International Summer School of Documentary Theatre

Archa Theatre’s International Summer School is a platform for experimentation and investigation in the field of documentary theatre. Language of the school is English.
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Between 25 August – 7 September 2023, the 6th annual International Summer School of Documentary Theatre (formerly known as International Summer School on Theatre in Social Context), organised by Archa Theatre in Prague, offered a platform for experimentation and research in the field of contemporary theatre for artists coming from all around the world. The summer school included ateliers, roundtables, and exclusive presentations by Czech and foreign theatre makers.


Theatre students and professionals from 15 countries around the world – from Iran, South Korea, France, England, Northern Ireland, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and so on - participated in the summer school.


Participants took part in three main ateliers during the initial part of the summer school. Jana Svobodová’s atelier focused on the textual sources and the use of Viewpoints technique in documentary theatre. This atelier was complemented with ‘Light as a space for action’, in which Pavel Kotlik introduced the principles of light design in the context of working with space, text, and movement. Ladislav Štěrba and Jan Sedláček provided the participants with the skills to create sound design for stage.  Martin Krupa’s atelier focused on experimental methods of using moving image in live performance.

Apart from these ateliers, participants had the chance to attend exclusive presentations by Ondrej Hrab on the historical roots of social-specific theatre, and the relation between theatre and sociology. In addition, Lise Andrea Grimelund-Kjelsen led a complementary atelier on finding textual material for theatre and Merve Mutafoğlu led a roundtable focusing on socially engaged theatre in participants’ countries, presenting Turkey as a case example.

During the second part of the school, participants formed creative groups and prepared multimedia performances using the entire space of the Archa Theatre, with the support of the instructors.


Here are some feedbacks from this year’s participants:


“During the workshops of the summer school, for the first time I felt like a theatre-maker in a broader sense. I feel inspired to take the knowledge and confidence I have gained during these two weeks and try to apply them to my work, especially the different methods of collecting textual material. And I made so many great friends from other countries, I would love to create something together with them!”

Elza Marta Ruža, theatre maker, Latvia


“The summer school has given me a much broader and deeper understanding of many cultures around the world and how important a role social-specific theatre and documentary theatre can play. It was amazing to be surrounded by theatre creators from all over the world and to be in such a warm and welcoming environment. I have always felt safe to explore and ask questions. I have been able to learn so much because you have been so kind and eager to share. I truly feel like Archa’s way of thinking about, and creating social specific and documentary theatre are very much in line with how I am starting to view theatre making. Thank you!”

Mijn Sluijs, theatre maker, the Netherlands


“I believe that with my experience at Archa, I’ve had the opportunity to redefine the 'practice of art' and what art means to me. It has been an incredible and invaluable journey, witnessing the transformation in my perspective towards art.”

Jayong Hur, Fine Arts student, Korean National University of Arts


“I found it to be an incredibly inspiring process, the personal connections made have completely opened up the world to me in a way I hadn't previously thought possible. My work is largely based in documentary theatre and working with people who are from marginalised groups. This summer school has given me a new level of confidence in my skills and the desire to think more creatively about including larger elements of sound, moving image and light which I wouldn't have considered before.”

Holly Hannaway, theatre maker, Northern Ireland


“The summer school gave me a boost of new energy and inspiration to carry on with my creative practice. It was a valuable lesson and an opportunity to observe and reflect on myself as a performer. It gave me a new perspective on creating theatre, that I never had before and gave me skills that are going to influence my upcoming work. I also had a chance to meet people alike and make creative connections. I was in fact incredibly lucky and am still in touch with some of the participants.”

Lily Just, performer, Scotland



Stay tuned for the next edition of the summer school!


Sneak peek: 2024 edition will provide the unique opportunity to experience countryside in the Czech Republic, providing tools to work with community in a specific region!


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Read the feedback from our participants:

To be able to talk about art, societal change, democracy, and our role in a global world on such a level, together with people from more than 10 different countries, from democracies, non-democracies, peaceful countries, torn countries, war zones and other over these past two weeks has touched me. It has given rise to processes and changes, which I know will make a big difference in my work onwards. Thank you everyone for creating this environment and being so special!”
Lotta Karlsson, Sweden/Norway

“Archa Theatre Summer School was an incredible experience for me as a theatre maker. I felt energised and valued during my time there and have come away with new contacts and ideas which I am so grateful for. Archa is a lighthouse in the dark for theatre makers, and I am so energised to use what I have learned about theatre and about myself. An absolute pleasure to meet you all.”
Amanda Doherty, Northern Ireland
“At Archa I have met wonderful people who have given me a lot, on many different levels. I felt seen and listened to, and it gave me confidence in my own abilities. I have met people who have given me new perspectives about the world and who have inspired me, and with whom I share artistic affinities and plan to collaborate.”
Lara Well, Luxembourg
“The whole experience influenced the way I think about the creative process. Not just that I had met impressive talents and real craftsmanship, often deeply dedicated to the job, but most importantly I had the opportunity to spend two beautiful weeks with a group full of beautiful characters. This, most importantly, had an impact on shifting the perspective within I am looking at things now. That I still have a lot to learn, how to work in group, how to express my feelings, simply how to get things done, differently.”
Ngo Xuan Thang, Czech Republic
“It was really interesting to work with people with different knowledge and from different backgrounds (also political realities).  Also, to experiment in areas that were completely unknown to me, such as moving image. It gave me a wider perspective. It made me think why I do the work I do, why I write. I would like to talk about real stories and work with non-actors. It encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone.”
Rosa Molina, Norway