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From June 8-18, 2023 at the PQ23, The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) will present juried and curated work reflecting inclusion, excellence, and responsibility in US theatre design from both Emerging Designers and National Designers 

Today, the Prague Quadrennial (PQ) has been rebranded a festival in recognition of the need to experience design and scenography in its performative format—live and with audience engagement

The Prague Quadrennial premiered in 1967 during the Cold War. At that time while world governments fought, theatre artists came together to share theatre designs and architecture — and so it has been in Prague every four years since. Over decades the PQ has grown to become a unique platform connecting artists, institutions, professionals, researchers, students, and the general public from around the world. The PQ now is an historic, globally recognized, 10-day event of exhibitions, installations, lectures, workshops, happenings, parades, symposia and performances. 

The last PQ was held in 2019 on the exhibition grounds of the Prague Industrial Palace and in venues throughout the city. Over 8,000 theatre artists, designers and performers representing 106 countries attracted more than 70,000 visitors to Prague for what is called the “Olympics of Design.” The exhilaration of theatre professionals from all over the world coming together in an electric atmosphere to share work and exchange ideas is profoundly life-changing! 

Click for more information about USITT’s long history with the PQ and the extraordinary experience that is the Prague Quadrennial.


RARE reflects individuality and is only limited by the extent to which one can dream. How might you envision the future of theatre design through the lens of the PQ23 theme: RARE.

The United States exhibit will celebrate RARE design submissions that support the inclusion of under-represented communities, acknowledge stories born from systemic power structures and historical events, and document the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

The range of curated designs that will represent PQ23 RARE artistic forms include  forward-thinking, unexpected, socially conscious, atypical, innovative, out-of-the-box, and traditional designs.

RARE creative work reveals unexpected affinities, empathies, challenges, fractures, intersections and inventions experienced during these challenging times.   


Performance Design and Scenography each blend visual, experiential, and sensorial realms, often with interdisciplinary collaborations into a kaleidoscope of new, creative ideas.

The notion of RARE is different for everyone! RARE envelops all individuals and theatre companies who create innovative, radical, and disruptive designs that embrace unconventional subject matter and story-telling. RARE generates opportunities for audiences to experience humanity beyond their own.

RARE includes design springing out of ideas, materials, artistic approaches, and practices from within your imagination that connect at a human level. RARE applies to your forward-thinking, socially conscious, atypical, innovative, out-of-the-box, inventive, and/or avant-garde design.

Show how you envision the future of theatre design and what you consider to be RARE. If you do not connect with RARE  as defined by USITT or PQ23, articulate a new perspective of RARE in your submission.


USITT understands that Designers and Theatre Artists span a breadth of career trajectories and self-define in a multitude of ways. None the less, for organizational purposes, the PQ23 festival groups presentations according to a country’s national designers (most often established professionals) and student designers (most often from emerging, early career designers).  

Because representation matters – and to create an inclusive and responsible submission process to identify excellence in design – USITT expands the PQ23 “student” classification into a broader realm for all Emerging Designers. USITT feels Emerging Designer represents rising designers within five years of embracing their unique identity as a practicing visual creator in any genre of performance. This captures not only graduate and undergraduate students, but anyone who identifies as a rising designer. USITT considers National Designers to be visual creators who work in any genre of performance – but do not identify as an Emerging Designer

In your submission, you will self-select the category—Emerging Designer or National Designer—that better represents your design work. You will also be asked to note affinities you hold with any USITT Affinity Groups and Approaches to Design. Affinity Groups: AAPI; Accessible (Disability based) Performance; Black; Immigrant; Indigenous; Latinx; Hispanic; LGBTQIA+. Design Approaches: Theatre of the Oppressed – BOAL; Design as Activism; Innovation in the time of COVID (NOTE: Innovative pieces that were propelled into being because of COVID will be particularly considered.)

Individuals must self-determine whether to submit under either National Designer or Emerging Designer. Group or organization collaborations may also be submitted under either National Designer or Emerging Designer. If uncertain, though, groups or organizations may submit the design under both categories for consideration.

USITT encourages all individuals, groups, and theatre companies to submit design work that further evolves static notions of who are Emerging Designers and who are National Designers. Join USITT in this discussion through your submission!  


We encourage you and your students to submit design work for consideration to be exhibited at the 2023 Prague Quadrennial.

Click here for student submission details and here for educator resources.


USITT welcomes submissions of design work created from June 2018 to the present in all design disciplines and performance genres described above.  To that end, USITT will solicit and welcome submissions from all applicants, consistent with all applicable U.S. laws, specifically Title VI of The Civil Rights Act which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

USITT will jury submissions and curate work for PQ23 that captures a broad range of human expression from one’s self-identity to the shared cultural ethos of diverse performance communities. Accordingly, USITT will select work for PQ23 that exemplifies invention, innovation, and new visual story-telling.

Please know that all submissions will be featured in a virtual art gallery on the USITT website. This platform is built on USITT Core Values – inclusion, excellence, responsibility – to honor designers and their creative communities, and the stories they share.   


Click here for deadline information and Press Announcements


The USITT Curatorial Committee oversees the jury and curatorial processes for all PQ23 US design submissions. Jurors are required to score submissions according to a rubric that carefully outlines six distinct scoring sections: the design date; adherence to the PQ23 Theme: RARE; design creativity; the designer’s industry engagement; and presence of USITT values. The Curatorial Committee will then scrutinize and consider juried submissions by rank scores for inclusion in the PQ23 US exhibit.

Click here for complete adjudication Information to come


Click here for lists of jurors and curators.

USITT – PQ23 Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for FAQ. 


We look forward to discovering and highlighting the affinities and intersections that emerge from your designs. Your submissions will allow us to engage PQ23 guests at with work that forecasts the inclusive, excellent and responsible future of design and performance in the US.