Roman Černík: We are not afraid of experiments

The reconstructed premises of the Moving Station started the fourth season since its reopening following the successful renovation of the historic railway station. The opening was held at the Pilsen - South Suburban Station in September. Its dramaturgy focuses primarily on the introduction of contemporary theater, dance and interdisciplinary art experiments. Furthermore, fine arts, film shows, music and new circus are presented there. And we can’t forget the classes of dramatic education or improvisation that are on the regular monthly offer. We interviewed Roman Černík, the director of the Moving Station, and asked him about the news of this most significant center for independent culture in Pilsen.

Moving station has a wide program targeting. In addition to the professional and amateur theater, you are also devoted to drama education and work with youth in general as well as hosting and performing a number of festivals. Is it at all possible to cover such a wide range of activities? What are your program priorities?

We have consistently worked in multi-source financing environment. And equally consistently we have focused on the multidimensional dramaturgy of our activities since the very beginning of our organization (the cultural space Moving Station is operated by the association Johan; nowadays in the form of a registered institute; it was founded in 1998 - author’s note). In my view, today we are a kind of bridge (after all, we stand on the bridge:-)) between the world of professional experimental art, especially contemporary dance and theater, and the world of what we call community art or artwork of interest. On the one hand, we offer inspiration from the professionals to those who are only at the beginning of their creative career or doing it as a hobby. On the other hand, we offer to the professionals a dialogue with a knowledgeable and oriented audience.

Since the last year, you have always premiered a new coproduction project in the autumn. The Internet of things released last year was created in cooperation with Jiří Honzírek, the director and principal of the Feste Theater. This year, a performance I step on your graves with Jakub Čermák, the director and actor of the art gang Depressed children desire for money and one of the operators of the Prague Venuše in Švehlovka was presented. Both projects are on the border of documentary and political theater. How do you pick up the topics and set up a creative team?

Our mission is to make up-to-date political theater productions. We reflect the basic concept that it must be a timely issue affecting directly Pilsen, being comprehensible even beyond the town walls. The issues are presented by the director. We discuss them together; then a field survey, a residential stay and the production of an author's production in an ad hoc team for a particular project follow. To set up a team ranks among the responsibilities of the selected author and director. Indeed, there are financial and time limits. The premiere is always held on the eve of the International Theater Festival within our section of the festival program. That section is called Johan presents.
You do not present your projects only in Moving Station, but also in other Czech towns.

Our projects are presented in the Moving Station usually once a month through the whole year. But we try to export them to the independent spaces in the region, if possible, and also to the theater stages of the Czech Republic. In this respect, our alliance with similar spaces and producers from both the Nová síť and the Association of Independent Theaters of the Czech Republic plays a major role. We have a good cooperation with Brno Industro, Prague Venuše in Švehlovka or Olomouc Theater of Music and Na Cucky Theater.

Have you already started thinking over the topic and the project's director for the next year?

Yes, we have. We have recently started setting up a new residential challenge. We are interested in the concept of "media democracy" and the attitude of young people towards November 1989. But it is still at the stage of reflections and discussions.

A pilot version of the subscription for those interested in contemporary theater and dance performed by the independent Czech and Slovak productions, whose motto is "We're not afraid of an experiment” is the Moving Station autumn novelty. It sounds like a subscription to experiments! What do you expect from this novelty?

It's a nice idea. We were inspired by the south-bohemian friends from Diodo in Jihlava. It enables to make a cheerful campaign and to establish a stable circle of interested people and direct communication with them. So far, it's very fresh for us. Nevertheless, even now we care about our subscribers with tenderness and love.

What has recently pleased you in the field of culture?

I was very pleased with the current work of the choreographers Jana Bitterová (Opravdoví) and Soňa Ferienčíková (Everywhen). Generally, I enjoy searching and experimenting.

What, on the contrary, has disappointed you?

Perhaps mostly weird, badly thought-out and from the long-point perspective even devastating step of the Minister of Culture to change the closing of already closed collection of grant applications. I was really overtaken by this decision. I do not understand it and it has made me think about a couple of controversial questions.

What are your wishes?

At least one percent going to culture, respect and support for live and up-to-date art, even in the regions. The situations could improve by making art an important part of the basic school curriculum, allowing everyone to discover the world of art (and in particular the contemporary one) without any difference, and enabling all children and young people in schools to develop the skill of perceiving art or even viewing it as an essential part of their lives.