and housing arrangements are readily available. Public transportation by tram is simple, with a trip from the picturesque Old Town in the center of the city to the exhibition halls at Vystaviste taking about 10 minutes. The city has abundant restaurants offering a wide range of cuisines.

One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Prague is home to the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, distinctive Gothic towers, and Art Nouveau buildings among the narrow cobblestone streets. The rich selection of museums includes the Museum of Decorative Arts with fashion and textiles, and the Museum of Mucha, exhibiting the life and work of the Art Nouveau painter and graphic designer. Prague also is distinguished by having the world's oldest brew pub, Uflecku, complete with a large outside seating courtyard and strolling accordion players. Consider the appeal of both the city and the exposition when making arrangements, and plan to stay for the whole 10 days of the PQ.

Those with specific questions about Prague, PQ, or Scenofest may contact Sandy Bonds at

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The stained glass window, above, was designed by Alphonse Mucha in St. Vitus Cathedral on the grounds of Prague Castle. Below, are towers overlooking the Old Town Square.