KUD France Prešeren Arts and Culture Association
6 Feb 2014
Italy Trieste/Trst Slovene Permanent Theatre
Established in 1919, KUD France Prešeren Arts and Culture Association, usually called "KUD", is a not-for-profit cultural producer. At its multi-disciplinary cultural venue in the Ljubljana neighbourhood Trnovo it presented for several decades a variety of daily programmes, ranging from rock, rap, or world music concerts, theatre and puppetry performances, photography and comics exhibitions, to poetry readings and regular programmes for children.
The tradition of KUD goes back to 1919, when a local cultural and educational society was formed under the iniciative by Fran Saleški Finžgar, a writer and a priest in the nearby Trnovo church.
After 1987, KUD and its activities extended beyond the old, local framework and began supporting quality alternative or not yet established culture, devoting special attention to underprivileged groups. Housing a music/theatre hall, a gallery, and a café/bar, it remained a colourful meeting point for the local community while it also attracted – especially during August with its open-air stage – crowds of international visitors. The Trnfest Festival was complemented by the off-site project, the Emona Promenade International Street Festival in the last week of August, offering street art performances for children and adults and a number of creative workshops.
KUD was an open social space, which promotes interaction between its visitors and the people who created and produced its various programmes. Contributing to its recent history and image are some individuals and groups working permanently from KUD, such as Ana Monró Theatre, Rozinteater, Fru Fru Puppet Theatre, Kolektiv Narobov, Jani Kovačič with his Akkustik teArter, etc. as well as festivals, organised by KUD France Prešeren (see Projects). KUD also administered Ljudmila - Ljubljana Digital Media Lab.
The programme of KUD France Prešeren Arts and Cultural Association included a theatre and puppetry programme for children and adults, different performance art events, a music programme (offering concerts of different genres), exhibitions, lectures, literary readings, seminars, round table discussions, workshops, as well as a smaller publishing programme. The auditorium and the gallery offered a pleasant location and infrastructure for visits by domestic and foreign artists or groups.
Besides acting as a base for numerous established theatre institutions (Rozinteater, Kolektiv Narobov, etc.), KUD also produced or co-produced small-scale productions of emerging authors. Recently, KUD produced Elfriede Jelinek's monodrama Jackie, directed by Snježana Martinović, Bernard-Marie Koltès' The Night Just Before the Forests [Noč čisto na robu gozdov], directed by Scott Fielding, post-produced Eča Dvornik's project Alps! Alps! [Alpe! Alpe!]. The Improvisation Society of Slovenia organised at KUD various activities, including the Šila (High School Improvisation League).
KUD organised a monthly concert series (Reverse Engineering) of young, non-established DJs and VJs (also collectives), offering to the most innovative group the opportunity to release a CD and appear at the Trnfest Festival. Further, it regularly organised concerts of ethno and world music by home and international artists (Ferus Mustafov, Boban Marković Orchestra, Amala, Katalena, etc.), jazz, as well as hosts different music/theatre events (such as Jani Kovačič's Akkustik teAter). KUD acted as a base for musicians and groups, such as Dertum, Lolita, Jani Kovačič, and others, and also released several CDs (by Lolita, Tone Škrjanec and Jani Mujić, etc.).
Evenings of poetry, known as Poetry Cabarets, took place throughout the year at KUD France Prešeren. Each event was centred on a particular theme and featured one or more authors presenting their work alongside other art forms. The most acclaimed literary event was the festival Trnovo Tercets. KUD also ran a publishing programme: in the poetry series, 29 titles were published thus far, including poetry by Andrej Rozman Roza and translations of Allan Ginsberg, Tom Waits, Charles Bukowski, etc., while other titles also followed the programmatic orientation of KUD to support alternative culture.
New media art
KUD organised a weekly series of events for children, ranging from theatre, dance, and puppetry performances, music concerts, and various workshops which run under the title The Sabotages of the Dragon France. This programme hosted a number of national productions intended for children, such as productions by Konj Puppet Theatre, Zapik Theatre, Bimbo Teater and Jože Pengov Puppet Theatre. KUD France Prešeren is also the base of the Fru Fru Puppet Theatre.
The annual international Trnfest Festival was the most popular event organised by KUD France Prešeren. Taking place in August, Trnfest offered a colourful and unconventional programme of musical, theatre, dance, literature, film, and visual arts events, as well as organised different creative workshops. The Trnfest was rounded off with the Emona Promenade Festival.
Since 2002, together with the Improvisation Society of Slovenia, KUD organised the Naked Stage International Improvisational Theatre Festival.
KUD's most acclaimed literary event was the annual literary festival Trnovo Tercets, presenting home and international poets. Each year, KUD organised the Day of Poetry, an open marathon of poetry readings, where usually over 80 poets presented their work to a wider audience. The event was held on World Poetry Day.
KUD's premises incorporate an auditorium where theatre performances, concerts and children's shows could be presented, and the KUD France Prešeren Gallery with additional exhibition rooms upstairs.
Festivals and projects organised by KUD
- Naked Stage International Improvisational Theatre Festival
- Trnfest Festival
- Emona Promenade Festival
- Trnovo Tercets