I feel so lucky to have been awarded the Principals go abroad award to help fund my trip to Czech Republic to attend and take part in Prague Quadrennial (PQ) performance festival this summer. The timing couldn’t be better as the festival is such an infrequent occurrence (every 4 years) to be able to go this summer just before my final year studying performance costume is ideal. It was so inspiring to be able to take part in workshops, attend talks and seminars and backstage tours, to see a variety of different performances and international exhibitions. The city of Prague is beautiful and throughout the 10 day festival I was able to explore the historic centre with its winding cobbled streets and further afield taking tram rides to venues across the river. This exposure to new and experimental forms of performance was so exciting and great initial research for my dissertation topic of contemporary physical theatre. It was such a unique opportunity to meet design students, performers and industry professionals from all over the world, and discuss aspects of performance from different perspectives.
The first few days were a bit crazy getting lost in the city and navigating myself between the various event locations and absorbing the buzz of the festival. One of the highlights of the festival was taking part in two workshops, the first hosted by Christopher Roman an American choreographer was a very practical and physical exploration of the body in space, the workshop was full of design students wanting a different insight in thinking about space within performance. The second workshop lead by Donatella Barbieri was part of her experimental research project into the relationship between body, materiality/costume and space. It was fascinating to see how everyone communicate in the workshops as it was so international, and although luckily for me the teaching language was English it was interesting to see gesture conveying instruction and emotion. I also saw great talks in the beautiful Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace by industry professionals such as: Gobb Squad, Andris Friedburg, Elevator Repair Service, and Critical Costume which were really informative and inspiring. Not to mention the numerous performances, both avant garde professional to unusual student pieces.
I retuned from the trip overwhelmed but inspired, full of ideas to use in my final year projects and further on into the future. It has made me realise what particular types of performance I am most interested in and passionate about and consider what jobs and where I might like explore as a costume graduate. Thank you again to the Principles Go Abroad fund again for helping me to realise an amazing experience