- Poton Theatre
- The Pastoral Symphony
- The Emperor of America
- Art and Culture Centre
- Misery in Slovakia
- Artist Residencies
- ERASMUS+ Youth exchanges
- European solidarity corps
- Activities within Art and Culture centre
- Currently planning and working on
- Technical Equipment
- The team
Poton Theatre was founded in 2000 as originally an amateur theatre ensemble (2000 – 2003) and in 2003 was transformed into an independent professional group. During the first active years the group worked in a town Levice. After several years, the creative team decided to reside in the Slovak countryside. Since 2009, Poton Theatre operates in small village Bátovce – on a periphery. It is the only professional theatre in Slovakia located in countryside 160km far from capital of Slovakia – Bratislava.
The core of the theatre is playwright and dramaturge Michal Ditte and director Iveta Ditte Jurcova. Both are the leading personalities of the theatre not only in official terms. Poton Theatre does not have a stable ensemble. Poton collects new artistic team for each production specifically.
The duo is inclined to doing new original productions as well as classics in unconventional interpretations. Their productions are characteristic for their unusual metaphorization and poetics. Since 2007, they focus on social themes that have been long-forgotten and intentionally avoided, such as poverty, national identity and xenophobia, search for home, decline of values, emigration etc.
Creators often work with documentary material and the productions are often based on a sociological or ethnological field research. Collected authentic material is significantly enriched by exaggeration, elements of surprise, hyperbole and grotesque. Works are characterized by a distinctive play with styles, different means of expression and search for the new theatre and art forms.
“A scenic essay” – is the term which the director Iveta Ditte Jurčová uses to describe the theatre form that she developed while working on Pastoral Symphony. Pastoral Symphony is based on the themes offered by classical Slovak drama text from – Shepherd´s wife, written by Ivan Stodola in 1928. The story of the characters in original re-emigrational drama of Stodola is however transformed into the composed streams of associative images reflecting national and cultural identity, mythology and collective memory. A short local legend turns into a report on civilization. Civilization, which has remained entangled not only in geographical but especially in mental and value deadlock, at the crossroads between extinction and rebirth. The scenic essay refers to the relationship of man to nature, traditions, culture, religion and rituals, exposing national memory, folkloristic sentiment, and persistent efforts to preserve the remnants of our history. Reconstruction of the past is intertwined with the analysis of the present and at the background of the old defragmented story is a confrontation with the present.
- Authors of the project: Michal Ditte, Iveta Ditte Jurčová
- Directed by: Iveta Ditte Jurčová
- Dramaturgy: Marek Godovič
- Libreto: Michal Ditte, Iveta Ditte Jurčová, Katarína Caková
- Movement cooperation: Robo Nižník
- Music and sound design: Ivana Mer & Cristian Estrella
- Production: Monika Škojcová, Michal Ditte
- Light design: Michal Ditte
- Visual concept: Katarína Caková, Iveta Ditte Jurčová
- Visual concept realisation: Katarína Caková
- Costume: Horácké divadlo Jihlava, Elena Maťová
- Performers: Filip Jekkel, Ela Lehotská, Robo Nižník, Natália Puklušová, Ľubomír Raši
Premiere: April 2019
Co-production theatre project between Poton Theatre and Studio 12 in Bratislava is based on Martin Pollack’s reportage book – The Emperor of America: The Great Flight from Galicia. The book deals with the topic of mass emigration to America from the eastern part of Austro-Hungarian monarchy at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Michal Ditte, playwright from Poton Theatre, adapted the reportage book into a dramatic text, focusing the strong stories and fates of multiple people mentioned in the book into few main characters.
Michal Ditte wrote a text that uses the facts, events and newspaper articles to compose a story. Ditte focused on the destiny of Mendel Beck, whose name appears in the book on several occasions. He carries in him through the tragic nature of the times, and at the same time keeps the fragile poetics pulsating under the surface. One by one, the long-lost fragments of the given historical period begin to show further pieces of people’s destinies, as well as the events that connected them.
Iveta Ditte Jurčová, theatre director from Poton Theatre, transformed the text written by Michal Ditte into a scenic composition, using a different means of expression and theatre styles, for example object theatre, physical theatre, projections, video-art and other.
- Theatre adaptation: Michal Ditte
- Directed by: Iveta Ditte Jurčová
- Dramaturgy: Marek Godovič
- Visual concept: Iveta Ditte Jurčová, Katarína Cáková
- Visual concept realization: Katarína Caková
- Music: Ivana Mer & Cristian Estrella
- Movement cooperation: Maja Danadová
- Digital media: Erik Bartoš
- Puppet production: Katarína Caková
- Stage design: Štefan Prelovszký
- Costume design: Elena Maťová
- Technical cooperation: Jozef Čabo, Dominik Novák, Juraj Mydla, Matúš Gavorník
- Production: Kristína Rigerová, Veronika Stepanovičová, Michal Ditte, Monika Škojcová
Ľubomír Bukový, Filip Jekkel, Matúš Kvietik, Maja Danadová, Eva Moresová
Premiere: May 2018
Productions of Poton Theatre have won and been nominated for several Awards, notably:
- Nomination for the Grand Prix New Drama Festival Award 2008 (Michal Ditte: Terra Granus)
- The Award of the Bratislava Spectator, New Drama Festival 2008 (Michal Ditte: Terra Granus)
- Nomination in The Best Theatre Play – Dosky Awards 2012 (Michal Ditte: Psota)
- Nomination in The Best stage design – Dosky Awards 2012 (Michal Ditte: Psota, stage designer: Zuzana Formánková)
- Nomination for the Grand Prix New Drama Festival Award 2014 (M.H. Šahanský: Landscape of the Unmown Meadows)
- Nomination in The Extraordinary Performance in the Field of Drama – Dosky Awards 2017 (Miracles)
- Award for The Best Play of the season – Dosky Awards 2018 (Martin Pollack – Michal Ditte: The Emperor of America)
- Nomination in The Best Theatre Direction – Dosky Awards 2018 (Iveta Ditte Jurčová – The Emperor of America)
- Nomination in The Best Stage Design – Dosky Awards 2018 (Katarína Caková, Iveta Ditte Jurčová – The Emperor of America)
- Nomination for the Grand Prix of the New Drama / New Drama 2019 (Martin Pollack – Michal Ditte: The Emperor of America)
- Prague Quadrennial – project Miracles as representative of the national Slovak pavilion of the international exhibition at Prague Quadrennial in 2019
- Special Critic Award for The Visual Concept – festival Nová dráma / New drama 2019 (Katarína Caková, Iveta Ditte Jurčová – The Emperor of America)
- Nomination in The Best Play of the Season– Academy of Theatre Creators Award 2019 (Michal Ditte – Iveta Ditte Jurčová: Pastoral Symphony)
- Nomination in Best Stage Music – Dosky Awards 2019 (Ivana Mer – Cristian Estrella – Pastoral Symphony)
Productions of Poton Theatre have been showcased on several Slovak and international theatre festivals, for example:
- Internationaler theater treff, Germany
- Jiráskuv Hronov, Czech Republic
- Kopřiva, Czech Republic
- Cairo international festival for experimental theatre, Egypt
- Zdarzenia – Tcew, Poland
- Street for Art Praha, Czech Republic
- Divadělní svět Brno, Czech Republic
- Divadelní Třebíč, Czech Republic
- Dream Factory Ostrava, Czech Republic
- Saint Nectaire Vallé Verte Festival, France
- Medzinárodní festival Divadlo, Czech Republic
- Divadelná Nitra, Slovakia
- Nová Dráma/New Drama, Slovakia
- Dotyky a spojenia, Slovakia
- Akademický Prešov, Slovakia
- IETM BRATISLAVA, Slovakia
- KIOSK, Slovakia
- Veľká inventúra, Slovakia
- USE THE C!TY Košice, Slovakia
- Festival divadiel strednej Európy, Slovakia
- Embargo, Slovakia
- Divadelný Spiš, Slovakia
- 7 dní – 7 nocí, Slovakia
- Žilinský literárny festival, Slovakia
In 2009 Poton became an art centre purposely operating outside urban areas, on a periphery – in a village Batovce. Since 2008 Poton operates as one of few independent culture and art centres in Nitra region, but it is the only one located in a village. Poton also holds singular place as the only Slovak professional theatre located at a countryside. Creation of cultural and artistic space outside the capital city or other Slovak towns was a challenge accepted by founders because of their common belief, that art has the potential to encourage critical inquiry of complex contemporary issues, inventive solutions, and new ways of thinking. Creation of cultural space on the periphery was also a chance to connect artists and artistic organizations with local communities.
Poton acts as a cultural and creative centre whose aim is to positively affect the local community, in the sense of promotion of positive values, reflection on important social issues, sensitization of audience, support of community cooperation.
Founders of Pôtoň give special attention to educational projects. These projects associate art with other fields (sociology, history, philosophy, civic activism) and they focus mainly on an audience education and a development of critical thinking of young people. One of these projects is Misery in Slovakia, that Poton has been organizing since 2013.
Misery in Slovakia is Poton´s original educational project which focuses on current social topics and develops critical thinking and empathy of young people – high school and university students. It consists of series of whole-day events that feature creative workshops, discussions, theatre performances, live libraries and lectures.
Since 2013 almost 2000 young people participated in this project. In 2015, Misery in Slovakia won the Orange Foundation Award in 2015 in the category “Education”. It was rewarded for innovative and creative solutions to important social topics in the field of social inclusion and non-formal education.
Misery in Slovakia calls for active engagement, solidarity, tolerance and willingness to understand social problems in wider contexts. The general aim of the project is to promote acceptance of what is different and help social inclusion of a minority groups.
Each series of Misery in Slovakia focuses on a current social issue. Between 2013 and 2021, Misery in Slovakia has put its focus on the topics such as:
- 2013 – Poverty
- 2014 – 2015 Racism and discrimination of Roma people
- 2016 – Conflict in Ukraine – How far is to from Slovakia to Ukraine?
- 2017 – Xenophobia and Marginalized groups
- 2018 – Migration
- 2019 – 2021 Human Rights, Xenophobia, Migration
Each year, Poton offers its space for 10-20 artist residencies for approximately 50 professional contemporary artists per year. Since 2008 there have been more than 1100 artists working in village Batovce, coming from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Palestine, Russia, Hungary, Israel, Iran, England, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mexico. The building of Poton Art Centre provide more than 1500 m² of working space for artists and full audio, lightning and projection equipment.
Poton Art and Culture Centre invites artists of all art disciplines, as well as art theorists and critics. Artists are offered production, technical and PR support and they are also encouraged to present their work during an open and public presentation and/or exhibition.
Residencies in Poton Art & Culture Centre are sought out by artists who want to escape from the hectic world of cities. Being located in countryside, Poton offers a calm and intimate space for reflection and concentration on creative process.
Theatre Poton and Art Centre offers 3 residency programs.
The Incubator residency program is intended for artists and the art teams who are in the preparatory phase of art project and won´t finalise their project during their residency. This program offers free accommodation, workspace, production and PR service. Artists are responsible for their material costs, travel and meal expenses.
The residents are obliged to do one activity with local community, for example a workshop with children from local primary school or an activity with seniors.
The residents finish their residency with a public presentation of their work in the phase called work-in-progress.
The Accelerator residency program is intended for artists and the art team who are in the final phase of art projects. Artists are provided with free accommodation and workspace, including the required equipment, fees for artistic performance, production service and PR service. Artists are responsible for their material costs, travel and meal expenses.
The residents are obliged to do one activity with local community, for example a workshop with children from local primary school or an activity with seniors.
Art projects must have their first official performance (premiere, opening, vernissage etc.) at the end of the residency in the Poton Theatre and Art Centre.
The Creative Asylum
The Creative Asylum residency program is intended for artists and art groups that need space and technical background for their work. Artists pay a symbolic fee and they are not obliged to present their work publicly and to prepare an activity for the local community. The Creative Asylum program is charged at
10 euros per person per day in the study workspace
15 euros per person per day in the work area of the large hall
Residents are provided with accommodation and workspace, including the required equipment, production service and PR service.
Since 2016 Poton has been participating in Erasmus+ Youth Exchanges projects. Firstly as a partner organisation, but in 2018 Poton has decided to lead its own international youth exchange projects. Those exchanges are dedicated to young artists aged 18 – 30, who come to Batovce from different European countries to experience work in international team, explore current pressing social issues and reflect on them artistically.
In 2019 Poton organized its first youth exchange called In Memoriam: Word. In summer 2020, due to development of pandemic situation, the second youth exchange called In Memoriam: Human had to be moved to summer 2021.
In memoriam: Word
In Memoriam: Word was an exchange project initiated and coordinated by Pôtoň Theatre in 2019. Project involved 4 partner organizations from Czech Republic, France, Romania and Palestine. The aim of the project was to bring together 30 young people from 5 countries that would work together on artistic reflections on the topic of freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
The project had the ambition to look for connections between art, education and civic activation of young artists. The intention of the project was to work with in particular current issues of freedom of speech and its suppression, following the tragic stories of journalists, it also wanted the project bring the subject to the public and young people through art. Project In Memoriam: Word wasn’t just artistic exchange, but also a creative space in which young people could freely manifest their views and attitudes and look together for ways to reflect on socially important topics in their future artist work. Through discussions with journalists, artists, through professional lectures and art workshops, project participants gained a great deal of new information, skills and competences on how to work artistically and how to express their views and attitudes.
The result of the project was the premiere of 5 new works of art, which were a unified manifesto of young artists from the participating countries. There were 4 multi-genre performances and 1 radio show.
- Dafa Puppet Theater, Czech Republic
- Asociația BÁBU, Romania
- Euroculture en Pays Gentiane, France
- Al-Harah Theater, Palestine
Supported by: Erasmus +, Slovak Arts Council
Since 2019 Poton holds a Quality Label to act as a hosting organisation for the volunteering projects happening under European Solidarity Corps.
Between March 2020 and February 2021 Poton hosted its first volunteer. Jan Niemczyk came from Poland for 12 months to join our team and participate in our activities of art centre and theatre, and as well to lead his own projects.
The aim of the project was to strengthen his work prospects, personal and professional development, to provide him with the space to acquire new skills and competences in the fields of art production and creation, event management, technical skills, cooperation on international projects and work with children.
The presence of the volunteer strengthened the connection of our centre with the local community thanks to his own projects:
Summer Daily Camp Impulse for children of Batovce and surrounding villages, which consisted of series of sport, creative and movement activities prepared and organized by Jan
Creative workshops led by Jan till February 2021 both in ordinary and virtual form for children of secondary school of Batovce.
WE ARE OPEN FOR NEW VOLUNTEERS!
Between 2021 and 2023 we would like to host another 5 volunteers. We are looking mainly for artists, art technicians or young people interested in marketing, event-management, production management, community work, education of children and coordination of international projects.
If you are interested and want to be a part of our team, don´t hesitate to contact us on skojcova(at)poton.sk
Promotion and presentation of professional Slovak and foreign contemporary art
Through the whole-year project Centre of Arts and Creativity Poton promotes and produces dance and theatre performances, audio-visual works, music, visual exhibitions, new media works.
Development of projects for non-formal education of children and youth
Part of Poton Theatre´s main role is to develop different projects focused mainly on youth, that contain arte-therapy, discussions, creative workshops, live libraries and various methods of non-formal education. The most significant of these projects is Misery in Slovakia (Psota na Slovensku – original title), which consists of several whole-day long events for students of high schools and universities.
Besides its own performances, Poton offers its space for approximately 15 artist residencies for more than 50 professional contemporary artists per year. Since 2008 there have been more than 1100 artists working in village Batovce, coming from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Palestine, Russia, Hungary, Israel, Iran, England, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mexico. Building of Poton Theatre provides more than 1500 m² of working space for artists and full audio, lightning and projection equipment.
In the last years Poton focuses on projects with international presence. Poton has been leading or participating on various co-productions with foreign partners. The most noticeable international projects are:
- Equinox (2013) / FRANCE, MEXICO, SLOVAKIA, HUNGARY
- Military name Rama (2017) / UKRAINE, SLOVAKIA
- In Memoriam: Word (2019) / SLOVAKIA, PALESTINE, FRANCE, ROMANIA
- House on the Border (2019) / HUNGARY, SLOVAKIA, CZECH REPUBLIC, POLAND
- Swing Heil! (2020) / CZECH REPUBLIC, SLOVAKIA
International theatre coproduction with Horacke Theatre of Jihlava, Czech Republic (Premiere: March 2021)
In memoriam: Human
International Erasmus+ Youth Exchange for young artists from Slovakia, France, Palestine and Jordan (July 2021)
Theatre production on ecological disaster in village Horne Opatovce (premiéra: september 2021)
Artist Garden (working title)
(March – September 2021)
Resurrection of Miracle: Development of New Model of Art Festival in Slovak Countryside
International art project with partners from Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, supported by EEA Grants (2021 – 2022)
Currently the theatre building offers 8 single beds in 5 separate rooms on the first floor. The rooms are equipped with bathroom (shower, toilet). Residents have a fully equipped kitchen with microwave, fridge, freezer, electric kettle, stove, oven, washing machine at their disposal. There is also an open saloon available for eating, meetings and sessions. The whole building has a free Wifi connection.
The building provides more than 1500 m² of different working spaces.
The Great Hall is a classic black box theatre space which is still in the original authentic condition. It is designed as a classic theatre hall ith the stage and theatre auditorium (without elevation), balcony and stage background.
- Stage dimensions: Length – 7 m, Width – 6 m, Height – 5 m
- Hall dimensions: Length – 18 m, Width – 9 m, Height – 9 m
For those who prefer smaller and more intimate spaces there is a Studio space. The studio is dedicated and fit for smaller productions, seminars, discussion and work meetings.
It has the capacity of maximum 50 people. The space is multifunction with the possibility to do projections on one of the walls.
The studio dimensions: Length – 10 m, Width – 5 m, Height – 3 m
PC 500W (6pc), PC DTS Scena 300/500W (6 pc), PC 1000W (2pc), Fresnel Varytec 1000W (4pc), profile spots ETC Source Four Junior zoom 25-50 (3pc), Pinspot (4pc), ADJ Tripar LED profile (8pc), PAR 64 (14pc), ground-spreader statives 1,5m – 3,4m for 1 – 4 light spots (5pc) and 1,5m – 2m for 1 light spot (1pc), lightning board with 48 channels (1pc), lightning board with 24 channels (1pc), dimmer of 6 channels 2x2kW (4pc), dimmer of 4 channels up to 6kW (4pc)
Audio and sound equipment
Mixing board Behringer Europower PMP 5000 (1pc), amplifier Behringer EP4000 Europower (1pc), dynamic microphone Sennheiser E845 (4pc), microport JTS (2pc), hand microphone AKG (1pc), broadband action microphones (2pc), microphone stands K&M (5pc), pasive repro 500W JBL (3pc), subwoofer JBL JRX 218S (2pc), space monitors Work for Dolby sound (12pc), passive floor monitors Behrinher Eurolive VS1220F 600W (3pc), receivers + headphones (50pc), transmitter (2pc), portable PA Speaker System Ibiza Sound Port 10VHF-BT (2pc).
Video projector DLP 2500 lumenov (2pc), Video projector DLP 3D BenQ MX822ST Ultra Short Throw 3500 ANSI lm (1pc), LCD Projector Christie LWU501i 5000 lm (1pc), DVD player (1pc), Bluray player Pioneer (1pc), portable projection cinema screen 5,5m x 3m (1pc).
The residency takes place in the building of The Poton Theatre in peaceful rural area of the village Bátovce. The accommodation as well as the working space is right in the Poton´s building.
The village of Bátovce is in the department of Levice in the region of Nitra. Bátovce was the former royal town, today it is a village with 1100 inhabitants. In the wider area, there are several touristic possibilities (history, architecture, spa, swimming pools, shopping) – Banská Štiavnica (30 km), Levice (16 km), Nitra (60 km), Santovka (13 km), Dudince (25 km). The distance between Bátovce and the capital of Slovakia – Bratislava – is 160 km.
Iveta Ditte Jurčová
Iveta graduated from The Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava as a theatre director. She is the founder, artistic director and theatre director of the Pôtoň Theatre in Bátovce.
She is the author and lecturer of many projects in the field of theatre arts, the editor of the book 3xS – Collection of lectures about the theatre of 21st century. She worked as a pedagogue for acting at the Nitra Private Conservatory, as a methodologist for theatre at the National Cultural Center, as a member of the subsidy commission for the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic. She worked as a curator for the Slovak part of the program at the international festival Divadelná Nitra. Besides being the director of Poton Theatre, she collaborates often with several Slovak and foreign theatre stages.
In her works, Iveta focuses primarily on contemporary social topics, such as poverty, search for home, national identity, emigration, gender issues, morality etc.
Ditte Jurčová’s directorial approach is characteristic for its oscillating between realism, or even naturalism, and strong exaggeration that often results in a grotesque. The real is mixed with unreal, traditional with modern, symbolic with concrete, thus transferring reality onto the theatre stage, particularly the reality that is most problematic. The blending of modern and traditional elements is visible also in the usage of stage tools which combine puppetry techniques and the most modern information technologies. Jurčová’s productions are built on an elaborate visual concept and strong imagery which support the communication intent of the creators.
Dramaturge, playwright and project manager. Graduated from The Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava in theater dramaturgy. In 2000, he co-founded the Poton theatre, where he has been a dramaturge since 2003. After 2006, he worked as editor of Javisko magazine and as project manager of the Scénická Žatva festival in Martin. He collaborated externally with several cultural organizations as lecturer of educational activities, especially in the field of creative writing and cultural management. Between 2011 and 2019 he acted as a president of Anténa – Network for Independent Culture.
Michal Ditte is the author of several theatre plays that have been featured not only in Poton Theatre, but in other Slovak theatres as well. In addition to theatre plays, he also devotes himself to radio and television productions.
Production manager and project manager of Poton Theatre and Art Centre. She graduated in European Cultural Studies at Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica. She participated in study programs at Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne in France in 2015 and L’Université d’Été Lions en Économie in Nice in 2016. She was a trainee at Communication department for Musée Bonnard at Municipal Office of Cannet in France and Palatinum Campus in Prague as an assistant of project manager.
Since 2016 she has been collaborating with the Poton Theatre and Art Centre as a production manager. She produced shows Military name Rama, Miracles, Resurrection of Miracles, American Emperor, Pastoral Symphony and SwingHeil!. She is a project manager of Poton´s educational project Misery in Slovakia (Psota na Slovensku). She is also project manager of Poton´s international projects within Erasmus+ and EEA Grants.
935 03 Bátovce
Project Centrum umenia a kreativity supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.