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Strašnice Theatre

Karel Poličanský

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)22. 3. 1957 | Final design

Approval of the introductory project, the author was the architect Karel Poličanský.


(detail)22. 10. 1958 | Construction permission issued

(detail)September 1961 | Formal completion of the building

(detail)1969 | Reconstruction

Reconstruction of the stage lighting and sound equipment, technical cabin with a window in the back wall of the auditorium  inserted into the space of the foyer.


(detail)1996 | Reconstruction

Low saddle roof placed over the original surface of the flat roof.


People

History

The project for the cultural building in the newly constructed Prague suburb of Solidarita was approved on the 22nd of March 1957. The author was the architect Karel Poličanský (The State Institute for Designing Construction of the Capitol City of Prague), the investor was the department for construction of the former Central National Committee of the Capitol City of Prague (today City Hall). The construction permission in accordance with the accompanying project from September 1958 was issued on the 22nd of October of that year, for the use of a cultural building with the name Solidarita. This contained a library and a restaurant along with the multi-purpose hall and was allowed as of September 1961. The stage lighting and sound equipment was reconstructed and a technical cabin was inserted into the space of the foyer with a window in the back wall of the auditorium in the year 1969 according to a design by the Scenography Institute. A low saddle roof was placed above the original flat roof of the auditorium in the year 1996 without interrupting operations. Construction adaptations to the stage as well as auditorium took place in the year 2006 according to a project by Jaroslav Sixta and Jitka Pfeifferová, focused in particular on the technical aspects, dressing rooms and hygienic facilities. The building was also given its current name at that time.

The theatre with all of its outlying spaces occupies the majority of the volume of the ground floor of the building, conceived with a T letter shaped floor plan. The original restaurant still functions in the northern third of the floor. The main façade looks out on Solidarity street (no. 53, land plot 1986) in a eastern direction while the back side of the street wing adjoins up to the fronts of the three-storey buildings on Brigádníků and Dvouletky streets. Perpendicular hip roofs project out over the central block space. The whole is covered by a system of saddle, pitched and hip roofs. A slightly elevated bay protrudes from the centre of the main façade whose prismatic pillars frame the entrance portal with a group of three two-leafed doors. The surface above the portal bears a figural group carried out in high ceramic relief depicting a technician, young family and a harpist (author Valerian Karoušek).

Wide ascending stairs are located in the vestibule with a trio of entrance doors along with a ramp for wheelchairs. A significant amount of the transverse  lay out of the foyer is taken up by the body of the technical cabin with the entrances to the auditorium with a capacity for 250 people along both sides. The right-angled hall with a flat floor is furnished with a moveable stage structure making a significant variability of arrangement possible (in the form of an arena by Michal David, for example, for the production of Körner's Valley of the Bees under the direction of Eva Bergerová in the 2008–2009 season). The ceiling above the auditorium is divided up into a network of rhombuses and elongated pentagons with ventilation openings. The lighting is provided by two crystal chandeliers along with walls lamps. The significantly elevated stage (120 cm) juts out into the auditorium with a wide apron, accessible by stairs from both sides.

A corridor serving as a gallery, whose show pieces are also hung on the walls to the left of the bar, leads from the foyer. An angled staircase at the south-east corner of the building leads down to “Auerbach's Celllar”named after a performance of Goethe's Faust directed by Jan Novotný which employed the space in a production. This is a small hall for thirty people. It is equipped with several stage props with modest lighting and several moveable walls for stage productions. There is also an improvised dressing room behind a textile curtain.

 

Sources:

- Stavební archiv úřadu městské části Praha 10

- www.strasnickedivadlo.cz

 

 

Tags: Communist Czechoslovakia, Culture house, Socialist realism

 

Author: Jiří Hilmera

Translator: David Livingstone

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