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Town Theatre

Alexander Graf

alias Regional Workers' Theatre Most (1951- 1960), Theatre of Workers Most (1960- 1982), Theatre of Workers in Most (1948/49), Regional Krušnohorské Theatre Teplice - Venue of the Theatre of Workers (1949 — 51)
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1910 | construction
The theatre in Most was built over the years 1910-11 according to a design by Alexander Graf.
(detail)30.9.1911 | opening

(detail)22.10.1982 | demolition


(detail)Alexander Graf |main architect

A co-worker of the atelier Fellner and Helmer. He employed the proven Renaissance-Baroque style as was usual in the atelier Fellner and Helmer in most of the small city theatres he built in various parts of the monarchy. By the other buildings, he did not take great delight in experimenting  as the buildings have the form of the Italian or German Renaissance and are ornamented with Baroque motifs.

More theatres

Julius Schmiedl |architect - participant of the competition
K. H. Göttlich |architect - participant of the competition
Marcel Kammerer |architect - participant of the competition
(detail)Rudolf Krausz |architect - participant of the competition

Worked in atelier Hellemer and Fellner, favoring the style of Baroque revival architecture in early period  , in course of time shifting to Functionalism. 


More theatres

Ludwig Tremmel |architect - participant of the competition
Karl Franz Dorfmeister |architect - participant of the competition
Rudolf Truksa |architect - participant of the competition
Adolf Schwarzer |architect - participant of the competition
Otto Reinhard |architect - participant of the competition


In the first decade of the 20th century, Most was a city with roughly 25 000 inhabitants mostly of German nationality.  Culture needs were partially saturated by amateur theatre in the inn By the Blue Star for Germans and in the inn By the Green Tree for Czechs.  The city council decided to build a new theatre already in 1902.  During the next year, a theatre association (Theaterverein) was established, but the issue gradually faded away.  The subject of controversy was as location of the new structure as well as its size and character.  The effort was resumed in 1909 when the city council first decided to donate a building plot for free.  A theatre committee with the mayor in its head launched its activities, being composed of representatives of the city, theatre association and saving bank along with members of the city building section.


An architectural competition was announced on 21st April of 1909 for German architect from Austria only; 20 designs were eventually submitted to it.  Its building program laid an emphasis on cheap seats and large number of standing rooms without many boxes and simple but decent and tasteful appearance.  The jury determined that the best designs were those by Rudolf Truksa, Adolf Schwarzer with Otto Reinhard and M. Kraus, other two designs were recommended to be bought and one for granting an honourable mention.  At the same time, they stated that none of the designs is suitable for implementation.  Also architects K. H. Göttlich with J. Schmiedl or Marcell Kammerer participated on the competition with their designs.  The jury also recommended to contact one of the theatre experts for he would work out new design, for instance Max Littmann. The conclusions of the jury caused protests as among the competition participants as among the members of the theatre committee.  The winners of the competition and also Alexander Graf were called upon reworking their design in such a way that they incorporate the remarks of the jury.  After ensuing twists, the design by Alexander Graf was eventually accepted in January of 1910 and some elements from other designs were probably incorporated in it as well.


The detailed design was submitted to the local authority that approved it in April of 1910. In May, the construction was assigned to local builders Ferdinand Wurm and Karl Hinke, after which ceremonial excavation of foundations begun on 30th of May.   The building plot provided by the city was a marshy meadow and so the foundations had to be fixed with 300 concrete piles. 30. října 1910 byl pvrch narovnán. After it was roofed in 1911, the works continued in the interior.  The total costs reached 560 000 Crowns.  The theatre was ceremonially opened on 30th September of 1911 at first with Beethowen's overture  Consecration of the House and after that by the play Karlsschüler by Heinrich Laube. 


While the previous design by Graf of the theatre in Ústí nad Labem was carried in the Neo-Baroque spirit, this self standing building was constructed in the style of Classicising geometric Art Nouveau.  The distribution of volumes of the whole building was spread roughly on an H-shaped plan. A central three bay projection protruded from the main elevation and was flanked by fluted pilasters, culminating in an Art Nouveau gable with an  embossed relief with a city crest supported by child figures.  It had rectangular windows in the first and oval ones with rich stucco framing in the second floor.  Apart of the main entrance, there were other entrances on its sides.  The volume of the central sector was topped with a hip roof with a lantern.  The wing towers of the entrance elevation contained staircases into the gallery with other entrances.  The first floor was visually separated from the second one by a cornice.  The main entrances was sheltered by a terrace of a semicircular plan being supported by four pillars and in which centre, the inscription „Stadttheater“ was plastically made and with reliefs on its parapet.  Behind the entrance, there was a vestibule, from which three entrances led into a corridor around the auditorium.  Above the vestibule, from which staircases led into a balcony, there was a foyer in the first floor, from which the terrace was accessible.


The auditorium was a proscenium theatre with a capacity of 570 seats, from which it were roughly 200 standing rooms in the stalls and second gallery.  There were eight boxes with 40 seats in the dress circle being located only on side walls.  230 seats were located in the stalls and other 100 on the balcony.  The sober decoration of the auditorium was made of geometric motifs that were repeated also at the high proscenium arch.  The entire theatre was already electrified.  The smooth connection of the balcony and gallery created an impact of unity of the space.


The theatre was a property of the city that settled a committee for oversight of the theatre operation that was composed of representatives of the city, state organizations and performers.  The committee selected the theatre director and supervised the theatre operation and adherence to the contracts.  The city was to deliver decoration sets for the theatre opening as well.  The contract included a paragraph requiring to employ only people of German ethnicity.  Until the emergence of the independent Czechoslovakia, it wasn't played Czech in the theatre, however, afterwards the Czech minority started asserting right to use the venue and so touring companies performed here until 1938.  When the Reichs' order in the summer of 1944 had closed all the theatre, the space of this building was partially used as a storeroom.


After the WW2, the theatre was reinstated and renamed in 1948 to Theatre of Working People in Most.  After a period of rotation of visiting companies, the theatre acquired its own permanent company in 1952.  From the 1960s, the entire city started withdrawing before opencast coal mining and a new city development started being constructed several kilometres nearby. As the population of the deserted city gradually decreased, also the attendance grew weaker and the last performance, the play  The fox and the grapes by Guilherme Figueiredo, was staged in December of 1979.  The building was torn down on 22. October of 1982. The former company of this theatre first played in the house Máj from 19. January of 1981 and then it moved into a new building erected to the design by Ivo Klimeš in the centre of the new Most that was ceremonially opened in 1985.



Sources and literature:


LIBICH, Miloš. Mostecké divadelní století: Městské divadlo v Mostě 1911-2011. Most: Hněvín, 2011. 263 s. ISBN 978-80-86654-32-4.

JAVORIN, Alfred. Divadla a divadelní sály v českých krajích.: 1. díl, Divadla. Praha: Umění lidu, 1949, 318 Str. 130 -131.

HILMERA, Jiří. Česká divadelní architektura = Czech theatre architecture. 1. vyd. Praha: Divadelní ústav, 1999. 319 s. ISBN 80-7008-087-6. Str. 72 -74


Tags: Art Nouveau


Author: Jan Purkert

Translator: Jan Purkert

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