JOHAN Presents or Lucky Thirteen

Thirteen years ago during the Divadlo International Theatre Festival there appeared a timid exaltation of alternative theatre, markedly connected with the city and with a specific place. This was the first time that audiences were able to enter the building of the old Pilsen – South Suburb station. The Pilsen centre JOHAN joined the Divadlo festival. The modest site specific performance with the title MOVING STATION met with an unexpectedly good reception, drew numerous spectators, inspired new projects and decided the further fate of this interesting Art Nouveau building.

During those thirteen years, under various names (Moving Station, Site Specific, Off Programme, Off-Off Programme, Pilsen’s Johan has brought the festival programme productions, performances and events featuring well-known names from both the domestic and foreign alternative scene (such as Teatr Novogo Fronta, the Polish legend Teatr Ósmego Dnia, Japanese experimenters Ruizo Fukuhara and Saccio Takahashi, Icelander Steffi Thors, Stage Code, Divadlo Continuo, Divadlo Archa, the dance companies Nanohach, VerTeDance, Slovak companies Divadlo Na peróně, Divadlo Pôtoň, and the National Theatre from Antalya in Turkey and many others). At the same time we tried to open up space to the youngest performers (there have been guest performances at the station by students from DAMU, JAMU and VŠMU) and we also invited those who were consciously trying to find other forms of theatre outside the large centres. As a result we have showed productions by Continuo from Malovice, Divadlo Dagmar from Karlovy Vary, and also the Tatrmani from Sudoměřice and the Slovak theatre Pôtoň from Batovce near Šala. Throughout this time we consistently combined theatre presentation with workshops and events showcasing their results. And performances took place not only at the station. We also took audiences into the streets, to new places (including, for several years, the bowels of the Millennium bridge).

Each time we managed to amass our own funding for our programme section, from which we financed the section (here we have definitely to thank the Culture Ministry, the City of Pilsen and other donors, who gave a helping hand to this deliberately minority part of the programme), and we always had our own production and technical team. Today the Divadlo festival has its own broad and richly-structured off programme. A number of artists who, several years ago, acted with us in MOVING STATION now appear in the secondary or even the main programme. As pioneers of new and non-traditional forms, that makes us happy.

We are a platform for fanciful exploration on the fringe, a place for meeting and finding mutual inspiration. We would thus like to invite you to an interesting collection of performances that are once again connected with a marked female creative voice (author Alena Zemančíková, directors Hana Franková, Ewa Zembok and Veronika Riedlbauchová, performers Sláva Daubnerová and BioMasha). We would also like to meet you at an open debate for producers at independent spaces entitled Cooperation, not Competition or at a public presentation of work by the theatre research project Pilsen as a Challenge (KNOWtilus) by students of Prague drama school DAMU’s new specialism, Theatre in Non-Traditional Spaces. Our new feature this year is a cycle of evening concerts entitled “It started with theatre… (MUSICAL EVENINGS AT THE STATION)”.

Every evening from Tuesday to Saturday at Moving Station you will be able, from 9pm onwards, to stop, have a rest, relax, enjoy yourself and debate to the mellifluous tones of musical groups whose roots are very close to theatre. And, finally, a short note: Maybe, in a year’s time, during the Divadlo theatre festival, our “station” will be closed. If all goes well, it will be undergoing renovation, the culmination of a successful attempt to preserve a valuable building that was threatened with demolition, and which thanks to the festival now glows with new life. Keep your fingers crossed.

We’re looking forward to it. And this year, too, we are looking forward to seeing you.


JOHAN– An organisation, unique in Pilsen, that devotes itself to supporting young art and to presenting a professional alternative scene. Its projects are addressed above all to young people, students, artists, and also children and their teachers. Through its activities it helps to contribute to a social climate that facilitates self-expression, room for action and responsibility for its implementation and effects. It tries to connect people and to bring them up by means of art and to appreciate art. The building of the Johan centre project is based on the idea of an active and alternative view of the world, on the need to actively react to its problems, and on an interest in their possible solutions. The source of the ideas that led to the creation of the centre is support for independent artistic work, above all in the field of performing arts and visual art. Since November 2009 Johan has been a member of the prestigious network Trans Europe Halles, an international network of independent cultural centres built in industrial spaces. It is a dynamic platform for ideas, cooperation and mutual support between members.

MOVING STATION– The Johan organisation tries to change thinking, to increase interest in the things around us, to deepen interest in the world and in the place in which we live. It implements its aims and projects in the abandoned building of the South Station, known as the Moving Station. In August 2000 Johan launched the preservation and cultural and social revitalisation of the station building. It began to build Moving Station – An Open Communication Space. The main aim of the project is to create an environment for alternative artistic endeavours – creative workshops, festivals, auteur productions, exhibitions, performances, happenings and concerts. Moving Station is also a space for meeting, confrontation and communication between artists, fields and types of artistic work. Meetings and lectures are held here, as well as discussions and public dialogues. Since November 2012 the bridge by the South Station has borne the name of Czech underground legend, art theorist, critic, poet and dissident Ivan M. Jirous.