A new student-led initiative in Prague, Czech Republic, has spoken up about discriminatory behaviour at The Academy of Performing Arts theatre faculty (DAMU) and beyond. Using anonymous campus testimonies, it gives voice to impacted students and the necessity to create a 'new normal' which prioritises gender equality.
In April 2021, a group of students under the name of YOU DON’T! HAVE TO ENDURE IT used an anonymous survey to ask theatre students of DAMU and The Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts Brno (JAMU) about their experiences within these institutions. The ensuing testimonies bear witness to, and form a picture of, a problematic inner world of prestigious theatre schools.
Collected statements were publicly read out on Tuesday 29th June 2021 at 18:00 in front of the DAMU entrance in Karlova Street. A provisional live stream of the performance, shared across the group’s social media networks, amassed nearly 6,000 views within two days of the event. The number of views continues to grow, with the Instagram stream and official recording on YouTube now collectively passing 30,000 views. YOU DON’T! HAVE TO ENDURE IT’s efforts on social media were supported by a number of high profile industry names, including National Theatre Prague, Havidlo Brno and National Theatre Brno, alongside numerous currently enrolled students, graduates and theatre professionals.
The full recording of the live performance can be watched online on YouTube. The group is currently in direct communication with representatives of DAMU, and will update the public on ongoing proceedings via an official Instagram account. Information will also be shared on DAMU’s website, where reactions of different department members may also be found.
YOU DON’T! HAVE TO ENDURE IT says in an official statement:
"We believe that the behaviour normalized on our campuses and considered acceptable, is in fact, unacceptable. We often witness discrimination against students based on their gender, an abuse of power by those in teaching positions, and an overstepping of boundaries which leads to subsequent psychological harm. Students sometimes discuss these issues among themselves, yet they are often not voiced out loud and in public - and when they are, they are often trivialised.
Coincidentally, in recent weeks, issues around similar behaviour in arts colleges have begun to resonate across the general public and in the media. Given this shift, we feel now is the time to make our voices heard, share these testimonies and contribute to a public discussion.”
CLICK HERE to watch the full recording of the live performance (in Czech)
CLICK HERE to follow campaign updates (in Czech)
CLICK HERE for updates shared on DAMU’S website (in Czech, English translation available on site)
CLICK HERE for an official statement from the Dean of DAMU (in Czech, English translation available on site)
CLICK HERE for further updates reported by iROZHLAS (in Czech)
For further information concerning YOU DON’T! HAVE TO ENDURE IT, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.