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Frequently Asked Questions for the 2023 Prague Quadrennial
Festival of Performance Space and Design

What is the Prague Quadrennial? 
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. 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 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 the extraordinary experience that is the Prague Quadrennial and USITT’s long history with the PQ.   

When is the 2023 Prague Quadrennial? 
From June 8-18, 2023 the USITT will present juried and curated work reflecting inclusion, excellence and responsibility in US theatre design created from June 2018 to the present by both Emerging Designers and National Designers. 

Who participates in the Prague Quadrennial? 
Designers and Theatre Artists across all disciplines and performance genres will submit design work for consideration to be exhibited at the 2023 Prague Quadrennial Festival of Performance Space and Design (PQ23), the world’s most exciting celebration of Theatre Artists! 

Am I an Emerging Designer or a National Designer? 
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.

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. 

How can I encourage students to submit their design work for the Prague Quadrennial?
Click here for information for Design Educators and click here for Ideas for Educators

What is the theme of the 2023 Prague Quadrennial? 
The PQ23 theme is RARE. 

  • RARE encompasses the broadest spectrum of inclusivity, excellence, and responsibility.
  • RARE reflects individuality and is only limited by the extent to which one can dream.
  • RARE design submissions include the voices of under-represented communities, bring uncommon points-of-view to light, acknowledge stories born from systemic power structures and historical events, stage fresh interpretations of dated narratives, and document the recent Covid-19 pandemic.   
  • RARE creative work reveals unexpected affinities, empathies, challenges, fractures, intersections and inventions experienced during these challenging times.   

Does my work speak to the future of design and the PQ23 theme – RARE?
The notion of RARE is different for everyone!

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

  • RARE envelops all individuals and theatre companies who create innovative, radical, and disruptive designs that embrace unconventional subject matter and story-telling.    
  • RARE includes design springing out of ideas, materials, artistic approaches, and practices from within your imagination that connect at a human level.
  • RARE embraces forward-thinking, socially conscious, atypical, innovative, out-of-the-box, inventive, and/or avant-garde design.
  • RARE generates opportunities for audiences to experience humanity beyond their own.

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.

What design materials should I submit for consideration?
USITT will jury and curate submissions – aligned with core values inclusion, excellence, responsibility – that capture a broad range of human expression from one’s self-identity to the shared cultural ethos of diverse performance communities. USITT will select work for PQ23 that exemplifies invention, innovation, and new visual story-telling. 

What is USITT looking for in submissions? 
All works exhibited at PQ23 will represent innovation and excellence in US theatre design and performance while also reflecting the festival 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. 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.

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. The USITT PQ 2023 exhibit will engage spectators by highlighting the affinities and intersections representing our performance communities’ creativity, self-identification, and cultural expressions.

In short, we look forward to engaging Festival guests by forecasting the future of performance in the USA.  

How will USITT select work for the Prague Quadrennial? 
USITT welcomes submissions of design work created from June 2018 to the present in all design disciplines and performance genres described above. Design submissions will be assigned blind to jurors and reviewed according to a rubric that aligns with USITT core values, and other criteria described above.  

Accordingly, USITT will select 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, and that exemplifies invention, innovation, and new visual story-telling.

Click here for adjudication process details and a complete list of USITT curators and jurors.   

When can I submit design work for the Prague Quadrennial? 
The submission portal is now open with a deadline of 11:59 pm EST, July 1, 2022.
Click for more information on the overall timeline.

When will USITT make their selections? 
Designers will be notified of jury/curation decisions by September 1, 2022. 

If accepted, will USITT pay for the shipping and insurance of my designs?
While in transit within the United States and in transit overseas, USITT engages Inland Marine Insurance to cover your work. PQ insures exhibits against damage and destruction caused by natural hazards, theft, and vandalism.

Do I have to print and frame my own work?
No, USITT will do that for you.

Are there other ways to participate in the PQ23? 
Yes! 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.

Also, explore more direct participation opportunities organized by PQ23 leadership and apply directly through the PQ23 festival website.

How will I get to Prague ? 
USITT does not cover attendee housing or travel. However, if you are a USITT members whose work is selected for exhibition you may apply for a USITT travel grant.

Do I need a visa to travel to Prague?
If you are a US citizen, no.

How much is a ticket to attend the PQ ?
In 2019, a single day ticket for adults was 350 CZK. A 2019 single day ticket for students and parents accommodating their children was 150 CZK . The 2022 ticket fees and structure will be available on the website.

Is PQ Family Friendly ?
Absolutely! There is a special program for children entitled PQ KIDS detailed on the website.

Where do you stay in Prague?
Prague is quite accustomed to visitors wanting extended housing. It is possible to rent apartments at affordable prices, find BnBs and Youth Hostels for students, as well as US chain hotels.

How do I get around Prague?
Prague boasts many bus and tram lines that are easy to navigate and move folks around town quickly. Always purchase and carry your ticket. If you get caught without one, the fine is substantial.

What is the weather in Prague like?
June weather in Prague can range from very cool (45 degrees Fahrenheit in June of 2013) to very hot (95 degrees Fahrenheit in June of 2019), to moderate with occasional rain. Bring a range of clothes that you can layer and note there is no air conditioning in many public buildings.

Will my US Cell phone work in Prague?
Some phone plans include international service, while others require the purchase of a SIM card for the duration of a European trip. Read up about your phone plan before you travel.

How do I find out about international Covid and Safety Concerns?
Check information on the US State Department site for Travel Advisories: Travel Advisories

How do I become a USITT member? 

Who can I contact with more of my questions? 
Please direct any questions you might have to:

Kevin Rigdon- Artistic Director/Vice President of International Activities 

Tatiana Vintu- Head Curator/International Activities

R. Scott Blackshire- Co-Chair Curator Activities 

Patrick Rizzotti- Curator/Chair International Activities 

Susan Tsu- Outreach