The Nové divadlo (New Theatre) was officially opened in the West Bohemian city of Plzeň on Tuesday night. The modern structure with a capacity of just over 450 was built at a cost of CZK 880 million. Among those in attendance on Tuesday was actor and theatre director Tomáš Töpfer, who said it was an amazing thing that the country had received its first purpose-built theatre in over 50 years. The first performance at the Nové divadlo was of Bedřich Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride. Plzeň will be a European Capital of Culture in 2015.
Employees at the country’s highly-respected National Theatre can expect a little extra next year when it comes to their monthly paychecks. Funds, allowing for a salary rise for the institution’s employees, were agreed recently by the country’s finance minister, Andrej Babiš, and Culture Minister Daniel Herman. At the same time, it is clear that salary bump, long-term, is being seen as not enough. More
The 84th edition of the Jiráskův Hronov amateur theatre festival got underway in the North-eastern Bohemia town of Hronov on Saturday. Said to be one of the world’s oldest theatre festivals, it will feature 41 productions of various kinds, from experimental theatre to puppet shows, and over 100 performances between now and next Saturday. It is named after the locally born novelist Alois Jirásek, who was nominated four times for the Nobel Prize for Literature before his death in 1930.
This Friday allows visitors a final opportunity to take part in Za dveřmi, a street theatre festival which this week transformed Prague’s Wenceslas Square. The festival saw troupes from both the Czech Republic and abroad perform physical theatre, New Circus and much more. More
One on OneArcha’s mission to spark “unusual encounters” says founder Ondřej Hrab on 20th anniversary of theatre’s opening
In the last two decades, Prague’s Archa Theatre has firmly established itself as the country’s foremost space for alternative drama, dance and music, hosting such luminaries as Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, John Cale and Patti Smith. This month the venue is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its opening, so I caught up with the man who created Archa and is still its director, Ondřej Hrab. He told me in his youth he had hated watching plays – but chance encounters opened his eyes to a new kind of theatre. More
Sam Walters is one of Britain’s most acclaimed theatrical directors and during his four decades as artistic director of The Orange Tree Theatre in south-west London, the theatre has enjoyed an unrivalled reputation. In today’s Czech Books, he talks to David Vaughan about his very special relationship to the work of Václav Havel. More
A new production of Friedrich Schiller’s The Robbers premiered on Thursday at the Reduta Theatre in Brno. Directed by Thomas Zielinski, the production crosses 18th century Sturm und Drang with Quentin Tarantino – updating the Romantic period classic to a contemporary setting. More
Now in its 13th year, the Prague Fringe Festival brings dozens of productions from around the globe to the city for nine days of alternative drama, comedy, music, dance and more. Ahead of Friday’s opening of the colourful festival, which is centred in the historic Malá Strana district, I spoke to director Steve Gove – and began by asking him what the highlights of this year’s Fringe were likely to be. More
Prague’s Jára Cimrman comic theatre is to put on an English language version of one of its plays for the first time. Záskok by theatre stalwarts Ladislav Smoljak and Zdeněk Svěrák will be performed next year as The Stand-In in an English version sponsored by the British Council. A staged reading of the translation, which is by Brian Stewart and Emílie Machalová, will take place at the Žižkov theatre on June 20. Jára Cimrman is a hugely popular fictitious character credited with great inventions and achievements.
A group of young actors from Philadelphia in the US visited the Czech Republic last week to give a performance at the former Nazi concentration camp of Terezín. They staged I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a play based on poetry written by child inmates of the camp, at the Attic Theatre in Terezín, the very space where some of the play’s characters performed seven decades ago. More