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Dr. Josef Čížek Town Theatre Náchod

Alois Čenský

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)90. 's 18. century | theatrical troupe

The history of theatre in Náchod was commenced by productions  that were organized on the castle towards the end of the 18th century by theatrical troupe of Petr Biron. The director of theatrical troupe was Berlin actor and singer Wilhelm Karl Arnold.


(detail)20. century | amateur actors
Náchod amateur actors played in halls of the inn „Na Kutlofě“ (until 1857), „U zlatého beránka“  on the square, „U slunce“, and in a newly adapted hall of the inn „U města Prahy“ between 1869 and 1874. In 1875, the theatricals returned into the hall in the first floor of the inn „U zlatého beránka“, which was reconstructed in 1891  according to the design by Náchod builder Josef Martínek.
(detail)19.11.1910 | approval of construction

The municipal representative approved the construction of a theatre in the municipal council on 19th November of 1910. Political enforcement of the construction was facilitated by the fact, that the mayor at that time was the long-time director of amateur actors Dr. Josef Čížek. The architectural competition was won by the design by Prague architect Alois Čenský, who was commissioned with elaboration of a detailed project.


(detail)10. 's 20. century | construction
The construction, initiated on 22 April of 1912 and carried out by consortium of builders Černý, Novotný and Fňouk from Jaroměř and Hradec Králové, continued in a high speed up to the summer of 1913, when the carcass with plastering works was finished. The interior works were carried out  during the entire winter at the turn of 1913/1914.
(detail)1914 | opening
A cafe and restaurant were opened at the beginning of February of 1914 and the new theatre, which construction costs reached the amount of one and half a million Crowns, was handed over to public on 26th April of the same year by a rich ceremonial programme, concluded by a performance of “Jan Žižka” by Alois Jirásek.
(detail)90. 's 20. century | reconstruction
An extensive reconstruction of the theatre and hotel „U beránka“ was carried out from 1st of January of 1989 according to the design, elaborated by Stavoprojekt Hradec Králové (the author of the layout was architect Aleš Přibyl). The project was adjusted by Prague architect Martin Sedlák at the beginning of the 1990s. The reopening of the municipal theatre after the reconstruction took place on 18th September of 1994.

People

(detail)Alois Čenský |main architect

He was a very successful architect, technician, scientist, professor and dean of construction department of ČVUT (Czech technical university) at the beginning of the 2Oth century. At the same time he worked as an editor of a magazine “An architectural horizon” ( Architektonický obzor). Among his most famous buildings belong Theatre of Vinohrady (1902–7)and National house and market at Smíchov (1905–8), which are the most renown examples of Czech eclecticism.

 

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Martin Sedlák |architect
Aleš Přibyl |architect
(detail)Josef Wenig |painter

Painter, illustrator , stage designer and actor.

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Karel Novák |sculptor
Josef Pekárek |sculptor
(detail)Franta Anýž |interior designer

He was initially manufacturing  jewelry and items from iron and leather in Art Nouveau style with characteristical floral ornaments. He founded a modern iron founding firm (Anyž - later Zukov) and cooperated with significant sculptors and architects on realization of their works (Municipal house, St. Vitus cathedral). He was manufacturing illuminants, which connected  high quality of workmanship with simple shapes.

In: Prostor - AD

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History

The history of theatre in Náchod commenced with productions (operas, plays with singing and drama), organized at the end of the 18th century in the castle by a private theatrical company of its owner at that time – Petr Biron, count of Courtland and Zaháň (+ 1800).  The director of the counts’ company of actors was Berlin actor and singer Wilhelm Karl Arnold ( he used his name in the Italian version as well: Giuglielmo Carolo Arnoldi). Josef Šrůtek, a local native and office clerk of the Hradec consistory, wrote a monologue “ the Words of Czech Thalia in her first time in the town of Náchod“ for the ensemble of Náchodyouth, being presented on 16th of May of the same year.  Amateur  actors of Náchod presented their own productions in the bourg since the 1850s. They performed in halls of the inns „Na Kutlofě“ (up to 1857), in “ By Golden Lamb” on the square, in “By the Sun” and in reconstructed  hall of “By the City of Prague” in 1869 – 1874.  Amateur actors returned again to the hall in the first floor of “ By Golden Lamb” inn being in possession of Civic Credit Union. When the building came into city possession in 1889, it was reconstructed according to the designs by Náchod builder Josef Martínek at city expense  and its theatre hall was newly reconstructed. Náchod amateur actors bought a curtain with a depiction of the arrival of the first Czechs to Říp hill, painted by Mikuláš  Aleš, on the “National Czecho- Slavonic Ethnographical Exhibition” in Prague in 1895. The curtain, renovated a half century later – in 1948 – by painter Bohumil  Číla, was used for the first time in the Náchod theatre in October of  1896. The theatre became electrified in 1907, prior to that it was lit only by oil lamps.

A theatre association emerged in the last quarter of the 19th century in peripheral parts of Náchod as well: the Association “Tyl” in Plhov in 1888 and the association “Kollár“ in the Old Town in 1894. A flowering of amateur actors associations on the beginning of the 20th century caused a more intensified calling of public for a construction of a new town theatre. The representatives of the city complied with public demand for a dignified structure of the Thalia and decided upon the theatre construction on 19th November 1910 in the local authority. Political enforcement of the new theatre building was facilitated by the fact that the mayor at that time was the long-time director of theatre amateur actors Dr. Josef Čížek. The old inn “ the Lamb” was torn down in 1911 and the city purchased a neighbouring building of the hotel Letzel for enlarging the construction site. The announced architectural competition was won by the design by Prague architect Alois Čenský, who was commissioned to elaborate the detailed project.  Disagreement among local political parties broke out meanwhile; due to the incentive of the Czech National Social Party, a document was written encouraging the municipality to frugality and thriftiness. The municipal council reacted to these admonitions by decreasing the original  sum by one hundred thousand to 800. 000 Crowns by approving the final project. The construction, initiated on 22nd of April 1912 and carried out by an association of builders Černý, Novotný and Fňouk  from Jaroměř and Hradec  Králové, proceeded at a rapid rate up to the summer of 1913, when the raw building with plastering works was finished. It was worked intensively on the inner adaptations during the entire winter at the turn of 1913/1914. A cafe and restaurant were opened on the beginning of February of 1914 and the new theatre was handed over to Náchod public on 26th April of the same year by a rich ceremonial programme culminating in the performance of „Jan Žižka“ by Alois Jirásek. The construction cost of the entire structure reached the amount of one and half million Crowns.

The execution of sculpture decoration was commissioned to sculptor Josef V. Pekárek (herma by the staircase landing, allegoric reliefs in the grand hall) on the advice of architect Čenský, painting decoration in the Grand Hall was assigned at first to painter Jakub Obrovský, in the end the thematic  lunette paintings with motifs of “Music”, “Singing” and “Dance” were realized by Ladislav Klusáček, whose designs were evaluated to be more convenient than designs by Josef Špillar by the city council. Sculptor Karel Novák created putti reliefs on the balcony banister. Josef Wening created  paintings for the Minor Hall – two triptychs of Náchod history allegories. Banisters, chandeliers and other works from metal were executed by the workshop of ironmaster Franta Anýž. The town theatre, separated by an entrance vestibule from the other part of the building with hotel and restaurant „Beránek“, had a capacity of 522 seats ( 418 in the ground floor, 36 in the boxes and 68 on the balcony) and 120 standing rooms on the gallery. Apart of common maintenance works, a larger reconstruction of the building was carried out in 1939 when a new circle drop was acquired. The stage was enlarged by an annexe in 1986, to which dressing rooms and room of technical background facilities of the building were added. An extensive reconstruction of the theatre and Beránek hotel was taking place since 1st of January 1989 according to the design, elaborated by Stavoprojekt  Hradec Králové (the author of arrangement was Aleš Přibyl). The project was adjusted by Prague architect Martin Sedlák on the beginning of the 1990s. The interior of the theatre hall was given new stage technology, the original painting and relief decoration of the theatre part of the building was renovated (fresco lunettes; canvas curtain painted by Mikuláš Aleš in cooperation with Vojtěch Bartoňek and Karel V. Mašek; painted iron curtain; artificial marble; terrazzo flooring; ceramic mosaics; original lights; window walls; decorative ironwork; banisters). The reopening the city theatre after the completion of the reconstruction took place on 18th September 1994. Contemporary capacity of the Grand Hall is 403 seats, balcony has 70 seats.

 

Present state

A four storey structure containing restaurant, cafe and hotel part consist of an independently arranged volume with a coulisse of the front elevation, soberly arranged in Art- Nouveau style, (with two gables, central oriel and with two asymmetrically located balconies) and functionally articulated interior. The building is situated in the north frontage of the T. G. Masaryk Square on a moderate slope gradually ascending to the castle hillside. Technical  facility of the building is located in the basement rooms and in additionally constructed passage between the theatre part and the house of N. 75. The building ground floor has rustication. The central portal is decorated by two relief nude women and city emblem.  Tessellated inscriptions “Hotel By the Lamb” and “Cafe and restaurant” are inserted above six high, segmental  arched windows of the parterre. The field of the left gable contains a relief emblem – a lamb; the right gable of the building carries an inscription “City Theatre” between two masks. A marble commemorative plaque is attached under the right balcony of the main elevation having the inscription “ the joyous news that the Czech state has been re-established was provided here on 28th October of 1918”. The side facade of the building facing the narrow passage (the building of the deanery stands on the other side) in undecorated, only relief masks are inserted by the corners.

Interior

A wide marble staircase leads from the vestibule to the ground floor of the theatre part, to cash desks and cloakrooms, from where room of the technical background of the theatre is accessible further on. A visitor ascends form the cash desk by another staircase with the walls from artificial marble into the promenade in front of the main hall.  The promenade is connected with the side corridor leading to an entrance to the Minor Hall and to a staircase leading to the gallery. The Grand Hall of circa 300 m2   is arched by a wide lancunar ceiling, to which  chandeliers of Art Nouveau style are attached. Three entrances to the Minor Hall are located on the left side of the balcony. The east wall of the Grand Hall is broken under the balcony by high, to a semicircle rounded windows with so called cathedral glazing, decorated by ornaments with the city emblem. Allegorical paintings of Music, Singing and Dance are hanged on the opposite west wall of the hall. Richly gilded, raggedly  decorated and in yellowish tone coloured walls are encircled in the level of the first floor  along the entire circumference by a balcony, which parapet is decorated by fourteen oval stucco reliefs of putti. Entrances onto the gallery lead from the balcony. A projection booth has been installed in the rear wall of the hall on the level of the second floor of the gallery. The stage with the historical Aleš’ curtain, hanged on one of the fly bars, opens by a rectangular proscenium arch. It has the size of 14.4 m (width) and 8.4 m (depth). The reliefs Music and Drama by J. Pekárek are inserted above the side balconies on the sides of the stage along the sides of the proscenium, in front of which an orchestra pit is sunk for 25-30 musicians.  The neighbouring Minor Hall of a size of circa 120 mhas a flat, by paintings decorated ceiling. Its walls are also decorated by painted decoration in the level above the wooden cladding.

Literature:

- Max Lederer, Divadelní kultura na českém severovýchodě. In: Václav Fryček (red.), Náchodsko. K sedmdesátým narozeninám svého dlouholetého předsedy pana Cyrila Bartoně-Dobenína vydala spořitelna městská v Náchodě, Náchod 1933, s. 228-232.

- Josef Martínek, Výtvarné umění v Náchodě, in: Václav Fryček (red.), Náchodsko. K sedmdesátým narozeninám svého dlouholetého předsedy pana Cyrila Bartoně-Dobenína vydala spořitelna městská v Náchodě. Náchod 1933, s. 180 a pozn. 19 na s. 182.

- Oldřich Šafář (ed.), 60 let Městského divadla Náchod, Náchod 1974.

- Divadelní tradice Náchoda, Náchodské kulturní středisko 1983 (nestr.)

- Marie Benešová, Česká architektura v proměnách dvou století. 1780-1980. Praha 1984.

- Jaroslav Suchý, 100 let divadla na Plhově (1888-1988), Náchod 1988.

- Ladislav Hrudík, Náchod divadelní, Stopami dějin Náchodska 1, 1995, s. 44-71.

- Alexandr Skalický st., Městské divadlo a hotel Beránek, Náš čas XXXV, č. 12 (21. 3.), s. 4-5.

- Marie Benešová, Alois Čenský (1868-1954), Architekt 1998, č. 11 (květen), s. 66-68.

- Oldřich Šafář- Lydia Baštecká -Vladimír Brandejs - Libor Mojžíš, Městské divadlo Dr. Josefa Čížka a hotel U beránka v Náchodě. Náchod 1999.

- Alexandr Skalický, Náchod. Soupis a popis památek. Náchod 2003, s. 13, 31.

- Lydia Baštecká - Ivana Ebelová (eds.), Náchod, Praha 2004, s. 196-197, 223, 143-144, 155.

 

Tags: Art Nouveau, Austria-Hungary, Belle Époque, detached building, Fin de siècle, Geometric Modernism

 

Author: Pavel Panoch

Translator: Jan Purkert

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