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Soběslav Culture House

František Krásný

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Important events

(detail)1879 | THEATRICAL ASSOCIATION

The Association of Amateur Actors in Soběslav was founded in 1879.


(detail)1881 | opening

The Association produced its performances until 1880 mostly in a hall of the inn „U Beránků“, it moved into the areal of the municipal brewery in the spring of 1881 respectively at first into the brewery inn, with which further theatrical activity is inseparably connected up to the present days.


(detail)1919 | Project

A fund for gathering finances for construction of a permanent  theatre was set up in the year of the emergence of the independent Czechoslovakian state  and builder Bárta elaborated the designs for this purpose a year later. The Theatrical Association resigned soon on this intent due to undue expenses. 


(detail)1929 | reconstruction
The theatricals decided in 1929 that they would reconstruct the building according to the design by Prague architect František Krásný.
(detail)00. 's 21. century | reconstruction

The theatre was completely reconstructed in 2000-2001.


People

History

The theatre tradition in Soběslav goes back to the times of the Middle Ages, when school plays are supported by documentation (a record about  enacting a play, called “Susanna” exists for the year of 1528). The first amateur theatre production was performed here in 1844 according to the tradition. More specific reports about theatrical activity are related to the period after the year 1860, when a stage was erected in the city by students, who used to perform here occasionally up to 1867, when the student amateur troupe “Svakov” came into existence. Soběslav craftsmen founded their theatrical association in the same year, their society was dissolved immediately in the next year by official interference ( “unauthorized association” was stated as the reason for this) and its chairman was given an exemplary punishment including a two week long imprisonment by the regional court in Tábor. The devotees of theatre were not to be discouraged from their activities, they performed further on and they united themselves in the newly founded Theatrical Association in Soběslav in 1879. They produced their plays until 1880 mostly in a hall of the inn „U Beránků“, they moved into the area  of the municipal brewery in the spring of 1881,  respectively at first into the brewery inn, where a stage had been erected (the first play was performed on 20th of May). The building of the brewery, with which further theatrical activity is inseparably connected up to the present days, was originally a castle belonging to Rosenbergs from the 14th century. In 1611, it was passed  as a heritage of Petr Vok of Rosenberg into possession of the Czech Brethren, who established a school in it.

In the period after the Battle of White Mountain, the building served as a corn granary at first, one part of it was converted into a brewery in 1670. Room of the former school of the Czech Brethren served as a storage room, it was rebuilt by the brewery in 1805 and in the mentioned year of 1881, the National Tavern with a large hall, where the amateur actors erected their stage that was rebuilt into new appearance in 1888, was set up in its location. An extension with operational background was attached to the rear part of the hall, behind the stage in 1890: a store room (props room) in the ground floor and a pair of dressing rooms in the first floor. The activity of the theatrical association was  at a standstill before 1905, only Edmund Chvalovský, a former (pensioned) member of the Prague Provisional Theatre and the National Theatre, who moved to Soběslav, got the theatrical out of the lethargy. Thus Chvalovský became a leading person of the theatrical association for the period of the first quarter of the 20th century (subsequently, the Association was renamed in his honour to the “Theatrical Association Chvalovský”. A fund for construction of a permanent theatre was set up in the year of the emergence of the independent Czechoslovakian state – 1918- and builder Bárta elaborated the designs for this purpose a year later. The Theatrical Association resigned soon on this intent of a new theatre building due to excessive expenses.  The Association repaired the exterior of the “theatre” part of the former brewery in 1922 (another repair of the outer appearance was carried out in 1937) and the theatricals decided in 1929 that they would reconstruct the building according to the design by Prague architect František Krásný. The reconstruction commenced already in the following year, by which the existing extension with dressing and props rooms was torn down and was replaced by an extension of a high stage part; its costs reached the amount of 400 000 Crowns; the total capacity of the auditorium was 450 seats. The theatre was completely reconstructed in 2000-2001.

 

Present state

The volume of the former brewery, complex in the plan (approximately in a shape of two wings, laid perpendicularly to each other, but differently graduated  in height and in volume), was founded in 1628, as states the year on a stepped head of an arched  gateway into the yard. The ground floor of a two storey building and some of its corners are highlighted by dark toned banded rustication. The rest of the facade flats is covered by smooth, creamy bright plaster. The front facade gable carries inscriptions RENOVATUM Primo anno: MDCXIV, Secundo anno: MDCCCV, repaired: 1881-1922-1937-2001. Oblong windows in the level of the first floor have discharging arches, windows of the second floor have square shape ( all the windows were replaced by plastic ones by the last reconstruction of the building). The silhouette of the building is topped by prismatic volume of the fly loft, which casing is articulated by bands of a sort of fake blind arcades in the upper part on all the sides (several shallow recesses, closed in a semicircular shape).

Interior

The entrance vestibule of the theatre is located in historic  room, adapted in a modern manner, in the ground floor of a former brewery (low vaults with crests). A multi flight staircase with a steel banister leads a spectator to the level of the second above ground storey. The main entrance to an oblong hall, used for theatre productions (with dimension of 16,5 x 10,55 m) with a flat parquet floor and the height of circa 7 meters is inserted on the side. Room of the vestibule is set against the entrance by three rectangular openings with a pair of prismatic pillars, covered by timber, with a hint of capitals in a shape of embossed bands, above it all, a side balcony with parapets, moulded in a moderately convex shape with vertical pattern of a swell box shape, is spread in the level of the first floor being divided into three bays by prismatic columns. The parquet circle in the first floor above the rear part of the hall is composed of rows of seats, inserted onto three steps. The capacity of the auditorium is flexible, the parquet could be used for dance lessons, ball events or for free distribution of seats and tables by conference events. The maximal capacity is 530 persons when  completely  occupied (from which is 504 for sitting). The flat ceiling of the hall is filled with a set of convex lights. The proscenium arch is of an oblong shape, slanted in the upper corners, being framed by a textile curtain, the rear part of the stage has a horizontal drop. The painted curtain depicts a romantic veduta of the city with fortifications and an entrance gate, the dominant of the city church, city crest and an  inscription band with highlighted dates 1390 and 1750. One enters into a moderately increased level of the minor hall, serving for refreshment, after three stairs.

 

Literature:

- Alfréd Javorin, Divadla a divadelní sály v českých krajích. I. Divadla. Praha 1949, s. 278-280.

- Jiří Hilmera, Česká divadelní architektura. Praha 1999, s. 107. 

 

Tags: Austria-Hungary, Culture house, detached building, Interwar period, multipurpose facility

 

Author: Pavel Panoch

Translator: Jan Purkert

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