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Theatre Na Prádle

Čeněk Vořech, František Janda

alias Jan Neruda Cinema (the 1950s), Artistic Studio (October 1926), Dada Theater (from April 1927), Theatre of Satire (1945-1948)
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1923 | Architectural design

(detail)1924 | Commencement of construction

(detail)1926 | Completion of the building

(detail)1965 | Adaptation of the concert-hall

(detail)1994 | Adaptation for recording studio

(detail)2001 | Adaptation for theatre

(detail)2003 | Reconstruction after flood
Carried out by atelirer Kava.


(detail)František Janda |main architect

Czech architect, disciple of Jan Kotěra. Designer of many regulation designs (Ml. Boleslav, Poděbrady, lázně Brestovičky a V rujacké banje v Jugoslavii) or spa buildings.


More theatres

Petr Přenosil |architect
Jiří Hranáč |architect
V Šimice |architect
Jan Karásek |architect


The playhouse is situated on the first and second underground floor of the neo-classicist hall Umělecká beseda designed in 1923 by the architects František Janda and Čeňek Vořech, and built in the period 1924-26. The playhouse was originally designed as a concert hall; however, it was also used for performances since its opening. As early as in October 1926, the theatre housed Umělecké Studio Vladimíra Gamzy (Art Studio of Vladimír Gamza), in April 1927 Divadlo Dada Jiřího Frejky was launched here. In this hall, the actors Voskovec and Werich had the opening night of their Vest Pocket Revue; and the voice-band of E.F. Burian introduced itself to the public in the productions of Jiří Frejka. In summer 1945, the theatre company Divadlo satiry formed in Pelhřimov moved to this theatre, and performed here until 1948. During 1950s, the theatre was operating as a cinema (Kino Jana Nerudy), and later it was used as a concert hall again (1965 acoustic boards designed by architect V. Šimic were installed). In 1993-94, the hall was converted into a recording studio (Jiří Hranáč provided the technical solution for this project). Another reconstruction (with the intent to use the building as a theatre) was done in the period 2000-2001. The project was designed by ing. Přenosil. An association of professional actors – Sdružení Divadla u Anděla –became the tenant of the theatre which was then named after the association. – This new stage was severely damaged by the floods in August 2002. It was reopened at the start of the 2003/2004 season after the necessary refurbishment.

You can enter the theatre from the house entrance on the right, closer to the north corner of the building. Above the entrance, there is a glass sun blind in a right-angled frame made of reinforced iron. The box office is situated on the upper landing of the stairs, on the left hand side from the entrance. Above the box office on the dripstone, there is a couple of grotesque dummies made of white stuffed cloth – one with a theatrical gesture, another one sitting and reading with her leg positioned over the dripstone. Also, there are two costume shirts, one red and one white, hanging in the black rectangle on the front wall above the descending marble staircase. On the lower landing of stairs opposite the staircase, there are doors leading to the café; and on the left from the staircase, there is a door leading to the auditorium and maintenance facilities of the theatre. There are art posters on the café’s walls which are painted in terracotta and yellow. Photographs from various productions are hung in the corridors leading to the dress circle and the stalls.

The ceiling above the auditorium is supported by four black cylinder-shaped pillars (used to be painted dark blue). There are three mobile platforms on the flat floor of the stalls, each for two rows with thirteen seats. This makes it possible to rearrange the “end on” audience seating to the theatre “in the round” (this audience seating was used for the production of The Rainmaker during 2008/09 season). There are two rows in the dress circle; and one row in each box. While the white sill of the dress circle is lowered in the middle and filled with a grills with horizontal bars; in the boxes the grilles reach down to the floor. There is also a grille on the catwalk which becomes visible when the dark curtain at the back of the stage is pushed aside.

Literature, sources:

- Stavební archiv MČ P1.

- Javorin, Alfred: Divadla a divadelní sály v českých krajích, Praha 1949; I. díl, s. 232-233.

- Vlček, Pavel: Umělecké památky Prahy – Malá Strana; Praha 1999, s. 562-564 (stať J. Hilmery a H. Čižinské).

- www.napradle.cz



Tags: Neoclassicism, Functionalism, Interwar period, terraced house, basement theatre


Author: Jiří Hilmera

Translator: Zdislava Kratěnová

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