Prince H.Universe as an ESFN project

The Beginning. Who is Prince H.?

Prince H.Universe is a one-man talk show in which the young host Prince H. discusses the universal everyday dilemmas facing teenagers today – told through his own life and through the contributions of his audience.  Stories about family break-ups. About the death of a loved one. About sexuality. About the consequences of bullying on Facebook. And about body image, plastic surgery and the right to be yourself while still respecting the group.

As the host of the show, Prince H. takes the lead and creates an interactive reflective space with room for everyone. On his journey, he is confronts his own doubts – right or left – and asks the audience’s advice with great authenticity. During this meeting – one-to-one – vital and inclusive conversations with young people arise about strong feelings, feelings that may be both difficult to tackle and put into words on a busy school day.

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Danish actor Christian Bergman as Prince H.

Prince H. Universe was devised and directed in 2010 by Lars Romann Engel – Artistic Director of Hamletscenen in Elsinore. Since then the Danish version of the show has been successfully performed in over 300 schools in Denmark. After that  Prince H.  decided to travel the world.

Prince H. goes international

In September 2014 in cooperation with European Shakespeare Festivals Network and with a support of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and Danish Cultural Institute, Polish actor Jakub Snochowski arrived in Elsinore to spend three weeks of intensive work on a Polish adaptation of the script, which he also rehearsed for performance. The main difficulty was not only to translate the text, but also to adapt it to a very different cultural background . At the same time Catalonian actor Alex Sanz Amat worked on his version of the play.

The meeting of Catalonian, Danish, and Polish Prince H. in Elsinore.

On 25th and 26th September Prince H arrived in Poland where open rehearsals took place for young audiences. This was first real opportunity to gather opinions and reflexions about the project from those to whom it is addressed.

The Premiere of the polish performance was given on 27th September during the 18th Gdansk Shakespeare Festival.

Then, between the 29th September and the 3rd October Prince H. travelled across polish schools in the Pomerania region with 7 successful presentations of the shows to over 600 participants aged 13 to 17.

Schools which participated in the project were secondary schools: Gimnazjum no 19 in Gdynia and Gimnazjum no 9 in Gdańsk and high schools: III Liceum Ogólnokształcące in Gdynia, Zespół Szkół Handlowych in Sopot, VIII Liceum Ogólnokształcące in Gdańsk, Zespół Szkół Hotelarsko-Gastronomicznych in Gdańsk and II Liceum Ogólnokształcące in Gdańsk, who posted a special report on their website.

Photo: Greg Goodale
Jakub Snochowski as a Prince H. on premiere performance in Gdańsk

 

  The further adventures of Prince H.

 On 26th October there was a premiere of   Prince H. Universe in Catalan as a part of the program of Shakespeare Festival in Barcelona. More info is here.

In spring of 2015 an English version of the play will be produced by York Shakespeare Festival, who is also a member of the European Shakespeare Festivals Network. As well, actors from the USA will prepare an American production.

The ongoing story and progress of Prince H. will be developed with the help of schools, youth education programmes and other partners focusing on young people’s life skills and life opportunities. We hope that other productions will be developed by more partner festivals in the future.

What makes this project even more unusual – Prince H. is a  part of a larger cycle of the  stories of 3 Shakespearean family members told from a modern point of view. Hamletscenen recently announced that there are two more parts to come: Queen G. Universe and King C. Universe . Maybe Queen and a King will be willing to travel across an Europe too…?

Preview of the H. Family metting

Prince H.Universe project in Poland is supported by:

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The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage                                          Danish Cultural Institute

 

Discovering Theatrelands

Gdańsk will once again become a stage for European theatre performers. Over 340 artists from six countries, numerous seminars and workshops, directed also to the youth from small towns – this is how ‚Discovering Theatrelands’ promises. It is a new initiative of Theatrum Gedanense Foundation and its partners from European Shakespeare Festivals Network.

The eight-month project was founded with support of the Culture Programme 2007–2013. It will enable presenting the best shows inspired by the works of William Shakespeare to the European audience. Nine plays by theatre groups from six European countries – Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Hungary and Great Britain – will be staged in the cities taking part in the initiative. One cannot imagine a better development of the idea of touring troupes of actors, which were so characteristic of Shakespeare’s times.

The interaction between the actors and the audience was a vital feature of Elizabethan theatre as well, so there were no doubts about the choice of the patron of the project. Only such a universal and widely known author as William Shakespeare can constitute the language for intercultural communication. Since his plays are widely known, it will be easier for the audience to notice the differences between interpretations shaped by various backgrounds and national traditions. ‚Discovering Theatrelands’ is also a good opportunity to exchange experience. The directors and actors will be able to share their ideas for modern stage productions of Shakespeare’s works, and the impresarios to comment on methods of organizing cultural events.

A major event of this year’s edition will surely be the presentation of the work by the outstanding Flemish director Luk Perceval. After staging the adaptations Schlachten, Macbeth, and Othello, which caused much sensation, this experienced Shakespearean director is now presenting his own evocation of Hamlet prepared in Thalia Theatre in Hamburg. The production is intriguing and full of emotions. The two actors playing Hamlet are accompanied by a pianist playing and singing live. Here, the Danish prince traumatized by the death of his father and his mother’s hasty marriage is a symbol of condition humaine, a person torn between reason and emotions, truth and lies, who is left with no answers to the basic questions about his own existence. Perceval discerns the relevance of the text in its mythical and archaic bases.

Another artist of high calibre and a very talented interpreter of Shakespeare, who will be present at the Festival, is Silviu Purcărete. Until now, three of his productions were staged in the Tricity: Titus Andronicus, Twelfth Night, and Measure for Measure, and all of them were enthusiastically received. This time the imaginative Romanian artist and the team of National Theatre in Craiova will present The Tempest, which was premiered in April 2012. The production and presentation of the play during the Festival in Gdansk is carried out together with the Romanian Institute of Culture and the members of European Shakespeare Festivals Network.

Special attention should also be devoted to the community play, which engages the residents of the city it takes place in. The show based on Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Play will be created in cooperation with the Czech PaS de Theatre and the British group Parrabbola, which the residents of Gdańsk remember from the play Pericles that was staged in Dolne Miasto two years ago.

The title of the project – ‚Discovering Theatrelands’ – should be understood quite literally for educational actions, in which theoreticians and organizers of cultural life will take part, will be just as important as the plays. They will introduce even laypersons to the uneasy language of the modern theatre.

Above all, Summer Shakespeare Academy will offer a series of lectures, meetings with the artists, and workshops of various kinds. Happenings, improvisations and the parade ending the Festival will serve as a setting to these actions. What is more, there will be seminar on topics related to art as a means of communication and theatrical pedagogy for students and university teachers. High standard of discussion will be guaranteed by international experts – culture researchers, directors and managers of Shakespearean cultural institutions. Educational actions as well as theatrical presentations will take place in the Pomerania province.

Everyone will find something for themselves in ‚Discovering Theatrelands’. Theatre enthusiasts will have a chance to admire renowned foreign productions, someone else – their neighbour or nephew playing a bit part. The British will find that Polish theater has rich traditions and numerous achievements, Poles – that Shakespeare is more familiar to them than they thought. For we are all surrounded by the same European culture shaped by, among others, Shakespeare’s works. International cooperation on the organization of such artistic initiatives may only strengthen these bonds.

Shake-in the City

The project “Shake-in the City. The art of inclusion” aims to make art and theatre accessible, to bring art to people who would not otherwise make an effort to experience it. This aim is relevant to the main theme of the European Year 2010 – Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. Our intention is to stimulate inhabitants of the lower potential areas in the suburbs of big cities and the region, to actively participate in culture. Preventing social exclusion through culture, providing inspiration, entertainment and motivation to take part in and experience art is at the core of the undertaking. We want to animate community groups by recruiting them as volunteers for cultural activities. We plan to „Shake” the towns and cities with William Shakespeare, the most popular pan-European writer of all times, whose works provide a platform of mutual cultural understanding between European societies.

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