Carte Blanche at The Place · By Veronika Hladká

I was warmly welcome to The Place. Jessica Greer, assistant producer, was my guide for the whole week. It was just a period of last third of Resolution festival which I came to experience. As a project manager I was interested in different kind of themes as my job captures many activities within the organization Tanec Praha.

First of all, I was interested in getting through the programming, planning and realization of Resolution festival. I found the idea of the festival to present and support emerging artists really great. Resolution presents ca 80 shows (always triple bill per night) during 6 weeks in January-February and is open to wider range of dance styles. Mostly young artists get the opportunity not just present their shows on a professional stage but also to learn all the practical issues that artists need to know. In autumn before the festival 8 workshops are organized regarding project planning, fundraising, marketing administration, technical matters etc. The next level is a decision to support the chosen artists in their next professional career.

Furthermore, my intention of interest aimed to capture the running of the organization and venue itself. The Place has its own long history (since 1969), it is a real dancehouse – theatre, prestigious London Contemporary Dance School, lots of studios and wide range of activities for public under one roof. The Place as the venue compare to PONEC theatre has much longer history and was an inspiration for director of PONEC theatre (16th season in 2016/17) Yvonna Kreuzmannová when she won a tender to renovate originally an industrial building as a dance theatre. For me especially was interesting to see and compare such a well-established institution with all the development departments to quite progressive and growing up organization as Tanec Praha is.

I had the opportunity to speak with some members of The Place team of most departments like theatre and artist development, communications and marketing, fundraising, education or audience development. I had a chance to follow and feel the regular running of the organization and theatre, how the team works together and cooperate, how they communicate between each other. One of the most exciting moments I could be part of was an internal meeting of Resolution festival, where the team of cca 10 people was discussing the presented works and share their opinions together.

Except Resolution The Place was a partner of another The Sick of The Fringe festival focusing on building conversation, collaboration and community between the arts, health and medical science, bringing together artists, researchers, scientists, health professionals, writers and thinkers from across the globe. A few remarkable events were going on in the building for last two days of my stay. Compare to Resolution it was much more intensive festival with lots of events during the day but of course at more venues.

And what is the other essential part of our work except artist development and the process of realization events itself? To bring, hit, attract and connect with the audience. Much present theme nowadays to pay attention to the audience development by all the active and traditional ways. Still it seems the most difficult to attract the locals from the nearest area and bring to our venues as I discussed with English colleagues. And most likely effective way appears through community work.

Just a short summary, although the history, the background and conditions of each country are different, all of us we have the same aim to support artists, to develop the scene itself across our own country and outside the borders, to develop the audience by various high-quality and attractive activities. All of us we love working within this challenging, progressive and creative background of contemporary dance.

Five days is not much time to get so deep to the core of matters, nevertheless Carte Blanche is a great opportunity to share and exchange information, experience and ideas. It was very enriching to meet and speak with staff members from different departments of The Place and to compare the reality. A lot of thoughts and ideas are still coming out and it is just splendid possibility to find out how it works in other organization and venue and get inspired.

Veronika Hladká
Project manager at Tanec Praha
15 March 2017