The National Theatre in Prague commemorated on Tuesday the 125th anniversary of its re-opening in 1883, two years after it was devastated by fire. The anniversary was commemorated by the opera The Bartered Bride by Bedřich Smetana and a performance by the choir Hlahol, an ensemble with a long tradition which also re-opened the theatre in 1883. The occasion was also be marked by the unveiling of a reconstructed three-horse chariot statue on the building’s front.
Tuesday marks exactly 125 years since the opening of the National Theatre, one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic. The building was first opened in June 1881, but it was destroyed by fire and re-opened two years later, on the 18th of November 1883, to the sound of Bedřich Smetana’s Libuše. One year ago, the National Theatre launched an extensive renovation project; its first stage has just been completed. Earlier today, I asked the general director of the National Theatre, Ondřej Černý, to tell me what exactly was
The English language and international premiere of Václav Havel’s latest play Leaving takes place in London this Friday. It is part of a season focused on the former president’s work which is being organised in conjunction with London’s Czech Centre. I discussed the Havel season, and other highlights of this autumn’s programme, with the centre’s director, Ladislav Pflimpfl.
This weekend sees the 19th annual ‘Babí léto’ festival take place at Prague’s Bohnice psychiatric clinic. The festival comprises of both music and drama and, for the fifth year running, a special showcase of homeless people’s theatre. One of the acts involved in that section is ‘Bliss’ – a Czech musical theatre troupe made up of sex-workers. The group is run by the Czech charity ‘Rozkoš bez rizika’ (‘Bliss without Risk’), whose work also includes counseling, and testing sex-workers for AIDS. When I met charity head Hana Malinová, she seemed slightly
Do you want to learn something about Czech history but have only an hour to spare? Well, it’s not impossible. A group of young actors from Prague have put together a theatrical show called History of Czechs in 68 Minutes. They have been staging the play at the Disk theatre, right in the city centre, luring the viewers among the crowds of tourists heading towards the Charles Bridge.
A walk down the High Street in Scotland’s capital Edinburgh might normally present you with scenic views and the chance to buy some whiskey and woolens. But not so during the month of August, when the thoroughfare is transformed by the city’s fringe festival and, more specifically, the hundreds of performers clambering to sell tickets to their shows. Now in its 61st year, the Edinburgh fringe is said to be the biggest arts festival on the planet, attracting performers and visitors from all over the globe. This year, more Czechs are on the bill
The Edinburgh fringe is one of the biggest arts festivals in the world, with the Scottish capital more than doubling in population during the three weeks each August when the fringe takes place. Parks, churches and even public toilets are all transformed into venues, attracting performers and visitors from all over the globe. This year, five Czech theatre groups are in Edinburgh to perform at the festival. They are part of the ‘Czech Republic @ The Fringe’ season, coordinated by Ladislav Pflimpfl from the Czech Centre in London. I caught up with
Throughout June, the Czech capital Prague is playing host to the ninth annual Nine Gates festival of Czech-German-Jewish culture. Nine Gates is a combination of music, theatre and literature of the period before the Second World War, when Prague was a multiethnic, multicultural city, most of whose inhabitants were comfortable speaking both Czech and German.
'Little Otik' is topping the bill at the National Theatre of Scotland this season. The play is an adaptation of Czech animator Jan Švankmajer’s film ‘Otesánek’, which is in turn an adaptation of a Czech fairytale. The story? A childless couple carve a baby out of a tree stump, only to look on in horror as it starts to develop an appetite for human flesh. The Scottish theatre’s choice sparked controversy when it was unveiled earlier in the year. On the eve of the play’s final performance, I asked director Matthew Lenton what had attracted him to
Theatres and other state-subsidised arts institutions were celebrating victory over Prague’s City Council this week after councillors scrapped a controversial new system of awarding subsidies. The system – under which Prague’s theatres were subsidised according to the number of tickets sold – sparked a wave of protest by arts organisations and even led to angry artists disrupting a meeting of the city council.
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