May Newsletter of the Culture Department of the Brno City Municipality

May Newsletter of the Culture Department of the Brno City Municipality

The culture newsletter details what’s on in Brno, the latest news and opportunities in culture. 

Dear fans of culture in Brno,

You may have noticed that yesterday, the Czech government, after months of urging, eased restrictions affecting the cultural sector. Just like life generally in the country has been returning to a sense of normality over the past few weeks, organisers of cultural events have finally received guidelines, which will inform them as to the their course of actions in the next few weeks. Well, better late than never. Hopefully, no U-turn in this respect lies ahead.

It may have come to your attention that Brno was actively trying to open up culture much earlier. Our proposal for test theatrical performances, which could have been held in mid-April in cooperation with Brno National Theatre, had been discussed with the former minister, Blatný, but subsequently rejected by his replacement Arenberger, who referred to a statement by the Chief Public Health Officer, Svrčinová, who held the opinion that antigen tests were unsuitable for such purposes. Meanwhile, all over the world, these rapid antigen tests have helped bring about a return to the stage or elsewhere. In the Netherlands, for example, approximately thirty test events have been carried out in the past few months of several approaches – from small-scale performances to events for up to ten thousand visitors. What is the outcome of these experiments by the Dutch government? That cultural events can take place by safely opening venues to 75% of capacity with the implementation of hygienic measures based on antigen tests.

We are pleased that the pressure we applied helped the Czech government to abandon its intention to keep culture a reserve of the chosen few through expensive PCR tests, and instead give the antigen alternative a chance. This opens up the possibility to something interesting finally happening other than on displays or screens, as has been the case in the past six months. It is hard to describe how much I am looking forward to experiencing a live concert or theatrical performance.

I believe that the new issue of our cultural newsletter will make for pleasant reading in these last days of waiting, as it is full of the latest news and advice. I shall write again in June about what is set to occur in the summer.
Your Councillor for Culture
Marek Fišer


Another meeting of the Brno Cultural Parliament is to take place on 15 June 2021 at 5 p.m. on the summer stage of the BuranTeatr theatre (Kounicova 20). Please head over to our Facebook page to find out more and learn about the schedule. Lots of news is forthcoming, so do not miss out, and we look forward to seeing you all again!

Take a tour of a new online trail that explores the statues at Masaryk University, which is part of a project entitled Sochařské Brno (Sculpture in Brno) taking place in cooperation with the university. The trail also features videos from the Brno Art Week festival. Discover works of art hidden away in the courtyards and the various faculty buildings. 

Event organisers, remain vigilant! The city district of Brno-střed (Brno-centre) has prepared a structured calendar of cultural events with the express aim of preventing outdoor ones from interfering with each other. Instructions are also given on applications that need to be filed and managed at offices before an event takes place. 

Advances made in the project to develop the Janáček Cultural Centre, as a new concert hall for the Brno Philharmonic. Last week, a model of the building arrived at Brno Exhibition Centre to test the hall’s acoustics. The City of Brno has applied for a grant of 600 million CZK, requesting the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic to provide support and give the construction project the go-ahead. 

Statue of the city’s most important personage – natural scientist Gregor Johann Mendel – to be placed in Brno. Coinciding with the 200th anniversary of Mendel’s birth, the work is going to be located on the renovated Mendlovo náměstí (Mendel Square). The City of Brno is co-funding the sculptural work in the amount of 10 million CZK.

More Brno personages to have an honorary grave at the Central Cemetery (Ústřední hřbitov). At the end of May, a tombstone is being installed that pays tribute to the person behind the appearance of the Czech flag, Jaroslav Kursa. A draft design for another gravestone, this time for Antonín Přidal, the man of literature and translator, was approved by the Brno City Council in April. 



Culture slowly returning. Yesterday, the Czech government approved a draft package of measures to restore cultural life. From 17 May it is possible to put on cultural events outdoors for seated audiences of up to 700 in number. If the epidemic situation does not worsen, from 24 May onwards further such restrictions shall ease. That number for an outdoor event will rise to 1,000 seated people, while it will be possible to organize a cultural performance for an audience of up to 500 inside. All this still shall remain governed by strict hygiene conditions and the need for antigen/PCR tests, with attendees wearing respirators and a maximum of 50% usage of the venue’s capacity (both indoors and outdoors).

Businesses involved in the performing arts can apply for a grant as part of Call 3.3 of the COVID – Culture (Kultura) programme. The programme has 800 million CZK available, and the maximum amount of aid per applicant is 10 million CZK. The deadline for submitting applications is 30 June 2021. 

In addition to the compensation offered by the City, the city district Brno – střed (Brno-centre) has decided to waive the late payment of interest as well as payments of rent and services for non-residential premises operated for business purposes for the period from March 2020 to the end of March 2021. Such a decision by the city district subsequently requires the assent of Brno City Assembly. Last week, consent was given by Brno City Council, while members of Brno City Assembly will address it at their next meeting. 

Since vaccination programmes have been rolling out across Europe, organisers of cultural events are gearing up for gradual resumption of performances with larger audiences in attendance. Assistance and various programmes are in place that support organisers should an occasion be cancelled or significantly restricted. What types of resumption packages exist in European countries? 


From 26 June to 14 July 2021, Divadlo Bolka Polívky (The Bolek Polívka Theatre) offers the possibility to use an open-air stage in the grounds of Kraví hora park for cultural events. To learn more, please get in touch with Ondřej Chalupský (, tel.: +420 601 501 550). This offer is valid for a limited period until 17 May 2021.

The Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic has issued a call for applications for grants for 2021. The grant programme aims to support projects that have succeeded as part of the Creative Europe’s Culture sub-programme and are carried out in 2021. The maximum grant given per project is CZK 350,000. 

Join 95 local organisers and prepare your location for a festival entitled Zažít město jinak (Different City Experience). Anyone wishing to transform the streets, squares and public spaces into a fun place for themselves and their neighbours can register every spring. Spolek AutoMat (AutoMat, a Czech NGO) will help with everything. 

The Creative Europe Office runs two online workshops called Jak na granty (a nezbláznit se z toho) (Managing Grants Effectively (and not Going Crazy). They present the basic principles behind project development and provide guidance on whether or not to apply for a grant, important matters in completing applications and administering multiple projects simultaneously. Registration ends tomorrow.

Open Studios Brno announces a call for applications for a year-long, artist-in-residence grant for two students who seek develop their diploma theses or two graduates from FFA BUT in Brno. Applications are to be submitted by 18 May. 2021. 

Společnost Franze Kafky (The Franz Kafka Society) has announced the 27th annual student literary competition entitled Cena Maxe Broda 2021 (The Max Brod Prize 2021) for the best essay. It is open to students from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This time around, the main themes concern crises, lockdown, and Franz Kafka’s sense of humour



Places usually out of bounds to the public open their doors again this year in the Open House Brno festival. It takes place the weekend of 29 and 30 May. Buildings of architectural interest, offices, administrative complexes, industrial buildings, unusual vantage points and places with character. For one weekend only, dozens of constructions will open, free of charge, within the city.

The non-profit NGO ParaCENTRUM Fenix is holding, for a second year, a charity auction of pictures by young artists. The aim is to forge connections between the current generation of young artists and physically or mentally challenged people. This year’s auction takes place online from 20 May to 6 June.

The Husa na provázku (Goose on a String) Theatre is now selling tickets for performances in May and June. Tickets can be purchased for the following productions: : Setkání spiklenců (The Ball of the Wine Connoiseurs´Club), Čerwuiš  (Cherwuish) and Raději zešílet v divočině (Better to get mad in the wild).

From 10 May to 6 June an international festival of documentary films on human rights is being held. Entitled Jeden svět (One World), it is happening online. It is possible to join in an educational class every day in the morning, entitled Jeden svět vzdělává (One World Educates), and documentaries are screened in the afternoon or evening, followed by debates with film-makers, creatives and experts.

Gustav Brom – the man from Brno who conquered the world! Saxophonist, conductor, composer, bandmaster, singer, manager, husband, father, football fan, patriot. The centenary of his birth is commemorated this year by TIC Brno as part of a series of events on Gustav Brom 100.

In May, Divadlo Bolka Polívky (The Bolek Polívka Theatre Co.) is holding a popular festival Ženy ženám (Women to Women) with numerous online talks by inspirational speakers, along with a special edition of the MALÉhRY ke kafi (Little dramas to go with coffee) podcast with Bára Poláková as a guest and a charity bazaar. The festival programme is streamed on Facebook from 11 to 29 May.

Janáček Opera is putting on a new production of Verdi’s famous Nabucco opera for audiences from 19 May at 7 p.m. to 20 May at 11 p.m. Tickets are on sale from the theatre’s website.

Open Studios 2021, a series of open days at the studios of Brno-based creative people active in fine arts, is taking place in early June. This allows visitors to view workshops and experience the atmosphere of creativity at them first-hand, as well as getting to know artworks better and gaining insight from the artists themselves.

Tours of Brno are being put on by TIC Brno.  They include new, fun ones suitable for youngsters and more extreme options, as well as shorter and financially less demanding circular tours perfectly suited to older people.

Divadelní svět Brno (Brno Theater World) festival is to happen this year! Held from 20 to 25 May, the overarching theme is New Perspectives! 

Photograph: Archive



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For the twenty-eighth year running, the Concentus Moraviae International Music Festival presents dramaturgically varied and interpretively refined evenings set not only in concert halls, but also in courtyards and chateau salons, castle halls, basilicas, churches and synagogues. The theme of this year’s 28th edition is Between Kroměříž and Vienna. Vienna, the cultural centre of Europe, served as the seat of the Habsburg emperors, while Kroměříž was the home of the archbishops of Olomouc. The dramaturgy of this year’s edition was prepared by a trio of respected experts: the Dean of the JAMU Faculty of Music, harpsichordist, organist and musicologist Barbara Maria Willi; historian, musicologist and choirmaster Vladimír Maňas; and Otto Biba, Austrian musicologist and long-time director of the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde archive.  more

The celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Brno’s Besední dům, which take place within its premises and elsewhere, have an interesting and distinguished dramaturgy that manages to transport the audience to the early days of this concert venue. Two concerts took place on 4 and 5 May and were entitled “Janáček” and “Horňácká muzika”. I took part in the first one; it was a truly momentous experience prepared by the Brno Philharmonic and Petr Mička’s Horňácká muzika. Friday’s repeat of the concert was broadcast by Czech Television. Both nights were sold out and standing tickets were even added to the sale.  more

The Brno Philharmonic’s headquarters and one of Brno’s most important historical and cultural landmarks – the Besední dům – celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Exactly on 3 April 1873, when the auditorium (great hall) of the building designed by architect Theophil von Hansen, author of the famous Musikverein in Vienna, was ceremonially opened, this magnificent building became the centre of Brno’s culture and its distinctive artistic life. A century and a half later – on Monday 1 May 2023 – an afternoon gathering and a subsequent concert entitled When Smetana First Played in Brno. . . will launch a series of concerts that pay tribute to unique milestones in the city’s cultural history.  more

Singer-songwriter Martina Trchová, winner of the Anděl award for her album Holobyt, recently disbanded her band and now performs mainly as a soloist. She is slowly working on a new album and is also focusing on visual arts. Her new book Babi, will soon be published, and she’ll also be holding another festival in the Obřany district of Brno.  more

I talked to Barbara Maria Willi, the dean of the Faculty of Music at the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts, dramaturge, teacher, populariser of classical music, harpsichordist, organist and specialist on the hammered dulcimer, about the 20th anniversary edition of the music series Barbara Maria Willi presents..., as well as about historically informed interpretation and further plans. The fact that she was actively teaching a foreign student just before our talk is the best indication of how busy her schedule is.  more