Education is one of the fundamental activities of the Flying Laboratory. FLAB offers theatre workshops and annually organizes the International Summer School on Theatre in Social Context at the Archa Theatre. 


The Flying Laboratory educational activities provide an opportunity for a common reflection and exchange of experience, knowledge, and creative ideas to address various societal challenges through art.


Archa Theatre and Flying Laboratory artists in particular have been long promoting the principles of theatre, which arises in close association with social context. Social-specific theatre is considered as a field that links different art forms and civil society. It is a specific way of theatre thinking, when dramatic text is not necessarily the starting point of the process of creation. In the beginning, there is a theme, a personal experience, sometimes a video, a documentary photo, or a sound recording of an authentic event. The creative process involves, in addition to artists, ordinary people, who often bring strong personal stories. Only the ones that embrace the art of listening can hear them that’s - FLAB calls this technique “extreme listening”.


The Flying Laboratory educational programs promote artistic practices that have the courage to examine topical issues expressed in a specific theatrical language. It asks questions like: 

  • How is reality transformed into an artistic image? 

  • Which artistic disciplines serve this purpose? 

  • How can artistic activities influence social reality?


The Flying Laboratory serves as a catalyst and accelerator of the local productions of social-specific theatre in different locations around the world. The final productions are be presented in facilities of the partner, as well as in public spaces and online, therefore aiming at audiences which represent different sections of the civil society.  

The Flying Laboratory educational program aims:

  • To achieve new ways of thinking and acting by creating open formats of interaction between artists and ordinary people

  • To support the emergence of new narratives internationally, thanks to the co-working, co-thinking, and co-creating process

  • To experience in-depth involvement of cultural actors on local level with transnational collaborations

  • To create an international network of artists who work with similar performative tools

  • To promote a theatre perspective that emphasizes individuality on stage

  • To be able to create a sustainable platform in which local artists can continue producing art with the artistic tools provided by the visiting artists.


Opinion leaders:

  • will help the Flying Laboratory team to understand local situation from the aspect of sociological, historical and geographical point of view 

  • will be partners for the team during the workshop, too. 

  • using the knowledge from the Flying Laboratory, opinion leaders continue their own project involving local artists and ordinary people



  • Multi skilled local artists with strong artistic backgrounds with the basic knowledge of documentary and social specific theatre

  • Artists that are interested in the methods of the collective creation / devised theatre

  • Artists that are open to new practices of the socially engaged theatre

  • Artists that are ready to carry on the experience, teach others, use and share their tools during the artistic practices

  • Artists who see theatre as an expression of individuality on stage.

International Summer School on Theatre
in Social Context

annually in August

The International Summer School on Theatre in Social Context is an annual program developing practical skills using effective methods of cooperation during the creation of contemporary theatre. The program has been running since 2016. 


The program builds on many years of experience with documentary theatre projects of the FLAB members. The Archa Theatre's program is focused on theatre that draws its material from real-life sources. Documentary theatre, collective creation or devised theatre are terms that describe theatre performances that predominantly focus on social problems and reflect on current social and political issues. The artistic rendering of everyday reality leads not only to the exploration of new thematic levels, but also specific artistic approaches. 

Every year we select 25 students which spend two weeks in the summer at the Archa Theatre in Prague. The Flying Laboratory team enhanced by professionals from other theatre disciplines work with the students in depth and share with them the methods of documentary theatre they follow. The program aims at hands-on experience and offers professional lessons on various complements of documentary theatre – light design, sound and music, video-art and multimedia. Through the Viewpoints method students learn how to acquire text for screenplay. Working language of the school is English.


The ateliers focus on the Viewpoints method and textual sources of documentary theatre, music and sound design, video and multimedia, objects as story source, light design, and movement on stage. In addition, participants have a chance to attend exclusive lectures by internationally acclaimed artists and scholars. Participants form creative groups and work on a short performance that they present at the Archa Theatre by using the theatrical skills they acquired in the ateliers. During this creative process, all lecturers are available for artistic consultations.


promises students to get acquainted with theatre in social context with the help of the Archa Theatre's artistic vision and advanced theatrical tools.


Jana Svobodová: Viewpoints Method 

The starting point and basic connecting line of Jana Svobodová's atelier is the concept of "extreme listening". It is a specific skill that is necessary in the process of creative work. Based on the Viewpoints method, participants have the opportunity to discover their own unique creative potential. Part of the atelier is assigned to active creative work and its systematic reflection in the group. The aim of the atelier is to define steps that serve as tools for subsequent independent work in one's own professional life. 

Jaroslav Hrdlička: Stage-focused video and multimedia 

Participants in Jaroslav Hrdlička's atelier focus on the use of video in the context of theatre production. In this workshop, participants proceed from recording to processing and presentation of video on stage. The aim of the atelier is to broaden participants’ multimedia knowledge according to professional and individual needs of each participant. The instructor highlights the diversity of resources and approaches. During this atelier students discover other artistic disciplines, such as scenery drawing using a tablet, use of "live camera" on stage, projector as a light source, VJ-ing, video-mapping, programming, animation, synchronization, effects, magic and illusion etc.


Jan Burian Jr.: Music and sound as an integral part of stage action

The subject of Jan Burian's atelier is listening, hearing, and perceiving as the three basic elements of the sound design for stage action. Participants are introduced to various forms of musical creation and different use of music and sound in creative theatrical work. Students record and process authentic audio materials, choose the appropriate technical equipment depending on the source of the sound, the theatrical situation or the individual capabilities of the creator, and seek for a distinctive musical language.
The atelier is intended for both beginners and advanced learners. Musical or technical knowledge is not a prerequisite.

Philipp Schenker: Objects in the context of personal story

We are surrounded by many different kinds of objects every day. We use many of them regularly, some only on special occasions. They are an important part of our life and become our partners.
Some objects can be part of our daily rituals, some can be objects of worship, some can be tied up with our memories, and some might be just found on the street, as they lost their original function.
Phillip’s class explores how these different kinds of objects are connected with our or other people’s life stories. The atelier searches for different forms of stage action and what stories they can tell, how we can transform their use and meaning, and how we can use them for very different kinds of activities on stage. During the lessons, students search for the metaphor that an object can express in relation to the story, the space, and the personal presence.

Theatre Workshops

In the workshops, the Flying Laboratory team presents methods of documentary theatre. FLAB work is built on the principles of shared experience and respect for the creative personality of each participant. The workshops are based on the techniques of “extreme listening”. Through the practical experience workshops, FLAB introduces specific methods of acquiring text, sound, music and video for theatrical expression.


The lectures aim at sharing experience and building cohesion through artistic methods between people of different origin, various social and ethnic background.  Professional artists, as well as ordinary citizens regardless of age, education, cultural and religious background attend the workshops.


FLAB builds on many years of working experience with various communities in the Czech Republic and abroad, such as:

2003-2012 Refugee camps in the Czech Republic (Pavel Koutecký shot a documentary about it: Beautiful life I will have)

2014          Lost and Found – project of documentary theatre focused on interconnection of the local neighbour community

                  with the newly arrived immigrants to the US

2015          New Bohemia - a project based on research into New Bohemia district in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, US,

                  which links local American residents with descendants of Czech immigrants from the early 20th century and new immigrants to the US.



Theatre Workshops in cooperation with the British Council

People to People - FLAB workshops in post-industrial regions in Czech Republic

with local citizens, artists, students, activists and other

FLAB by Archa Theatre was approached by the British Council to prepare a workshop of theatre in a social context for participants from the Moravian-Silesian and Ústí regions in the Czech Republic. Twenty participants from each region had the opportunity to learn and practice the basic principles of documentary theatre under the guidance of experienced lecturers, members of FLAB: theatre director Jana Svobodová, sound designer Jan Burian Jr. and multimedia artist Jaroslav Hrdlička. At the end of the theatre workshops the participants presented short performances, which they created together during two weeks of cooperation.


On the basis of the acquired knowledge and practical skills, participants submitted proposals to the British Council for community art projects that would help a closer understanding and dialogue between the various social groups in the region.


Archa Theatre selected two most promising projects from the submitted proposals. These two projects were further developed during the following Phase under FLAB mentoring. These projects are considered for implementation in the future under the auspices of the British Council and FLAB by Archa Theatre. 



Timeline of the project:


Phase 1 – preparation and research

December 2018 – lectures, workshop and meeting with the local community representants in the city of Ostrava and Ústí nad Labem with experts from the British Council in the UK and Embassy of Great Britain in the Czech Republic. The British experts were acquainted with the premises and historical background of the Archa Theatre. FLAB was invited to launch Phase 2 – organise and lead theatre workshops.


Phase 2 – theatre workshops in post-industrial cities

February 2019 (15.-17.2. + 22.-24.2.), Cooltour Cultural Centre, Ostrava

March 2019 (1.-3.3. + 15.- 17.3.), Hraničář Public Hall, Ústí nad Labem


The workshops of theatre in social context were held with representatives of the local community for two following extended weekends. Based on their experience the participants submitted project proposals. The aim of the projects was to improve social cohesion between various social groups through the tools of art - community theatre. The proposals also included the involvement of local infrastructure and the government in supporting projects.


Ostrava, Czech Republic - February 2019

Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic - March 2019


Phase 3 – project proposals development

April - June 2019


Of the projects submitted to the British Council, Archa Theatre has helped to identify two of the most promising proposals. These two projects were further developed and elaborated by the authors under mentoring by FLAB. 


In Ústecký region a project titled Hrdlovka or without an end there is no beginning was based on the event of the extinction of the mining village Hrdlovka in the Ústecký region and its inhabitant’s displacement to their new homes in the housing estates.


Two participants from Moravskoslezský region have prepared their project called Sweet sweet home.
In their proposal they want to focus on the issue availability of housing to all people and loss of basic conditions necessary for one’s life. The core of their research is directed to the area of ​​the Bedřiška colony in Ostrava, whose inhabitants might be forced to evict in the near future. 


In both projects, proposers deal with the topic of “roots” and the consequences when these are broken by force-majeure. The detailed project descriptions were submitted to the British Council for further evaluation and possible realization in both regions.


Prague Pedagogical and Social High School 

Long term cooperation


During semester 2019/2020 FLAB lecturers lead courses at Pedagogical and Social High School Evropská. Theatre Director Jana Svobodová together with dancer and choreographer Veronika Kacianova visit the dramaturgy lessons where young pedagogues to-be learn about the Viewpoints method in the context of documentary theatre, as well as about body and physical movement on stage.

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