Palác Akropolis, one of Prague’s most important arts venues, will celebrate a double anniversary this upcoming season: It is 90 years since its establishment and 20 years since it was reopened. A special series of events in different genres, including concerts and theatre performances, are scheduled to take place between September and June to mark the special occasion.
Palác Akropolis, a stunning Art Deco building with a colourful façade located on a steep hill on the border of the Vinohrady and Žižkov districts, was built in 1927 as a residential building with a café located on the ground floor and a theatre hidden underground. However, during communism the once lively cultural centre started to fall into disrepair. Akropolis director Lubomír Schmidtmajer says the building was in a dismal state when it was taken over shortly after the Velvet Revolution:
“During communism the building was used as a warehouse and after 1989 it had been left abandoned. We took over the building in 1992 and after the reconstruction, launched a trial operation in 1995. We have been officially opened since 1996. Sixty percent of our current repertoire consists of music and around 40 percent are theatre performances.”
Since its launch in 1996, Palác Akropolis has staged several thousand performances. While many of the music and cultural institutions established in the post revolution euphoria of the 1990s were eventually forced to close down, Akropolis has managed to keep afloat and maintain its unique position in the country’s cultural life.
“I think the main reason behind our success is the fact that we had already been running the legendary Junior Klub na Chmelnici in the 1980s and we were closely linked to the Pražská Pětka theatre and to many Czech bands. So we had a wide network of people who knew each other really well and that was a great advantage when starting Akropolis. But it is also the result of our artistic team, which keeps coming up with new ideas.”
To mark its double anniversary, Palác Akropolis has come up with a special programme called 20/90, with 20 events in various genres scheduled to take place during the upcoming season. Lubomír Schmidtmajer again:
“The nearest event is a concert by the band Kieslowski, who will celebrate their fifth anniversary. At the end of September, we’ll have a special project called Praha New York Effect, prepared in cooperation with Czech Centre New York, and we will also host a theatre performance called White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, which had a great success at the Edinburgh Festival this year. So all this is planned within the 20/90 project.”
To find out more about the upcoming programme marking the 20th anniversary of Palác Akropolis you can visit the club’s website: www.palacakropolis.cz