Theater Festival to Showcase Central European Productions

2017 marks the inaugural year of “Rehearsal for Truth” – a Theater Festival in Honor of Vaclav Havel.

The Vaclav Havel Library Foundation (VHLF) and Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association (BBLA) will partner with Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovak performing arts institutions to highlight Havel’s legacy as a playwright. It will also seek to establish exchanges between U.S. and Central European theater professionals. The festival will reflect not only Havel’s contribution to twentieth-century theater but also his belief in the potential of Central European cultural traditions to enrich human existence in the modern age.

“What matters is not whether a play is light-hearted or serious, but––be it comedic or otherwise––whether it speaks to people about their problems, how it speaks to them, what impact it has on them… We wish only to put on plays that meet certain standards of urgency, that are intellectually penetrating, complex, challenging, and powerful.”

– Vaclav Havel, The Kind of Theater We Want to Do, from a letter to Alfred Radok, August 4, 1963

We have tapped into the existing Central European theater network to bring the region’s distinctive contemporary cultural perspective to New York stages. The selection of the four productions was guided by recommendations from Theater Institutes in each country and the Polish Cultural Institute.

Over 25 partners have joined forces with the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and BBLA to launch this festival in 2017. The festival was also made possible by grants from The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and funded in part by a grant from the NYC & Company Foundation.

The festival consists of four theater productions: KORESPONDENCE V+W / V+W: LETTERS (Czech Republic), OTTHON / HOME (Hungary), NAVSTEVA EXPERTOV / THE EXPERTS VISITING (Slovakia), and INTRO (Poland).

There will also be two panel discussions. Theatre and the Political: Dramaturgy, Ideology, and Injustice moderated by Hana Worthen, Assistant Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University. The second panel discussion is No Strings Attached? Pros and Cons of Private and Government Support for the Arts moderated by Frank Hentschker, Executive Director at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the CUNY Graduate Center.

The presentation of the Disturbing the Peace – Award for a Courageous Writer at Risk by Ian Buruma will take place during the festival as well as the launch of Havel Conversations (oral histories). All of the events are free to the public.

With its tradition of presenting Czech and Slovak culture for more than one hundred years, Bohemian National Hall is the perfect place to establish this new and energizing annual event.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


For the Full Program Click HERE
For press release, CLICK HERE
For more information, contact:
Pavla Niklova, Executive Director, Vaclav Havel Library Foundation, T: 212 988 1733,