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Scala will not reopen in September – MU to look for new premises

The first stage of a comprehensive structural and technical survey to assess the condition of the building at Moravské náměstí 3 and Jakubské náměstí 5, which houses the Scala University Cinema and the Bolek Polívka Theatre, will take a month longer at the request of structural engineers.

A structural and technical survey is currently underway at the Scala University Cinema.

The examination of the supporting pillars revealed hidden defects that will not allow the Scala University Cinema to open on the originally announced date from 1 September.

„For safety reasons, it will be necessary to secure the supporting structures of the building with metal reinforcements. For this reason, unfortunately, the work will take one month longer. We should know the results of the first stage at the end of this September. Based on these results, we will be able to decide whether the building will be able to support the temporarily resumption of operations of the Bolek Polívka Theatre and the Scala University Cinema,” said Brno Mayor Markéta Vaňková. 

In September, Orientation Week, a welcome meeting for foreign students, is regularly held in Scala.

Masaryk University will have to look for alternative premises for teaching and other activities within MU, such as the Orientation Week, during which hundreds of newly arriving international students from Erasmus and other exchange programmes always gather in the cinema hall at the beginning of the semester. Similarly, the new year of the Children’s University (MjUNI) will lose the traditional venue for its matriculation ceremony.

The Scala cinema hall is also regularly the venue for matriculation and graduation events at the MjUNI Children's University.

„We are aware of the situation because we are in constant communication with the city representatives about Scala at all levels. The current findings mean that Masaryk University will be forced to look for its own teaching spaces towards the new academic year. In particular, the Faculty of Arts will then have to adapt its premises for the study programmes that include lectures in Scala. Other activities such as social events, conferences, scheduled cultural programmes or our partners’ events including film screenings, will have to be either scaled down or moved to other venues, either within the university or somewhere else,” said Marta Valešová, the Bursar of Masaryk University.

For instance, the student cinema series prepared by students of the Department of Film and Audiovisual Culture at the Faculty of Arts, which traditionally starts in September, is at risk. Scala also regularly hosts classes in popular courses – Art Biography, Sociology and Film, Contemporary Art and Society – and film studies students will likely miss out on special screenings.

MU partners’ events were also scheduled to take place in September – namely the Travel Cinema and Smart Talk series or the successful podcast Memory of a Nation by Dobrovský and Šídlo. The Scala University Cinema was also planned as the main screening venue and home base for the 6th edition of the Serial Killer international TV series festival. At the same time, the cinema will lose the opportunity to host premieres of several Czech films with the participation of the filmmakers. The extended shutdown will also impact the international Cybercon conference, traditionally hosted by the National Cyber and Information Security Agency at Scala.

The second stage of the building’s structural and technical survey is scheduled for January and February next year. After that, structural engineers will hand over the final report to the city representatives. According to the Brno City Hall, alternative premises for the Scala University Cinema are being sought.