enczsksiplhudeitsvhrespt
/ enMain menu 
Navigation:  Theatre Database
EN | CS

Chamber Theatre Plzeň

Antonín Špalek

alias cinema Univerzita (1937- 1948), cinema of Julius Fučík
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1937 | construction

A cinema hall in Prokopova Street was built in 1937 according to the design by Pilsen architect Antonín  Špalek and was located in the yard section of a four-storey functionalist building.


(detail)60. 's 20. century | conversion

In 1957, the municipal authority had a design of substitute space for a chamber stage be elaborated. The choice fell upon a cinema hall, which conversion from the beginnings of the 1960s should have been temporal.


(detail)4.12.1965 | opening

It was necessary to adapt not only the hall, but the entire building for a theatre. The conversion of the visitor’s area was designed by the atelier of the State Company Interiér Praha at that time. The theatre was opened on 4th  December of 1965.


(detail)1980 | extension

The new rooms were soon insufficient and the situation should have been resolved by another temporal extension, for which a permit was issued by the building office in 1977. The new construction was opened in 1980. Temporal, rather storage than theatre space was attempted to be revived with sculptures and building details by Karel Štícha.


People

Antonín Špalek |main architect
Karel Štícha |architect

History

The history of emergence of the Chamber Theatre in Pilsen is inseparably connected to the history of the Minor Theatre that was built in the location of the present housing in the present Goethe Street. An incentive for construction of the Minor Theatre was given in 1868, when Czech representatives won the majority over the German ones in the Pilsen municipal council. Czech representatives had succeeded in enforcing that the only Pilsen theatre at that time, built in 1832 according to the design by Lorenzo Sacchetti, would be rent to the Czech theatre company of Pavel  Švanda of Semčice for a period of six years. German supporters of theatre immediately reacted with foundation of the Deutcher Theaterverein association, which submitted an application for a permit for construction of a new theatre in the Goethe Street of that time in July of the same year. Shortly thereafter, the construction was commenced  according to the design by Prague architect Josef  Niklas  (1817–1877).

The ceremonial opening took place in October of the following year. The initial enthusiasm driven by animosity in Czech – German relations was waning in course of time and theatre was played less and less. Even lower frequency of productions occurred after 1918 and this was manifested on gradual deterioration of the theatre building. The situation improved not before the German occupation when the theatre was repaired and it became a second stage of the Theatre of J.K. Tyl. The building was in a critical state again at the beginning of the 1960s as probably sufficient attention had not been paid to it. The city wrote the theatre off finally in this period. The block of flats, in which the theatre was located, had to make way to new Socialist housing. Demolition was carried out at the end of 1977.

Already in 1957, the municipal authority had a design of substitute space for a chamber stage be elaborated. The choice fell upon a cinema hall in Prokopova Street that was built in 1937 according to the design by Pilsen architect Antonín  Špalek. The original Univerzita cinema was renamed to cinema of Julius Fučík after 1948. The four-storey functionalistic building was composed of a narrow street wing with single room flats. The mentioned hall with a cinema was located in the yard part. Its adaptation from the beginnings of the 1960s should have been temporal and served only until the adequate compensation for the Minor Theatre would be found.

However, it was necessary to adapt not only the hall, but the entire building for theatre. The ground floor originally contained a small passageway, freely accessible from the street, with shops that surrounded a staircase leading to flats in higher floors. This all perished during the reconstruction: the passageway had been closed and a vestibule, foyer and cloak rooms came into existence in its location. Another indispensable modification of the former cinema hall was an extension of the stage with a fly loft and turntable. An oblong extension was inserted along the south side of the hall wing to the building as well. Its ground floor still serves today as another space for spectators having been a smoking room and buffet before. Higher storeys serve as space for theatre administration. The original four storey building in the street wing has been utilized for the same purpose. The adaptation of the visitor’s area was designed by the atelier of the State Company Interiér Praha at that time.

 The utilization of the building is reflected on its front facade as well. The authors of the reconstruction united the ground floor of the main building and the extension with uniform stone cladding and silver inscription KOMORNÍ DIVADLO on black opaxit glass. The theatre was opened on 4th  December of 1965. The new rooms of the chamber stage were soon insufficient, another rehearsal rooms were needed, a theatre club and room for cash desks was lacked. The critical situation should have been resolved by another temporal extension, for which a permit was issued by the building office in 1977. Thereby a new construction was opened in 1980 being characteristic for the period of so called Normalization – a prefabricated  steel framework with light siding ( the system KORD Jeseník). The construction was carried out by the Building Company of the Pilsen City together with employees of the theatre within the so called „Z“ action. Temporal, rather storage than theatre space was attempted to be revived with sculptures and building details by Karel Štícha. Apart of the theatre club, we can find cash desks, ballet hall, theatre club and room of Theatre in the Club in this building.

Present state

The front elevation of the original functionalistic building with a large theatre hall is oriented towards Prokopova Street. A simple five bay facade in the ground floor is articulated by stone cladding, inscription from opaxit glass and glassed door in iron frames that lead into the vestibule behind the cloak rooms. Stone facing of the walls, iron banisters and showcase from structured glass have remained from the original furnishing from 1930s in the interior. The reconstruction from the 1960s left a wooden panelling of the vestibule walls, original iron lights and iron reliefs on the north volume of the staircase so well as a glass wall with reliefs of Comedy and Tragedy masks in the former smoking room. The period taste is also reflected in the appearance of the theatre hall with 444 seats on an oblong plan with segmental rear wall. The same shape tendencies are perceptible in a round shape of the proscenium arch, in edges of slightly bent  balcony parapet, undulated profile of ceiling facing or on the main lightning of the hall in a shape of cylindrical lights suspended from an iron grid.  

 

-----

The theatre was moved into New Theatre building in 2014. The last performance took place at 31 May 2014.

 

Sources and literature:

–  Stavební archiv Města Plzně, Stavební dokumentace budovy Komorního divadla čp. 102

–  Archiv divadla J. K. Tyla v Plzni, Stavební dokumentace budovy Komorního divadla

–  Javorin Alfred, Divadla a divadelní sály v českých krajích I, Praha 1949, s. 175–176

–  Původní kino několik let suplovalo hlavní scénu, Plzeňský deník 9, 2000, č. 39 (16. 2.), s. 2

 

Tags: Functionalism, Interwar period, yard extension

 

Author: Ludmila Hůrková

Translator: Jan Purkert

Additional information

No information has yet been entered

Add information

Name: The name will be published

Email: The email will not be published

Information: Please enter information about this theatre, at least 10 characters

fourminusthree=