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Steve Gove of the Fringe Festival: Blown Away 1.

Go see it all Friday 27th May to Saturday 5th of June

Fringe is the place where the future stars are born. the famous theatre festival that was born in Edinburgh is taking place in Prague also. We chatted with its director and founder, Steve Gove. 

Since when did the idea of having Fringe in the Czech Republic started?
Why Fringe?

The idea of starting the Fringe in Prague came to me in August 2000 when I was home in Scotland at the worlds largest and oldest Fringe in Edinburgh. I had been living in Prague for three years by that time and wanted to bring a slice of the atmosphere of Edinburgh Fringe to my new home Prague. At that time there was very little English language theatre in Prague and with so many Czech's learning and speaking English I wondered why.

 There is a million things one can do, why did you choose this?
 

When I moved to Prague in 1997 I missed the ability to see theatre in my own language and instead of complaining about it, I decided to do something, it was part of the inspiration. I also guessed that there must be other people that had a similar feeling and combined with the numbers of Czech's speaking English I thought it would be a success. I studied theatre and was a drama teacher in scotland before I moved to Prague so theatre was a big part of my life.

Were you a part of Fringe before that?

I attended the Fringe in Edinburgh for the first time in 1996 after leaving teaching. I was blown away. Imagine a city with half the population of Prague hosting 680 theatre companies performing over 1,400 performances in a month. Today it is almost three times the size and sells almost 2 million tickets.

if not, what was the process of

starting it here?

what was your job before running Fringe? We heard you had a school in
Prague (do you still run it)?

I started a little language school in 1998 called Future Perfect. At it's peak I had around 5 full time teachers working for me and some great clients. When I started preparing the first Fringe I spent less time working on the school and finally in February last year the last client ended lessons.

What are your memories to the very first Fringe events, do you smile at those?

It was completely chaotic. We had not sold any tickets in advance for any of the shows. Just minutes before the first performance someone came up and asked... 'do you have any tickets left?' I could have hugged him! In the end it was a success and we sold several hundred tickets but it was very small festival by comparison to now - only 12 shows and 60 performances. All the performers met in one bar after the shows so it was quite an intimate event.


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