/ enMain menu 
Navigation:  Theatre Database

Palace Theatre Duchcov

Jan Baptista Mathey

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)00. 's 18. century | construction
first theatre hall
(detail)10. 's 19. century | alteration



One of the signs that defined the majority of Baroque aristocracy as a group was its participation in the high culture, of which theatre was a natural part.  Some aristocrats very inclined to patronage and so the Baroque epoch was marked by flourishing of aristocratic theatres or rather theatre halls in their Prague and country residences.   One of them was the castle in Duchcov that belonged to the House of Waldstein in the 18th and 19th century.  They had a lot to do with the theatre culture of their era.  They built theatres  in Litomyšl (Jiří Josef of Waldstein-Vartemberk <1768–1825>), in Mnichovo Hradiště and Třebíč (Johann Vincenc Ferrerius of Waldstein<1731 – 1797> who also unsuccessfully tried to establish a venue in his Prague palace), in Kozel Castle (Christian of Waldstein) and in Duchcov Castle (Joseph Charles of Waldstein).  Kristián z Valdštejna a Josef Karel z Valdštejna na Duchcově.



Duchcov was originally a Renaissance castle that came into existence through reconstruction of a stronghold to the design by J. B. Mathey between 1675 and 1685 on the incentive of John Friedrich of Waldstein.  This building was enlarged in 1707 with two wings.  Different Classicist reconstruction between 1812–1818 provided the present day appearance to the castle.  It's possible that a theatre hall came into existence already during the reconstruction at the beginning of the 18th century, although there is no mention of it in the preserved inventories in the Waldstein archive from years 1773, 1780 and 1800.  The existence of this little theatre is documented in the sources for the year 1804 when 22 performances was staged here.  A lively social life was taking place here during this era and it passed only six years from the death of famous seducer, poet and dramatist Giacomo Casanova who was hired by Joseph Charles of Waldstein to work here as a librarian in the castle library.  He wrote a play for the nearby Castle theatre in Teplice that enjoyed eventful spa life with noble guests in that time as well.  The castle  owner organized feats, banquets, races and theatre and elite society gathered here also thanks to the fame of nearby Teplice.  Because of this circumstances, it's possible to assume that the theatre was used by the society in the castle already before, although there is no report of it at our disposal.    



The theatre hall was located in the west section of the south wing of the castle with dimensions of 19 to 6 metres and 4,5 metres of height, arched by a semi-oval vault on indented springing stone, articulated by 5 opposite sectors, in which windows are inserted at the south side.  It was divided in its third by 1 metre thick arched vault of a semioval shape that was a kind of a parallel to the proscenium arch.  In the stage section with dimensions of 6,5 to 6 metres, there were two windows on the south wall, two on the west and doors for actors into the adjacent dressing room in the north wall beneath one of the sectors.  The auditorium occupied the remaining two thirds of the space below three sections.  In the first decade of the 19th century, there were 12 large and small wooden benches, two gilded chandeliers and plank floor.



Apart of that there has been nothing preserved from the theatre, not much of archive material has been found and thus the knowledge about its history is relatively confined.  We are informed about a set of together 10 basic sceneries, a considerable number of props, set pieces, costumes, wigs and other equipment from the listing of the castle inventory from 1808.  The lack of records about fee for artists could indicate that the roles were cast by the count's  family members and his friends.   A protocol of building examination from a bricklayer and carpenter has been preserved from 1814.  From it, we are informed about the appearance of the theatre at that time.   It isn't even possible to determine the period with certainty, in which the theatre was used.  It probably ceased to exist in the second half of the 19th century in the period, in which the castle wasn't used that much.  The castle was bought by the state in 1921.  The former theatre hall serves today as a depository for paintings.   




Sources and literature:


PEŠKOVÁ, Pavla. Zámecká divadla rodu Valdštejnů v Čechách a na Moravě. Vyd. 1. Brno: Janáčkova akademie múzických umění v Brně, 2006. 144 s., [36] s. obr. příl. Výběrová řada doktorských prací. ISBN 80-86928-12-8.


HOBZEK, Josef, KOUKAL, Pavel a ROKYTA, Hugo. Duchcov: státní zámek. Ústí nad Labem: Krajské středisko státní památkové péče a ochrany přírody, 1975. 18 nečíslovaných stran, 16 nečíslovaných stran obrazových příloh. Památky severních Čech.


KOUKAL, Pavel. Státní zámek Duchcov. 1. vyd. Ústí nad Labem: Národní památkový ústav, územní odborné pracoviště v Ústí nad Labem, 2004. 29 s. ISBN 80-85036-28-2.




Tags: Palace theatre


Author: Jan Purkert

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