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Theatre in Řeznická

Antonín Žižka

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1937 | Stavba / construction
The theatre in Řeznická Street is located in a very small cellar room of a Functionalistic block of flats built according to the design by Antonín  Žižka from 1936–1937
(detail)70. 's 20. century | reconstruction
The basement of the building was converted into the Club of the Company of Services for Young in 1975. Due to excessive noise, the club was closed down in 1979 and its reconstruction commenced, which should have soundproofed the space. Because the space was  not sufficiently  insulated even after this reconstruction, the music club became the theatre University Club in Řeznická.
(detail)1980 | opening

Theatre in the proper sense of the word started to be played in Řeznická not until 1980. The repertoire was originally opened to a variety of activity especially in the first seasons, no stable repertoire existed. During its evolution, the theatre was gradually professionalized, but still without its own company.


People

Antonín Žižka |main architect
Z. Tichý |architect

History

The theatre in Řeznická Street is located in a very small cellar room of a Functionalistic block of flats, built in the location of a late Empire style gallery house with a famous restaurant named V Chaloupce. The present building was built according to the design by Antonín  Žižka from 1936–1937 for Ureš spouses. There was a pension and hotel Chaloupka with a restaurant in the ground floor and a bodega in the basement. The building has a three wing layout, the front wing of the basement originally served as a dancing floor. Guerrilla units were accommodated in the house during the Prague uprising, later the people returning from the concentration camps. The state established here a school hostel in 1948 and later a university dormitory for married students. It was conveyed to the Charles University in 1959, which had owned it until 1993, when the Municipal Court in Prague returned the property back to the original owners.

A youth club was established here gradually since the beginnings of the 1960s in the basement of the structure that became professionalized to a music club in the 1970s. The most famous group that played in the Řeznická was Jazz Celula of Laco Deczi.

The basement of the building was converted into the Club of the Company of Services for Young in 1975. Its hall was located in the street wing, the stage was on the opposite side then it is today. The club was conveyed to  the Management of Utilitarian Facilities of the Soviet Union of Young (SSM), where it remained until the abolition of SSM in 1990. Due to excessive noise, the club was closed down in 1979 and its reconstruction commenced, which should have soundproofed the space; it was designed by Z. Tichý. Because the space was  not sufficiently  insulated even after this reconstruction, the music club became the theatre University Club in Řeznická. Small modifications  in operational rooms were carried out in this time as for instance relocation of an office from the location of the present bar into the ground floor by the entrance. Theatre background was established in the rear wing – dressing rooms, buffet, social facilities.

Theatre in the proper sense of the word started to be played in Řeznická not until 1980. The repertoire was originally opened to a variety of activity especially in the first seasons, no stable repertoire existed. In the beginnings, companies of the so called Prague Five that were unknown at that time performed here, the stage was used a lot by students of Theatre Faculty of Academy of Performing Art (DAMU) for their projects and the space was opened for various amateur groups. During its evolution, the theatre was gradually professionalized, but still without its own company. Today,  Řeznická provides space especially  to the actors of the big theatres, who long for a more immediate contact with spectators. Recently, it abandons co-productions with agencies and becomes the only producer of its performances. 

The Municipal House was an organizer for a short time between 1990–1993, afterwards the property was given back to the original owners, who have been maintaining the theatre here until the present day. Since 1994, the organizer is the Municipal District of Prague 1. The allowance organization Theatre in Řeznická was abolished at the end of 2007 and the theatre exists as a beneficial company ever since the following year. The Theatre in Řeznická is a studio stage in the basement with an auditorium only for 72–81 spectators. Instead of elevation, steps are installed in the hall. The size of the stage, that is delimitated by one wing of the building, is 5 × 7 m, a foyer is directly adjacent to the stage, that is accessed from the ground floor of the building through stairs. A theatre bar is a component of the space. The total capacity of the theatre for various social events is circa 100 persons. Apart of this main area, the theatre uses also a rehearsal room that is located in the opposite building.

The theatre offers its space for press conferences, presentation of the firms and their products, social events with clients, parties for employers, cultural evenings of firms, christenings of literary and musical publishing, castings and auditions, rehearsals, workshops etc.  

 

Sources and literature:

–  Úřad městské části Praha 1, archiv Odboru výstavby, spis domu čp. 662

–  Almanach Divadla v Řeznické 1981–2001, Praha 2001

–  www.reznicka.cz

 

Tags: basement theatre, Functionalism, Interwar period

 

Author: Markéta Svobodová

Translator: Jan Purkert

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