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Chamber Venue Aréna

alias Theatre of Music (1951–1993)
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)20. 's 20. century | construction
The house was built according to the design by Austrian architects Franz Kaym and Alfons Hetmanek in 1928–1929.
(detail)1951 | Theatre of Music

A distinctive imprint in Ostrava culture  was left by the Theatre of Music, which came into existence in 1951. It was a branch of an institution with a seat in Prague. Until its transformation into the Chamber Stage Aréna, it had its seat in the building at the corner of the present Masaryk’s Square and 28th October Street.


(detail)1992 | Aréna company
The Aréna company with four actors came into existence in the Theatre of Music already in 1992 and its first performance was the play Pale Blue Peter that premiered on 26th October of 1993.
(detail)00. 's 21. century | reconstruction

The building was reconstructed  according to the design by the Ostrava architectural atelier IDEA in 2004–2005.


(detail)2005 | reconstruction

Conversion of a part of the house for theatre use was carried out in 2005, the interior was designed by Marcela Steinbachová in cooperation with Rastislav  Juhás.


(detail)29.9.2005 | opening
The new seat of the  Chamber Stage Arena theatre was opened on 29th September of 2005 with  a ceremonial performance of Shakespear’s A Midsummer Night's Dream. The first premier of a new play in this space was a play Closer by Patrick Marber that premiered on 8th October of 2005. The first actual premier in the new space was the introduction of the play Deceased on a Ball by Ladislav  Fuchs and Pavel  Cisovský on 27th October of 2005.

People

Vitold Sikora |architect
Alfons Hetmanek |architect
Franz Kaym |architect
Rastislav Juhás |architect

History

A distinctive imprint in Ostrava culture  was left by the Theatre of Music, which came into existence in 1951. It was a branch of an institution with a seat in Prague. Until its transformation into the Chamber Stage Aréna it had its seat in the building at the corner of the present Masaryk’s Square and 28th October Street. It is a rental house that came into existence in 1911–1913 according to the design by Viennese architect Wunibald  Deininger. The first floor of the house contained a small studio stage that emerged by modification, where for instance the Waterloo Theatre performed at the end of the 1960s. After this period, terminated by abolition of the Waterloo Theatre and criminal sanctions for its members at the beginning of the 1970s, a distinctive theatre period returned into this space under director Jaroslav Pochmon in 1986–1993. Together with actor, director and playwright Pavel Cisovský, Pochmon created a nucleus of a new theatre company with specific dramaturgy. The Aréna company with four actors came into existence in the Theatre of Music already in 1992 and its first performance was the play Pale Blue Peter that premiered on 26th October of 1993. Establishment of an independent institution with the name Chamber Stage Aréna (KSA) was approved by the Ostrava municipal council on 24th May of 1994. The new Ostrava venue premiered by a successful play the Continuous Poisoning of Blood by Radovan  Lipus and poet  Petr  Hruška that premiered a day later  on 25th May of 1994. But since the house, in which the theatre had its seat, has been  returned to descendants of the original owners in the 1990s, the young company had to search for a new seat soon.

The theatre acquired new room in the former residential house of O. Krestová that was selected for a seat of the  headquarters of the Library of the Ostrava city and the Chamber Stage Aréna. The house was built according to the design by Austrian architects Franz Kaym (1891–1949) and Alfons Hetmanek (1890–1962) in 1928–1929. The building on the corner of the 28th October Avenue and Havlíčkovo Riverbank by the well-known Ostrava bridge of Miloš  Sýkora was reconstructed  according to the design by the Ostrava architectural atelier IDEA in 2004–2005. Although the atelier designed repairs and reconstruction of the building, it did not bring about almost any creative contribution to it.  To the contrary, modifications designed by this atelier suppressed the architectural expression of the building. This is documented by the  facades with plastic fillings on windows, which are very rough, even banal as for shape, or modifications of the interior of a low quality level with shoddy details. For that the theatre was searching for someone, who would newly arrange the public area of the new stage. As a result, the Chamber Stage Arena invited Prague architect Marcela Steinbachová (1975) to design a new layout of the vestibule, staircase and foyer including toilets.

The investor’s essential request was that the interior would correspond to the needs of theatre and would represent the art character of the institution – that it would have its spirit and that its poetry would intensify the theatre experience of spectators. M. Steinbachová, a graduate in architecture by Emil Přikryl on the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, invited painter Rastislav Juhás (1969), a  graduate of Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, to cooperation and he designed a decorative coat of paint for the foyer walls. The theatre hall is arranged as a studio stage, nevertheless, paradoxically to some extent, with fixed eight rows of seats on a gradient. The new seat of the  Chamber Stage Arena theatre was opened on 29th September of 2005 with  a ceremonial performance of Shakespear’s A Midsummer Night's Dream. The first premier of a new play in this space was a play Closer by Patrick Marber that was made in coproduction with the Silesian Theatre in Opava and premiered on 8th October of 2005. The first actual premier in the new space was the introduction of the play Deceased on a Ball by Ladislav  Fuchs and Pavel  Cisovský on 27th October of 2005.

Present state

The theatre has its seat in the central section of the house N. 282. The public area is located in the ground and first floor of the building. The theatre is entered from a passage that is opened to the street by a wide glass doors. The original character of the passage is partially perceptible from the spatial impact, reinforced concrete ceiling and panelling on the sides of the passage. A rectangular entrance into the public area is opened in the central part – an access to a staircase with a cash desk and cloakroom area. The space is topped by a corbel arch with a keystone. A two-flight staircase with steps from artificial stone leads into a foyer in the first floor. Steinbachová equipped it with curtains, which covered low-quality plastic frames of window openings on the staircase area. The architect fully employed playfulness and fantasy in the foyer with a bar and seating for visitors and in the toilet area, conceived separately. The walls have been decorated by Rastislav Juhás with abstract painting. The spectators’ area has been enlarged in 2011 by glassed-in terrace to the yard by architect Vitold  Sikora (1958).

The theatre hall with a studio character and with a capacity of 100 seats was not a direct component of the architectural layout. The firm InterSono made the interior of the theatre hall including sound technology, stage lighting, spatial acoustic and mechanical devices. The whole of the auditorium and stage has a High-Tech appearance with a stress on studio character. The appearance of the auditorium is determined by a structure of eight rows of seats that are firmly fixed and separated in the middle by a connecting staircase into two symmetrical sections. It is worth to consider, if a more variable system would not be more convenient in the case of a studio stage that would enable modifications of the auditorium as well as the stage. With a regard to the fixed setting of the auditorium, the theatre measures: 7,5 m width, 5,8 m deep and approximately 6 m high, from which 3,1 m up to the fly gallery and subsequently 2,5 m up to the roof construction with lights. The stage could be equipped by six leg wings and there is a cyclorama track. Ten spot winches in three rows with electrical  control is complemented by one large movable bridge with a possibility of fly bars suspension.  A stage manager desk is located in the backstage. A sound and light booth is located in the rear section of the auditorium in the level of the second floor of the building with a good visibility to the stage.

Sources and literature:

–  Úřad městského obvodu Moravská Ostrava a Přívoz, spisovna Stavebního úřadu, katastrální území Moravská Ostrava, spis domu čp. 289 

–  JŠt [Jiří Štefanides], Divadelní budovy a sály, in: Kulturněhistorická encyklopedie Slezska a severovýchodní Moravy I. (A–M), Ostrava 2005, s. 192

–  JŠt [Jiří Štefanides], Komorní scéna Aréna Ostrava, in: Kulturněhistorická encyklopedie Slezska a severovýchodní Moravy I. (A–M), Ostrava 2005, s. 423

–  Martin Strakoš, Průvodce architekturou Ostravy, Ostrava 2009, s. 46

–  Martin Strakoš, Ostravské interiéry, Ostrava 2011, s. 124–129

 

 

Tags: chamber theatre, Contemporary era, Functionalism, Interwar period, multipurpose facility

 

Author: Strakoš Martin

Translator: Jan Purkert

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