Juraj Augustin: Fulfill your dreams with us

The BuranTeatr has gone through a generational turnaround and has recently focused on new directions. The foyer and the bar were renovated during the holidays. Currently, works on the workshop hall are being undertaken and the preparations for the reconstruction of the big hall have begun. Do these changes represent a change not only of the BuranTeatr, but also of the whole Brnos independent theater scene?
Juraj Augustin, an art director, has answered our questions.

What´s Your opinion on the Brno's independent theater scene situation? A transformation of the municipal grant policy was realized there several years ago. Has this measure brought about the desired change?

I am optimistic and in my opinion the Brno´s independent scene works very well. It functions and it is developing. The number of our faithful spectators has increased. However, money is still a problem, grant subsidies for „the operation" cover only the basic functioning of the theater. Even though the BuranTeatr has obtained a grant from both the town of Brno and the Ministry of Culture and is also successful in obtaining smaller grants for specific projects, it works largely on the basis of voluntary activities or symbolic financial rewards. However, I more and more come across competent and determined people in the culture, so I believe we head towards better future. Regarding the grant policy of the town of Brno - the situation has really improved. Financial support has slightly increased and four-year grants have been introduced.

For a long time, Brno has been suffering from the lack of the space for independent theater projects, mainly for the motion and non-verbal theaters. Why?
I agree. However, give us more time and it will improve. We strive for it! The BuranTeatr systematically works on this aim. We are aware that there is no motion theater in Brno and there is no organization that would support this kind of art. And the BuranTeatr would like to become such organization. The projects from the area of motion and improvisational theater have come to us. These are two genres we would like to focus on and provide them with the background and space in Brno. And we undertake particular steps to achieve this goal. We have realized the renovation of the cafe, which is to become the heart of this Brno’s center of improvisational and motion activities. In these days, the renovation of the workshop hall which will be equipped with a spring-loaded dancing floor is being finalized. From the beginning of the new year, a rehearsal room will be available to us. We have launched a project “GUESTS”. We offer a special conditions for renting a rehearsal room. Furthermore, the spectators have an opportunity to see more experimental performances for reduced admission there. And last but not least, we are in the preparatory phase of the renovation of the large hall. With the support of Sokol Brno 1, we would like to turn the hall into an original generous space for great productions of physical theatre. As soon as the renovation is completed, the space of 14 x 11 m, with the height of 5,5 m, capacity of more than 250 spectators and an elevation necessary for motion productions will be available there. I believe that the BuranTeatr will then become a strong player in the world of dance and physical theater.
In many places in the Czech Republic there exist so called production houses, it means the theaters that do not have their own companies, but their mission is to work with resident artists. Do you think that the existence of such a space would bring benefit to the Brno's independent culture?

Yes, indeed. I believe that the BuranTeatr could take this task in the near future. We do not have a permanent company (although we have been cooperating with a certain group of people for a long time) and neither will we try to have one in the future. We would like to remain a vibrant and flexible organization attractive for interesting and high-quality authors who may fulfill their artistic dreams with us. Nothing more and nothing less!

This year, you have published a call for artists-in-residence for those who would like to use the premises of your organization during the holidays. Has anyone applied for it? Will you offer residences even in the future?

We realized the first residences in the last season. Residents came to us intuitively, we did not make any calls. We feel the need of residences in the Brno environment and this is the reason why we have systematized it this season. We have launched a project of residence stays, which we announce three times a season. Moreover, we think about launching a summer terms that would be more generous in time. Several subjects have applied for the January turn and we are currently in the selection phase. So far, this is a test run, but I believe that this kind of cooperation will soon set off fully.

What has recently pleased you in the field of culture?
I am always very happy when I come across people who are talented, skillful, hardworking (ideally in the extreme sense of the word) and love their work (and now I mean mostly the “invisible” people, which means the persons working in the technical and production backgrounds). And I meet people like this from time to time. If they are freelance workers, I don´t hesitate to persuade them to join the BuranTeatr. I ask them about their dreams and I do everything I can to persuade them to work with us and thus fulfill their dreams. Sometimes it really happens. So I would like to say hello to all my colleagues from the BuranTeater, without whom we could not do about!

What, on the contrary, has disappointed you?
Intrigues, calumnies and gossips. I prefer to communicate eye-to-eye and I do not like people who just talk and do nothing. And unfortunately, I have recently come across such people. And that's what makes me feel really tired. But in the theater field we work with people and people are different, so it is not a complaint, rather a little sigh.

What are your wishes?
To have enough money to pay for the work of all my colleagues.

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