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Theatre Na Fidlovačce

Alois Zíma

alias Tyl Theatre (1945 -1948), Music Theatre in Nusle (1963- 1978), Theatre Under Vyšehrad (1944-45), Theatre Na Fidlovačce (1948-1963), Tyl Theatre (1921 - 1944)
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1921 | Opening

The original wooden temporary theatre building Tylova divadla (Tyl Theatre) was built at the initiative of Stanislav Lang  in the year 1921. The structure was carried out by the architect Alois Zíma and the builder Josef Dneboský . Theatre operations began on the 5th of November 1921 with Tyl's Drahomíra, with his Fidlovačka performed on the following day.


(detail)1939 | Reconstruction

A two-storey structure with a reinforced concrete construction frame was added on in the year 1939 and carried out by Václav Müller and Václav Hlaváček.


(detail)40. 's 20. century | Reconstruction

Parts of the existing wooden dressing rooms and social facilities at the northern side were torn down in the year 1940 allowing for the construction of a new two-storey reinforced concrete annex structure corresponding in style to the previous. It was designed by Leopold Plešinger and executed by the builder V. Müller. The reconstruction of the façade front on the eastern side was realised in the year 1941 by the builder František Řežábek.


(detail)1962 | Reconstruction

Further major reconstruction to the theatre took place after transferral of the building to the property of the city over the years 1959-1962. The council of the Central National Committee of the Capital City of Prague became the investor, while the project was carried out by the Technical Institute of the City Committee of  Prague 14.


(detail)1978 | Closure to the public

(detail)90. 's 20. century | Reconstruction

The final adaptations to the theatre date from the 1990s. The twelve member Fidlovačka Foundation was established in the year 1995 as an initiative of the actors Eliška Balzerová and Tomáš Töpfer with the aim of renewing the neglected theatre. Over the course of March to September 1998 the adaptations to the theatre were successfully realised. The new interior was designed by the experienced scenographer and theatre architect Miroslav Melena.


People

(detail)Alois Zíma |main architect

Architect and builder of mainly residential houses in Prague, usually in Classicism Revival style.

Zdroj: Vlček, Pavel a kol. : Encyklopedie architektů, stavitelů, zedníků a kameníků v Čechách, str. 32, Praha 2004.


(detail)Josef Dneboský |architect

Builder in Prague.

Source: Vlček, Pavel a kol. : Encyklopedie architektů, stavitelů, zedníků a kameníků v Čechách, str.143, Praha 2004.


Václav Müller |architect
(detail)Miroslav Melena |interior designer

A stage designer, an architect and a teacher died on August 8, 2008. He studied at the College of Pedagogy in Cyril Bouda’s and Karel Lidický’s studios and later at Theatre Faculty, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague under František Tröster. In 1967 he started working as a stage designer in Ostrava Theatre of Petr Bezruč, from 1969 he worked in Liberec Naive Theatre and later on he cooperated mainly with Prague Theatre Y. In the years 1980 to 1981 he was a head of stage design in Maribor. In 1972, at Serbian Novy Sad Triennale he was awarded a winning price for a setting designed for a play The Earl Monte Christo. Among the outstanding features of Melena’s stage designs belongs blending of scene and costumes in their almost provocative variability calling up reminiscence to surrealistic performances of the 20’s. However, next to scenography Melena gradually expressed himself more and more as a theatre designer – mostly as a head of multi-member team. Thus he gave a new resemblance to auditoriums and scenes of Brno Municipal Theatre, Prague Theatre Fidlovačka, Horácké Theatre in Jihlava, Municipal Theatre in Sokolov, Brno Reduta and lastly to Semafor Theatre. All of his stages distinguish themselves by ingenious stage design, and by dispositionally functional and smart to sight, sometimes also lively colourful appearance of the auditorium. The most salient among his projects was a solution of Prague Theatre Archa where a system of movable tables which fill the whole space enables a free open arrangement of the stage and the auditorium according to individual stage designer’s needs. As an exhibition designer Melena gave a very rich inventional shape to an exhibition of his teacher František Tröster’s life-work in 1991. Melena worked as a Head of Architecture Department at Faculty of Architecture and Arts, Technical University in Liberec. His creed of a theatre architect was expressed in an article he published in a cultural weekly magazine A2 (2007, issue 24). Here he confessed his love to Classical Theatre for its perfect solution of an audience and actor relationship, but also mutual relationship among spectators and their art experience. Melena did not agree with Baroque theatre’s introduction of stage portal which he called “absorber of theatricality”. However he did not hesitate to take over from the Baroque heritage a system of boxes or side slips. He believed their implication lead to a desired contact among the audience during the performance and to reach such goal a consistent arched tract of rows were to be used. Death caught Melena by surprise in the middle of his work on plans of a new Ostrava Theatre of Petr Bezruč, New Scene of Prague National Theatre and Brno Janacek Opera. (Jiří Hilmera)

More theatres

Stanislav Lang |contractor

History

The original wooden temporary theatre building Tylova divadla (Tyl Theatre) was built at the initiative of Stanislav Lang  in the year 1921. The structure was carried out by the architect Alois Zíma (1873-194?) and the builder Josef Dneboský (1885-1941). This former municipality of the capital city of Prague granted S. Lang construction permission to build a theatre on designated land in Nusle in Prague on the 17th of May 1923. This construction permission was given for a period of thirty years. František Holan, represented by Jiří A. Sedláček, received the construction permission after Lang. Sedláček worked as the director and owner of Tyl Theatre up to its confiscation by the national administration of the Art of the People (Association for Administering Culture, Central Administration for Theatrical Organisations and Folk Entertainment) in the year 1948. J. A. Sedláček sold the theatre to the District National Committee in Prague 14 in the year 1950, which consequently officially took over the building in the year 1951.

Over the course of its existence the theatre changed its name several times: the original Tyl Theatre was changed to Divadlo Pod Vyšehradem (Theatre Under Vyšehrad) during the war years of 1944-45, after the year 1945 it became Tyl Theatre once again, only to become Theatre Na Fidlovačce over the years 1948-1963. From the 1st of July 1963 the theatre was connected in terms of organisation with the Music Theatre in Karlín with its name changed to Music Theatre in Nusle. The theatre repertoire mainly consisted of operettas. The theatre closed to the public completely in the year 1978. The theatre has once again functioned under the name Theatre Na Fidlovačce from the year 1998.

The original Tyl Theatre was established in the year 1921 as a wooden provisional structure on stone foundation walls without cellars in the western part of the park between Křesomyslova and Ctiborova streets, opposite the culmination of Závišova streets. The author of the project was the architect A. Zíma with the contribution of the builder J. Dneboský. Theatre operations began on the 5th of November 1921 with Tyl's Drahomíra, with his Fidlovačka performed on the following day.

The architects placed the axis of the building parallel with Křesomyslova street with the auditorium in the eastern part and the stage with the fly loft tower in the western part. Both of these spaces, covered by saddle roofing, were surrounded by a ground floor gallery with a single pitched roof. The gable of the western façade was used for theatre advertising. The ceiling above the auditorium was executed from 12 wooden frames, connected up with iron nails and covered by coloured jute. The iron curtain was hung on a wooden construction with two girders. The structure had to be monitored on a regular basis due to wear to the wooden construction. The theatre was expanded during the 1930s when J. A. Sedláček became the owner. A two-storey structure with a reinforced concrete construction frame was added on in the year 1939 and carried out by Václav Müller and Václav Hlaváček. It contained three dressing rooms and two offices on the ground floor and space for seamstresses on the first floor. Another two-storey annex building was officially allowed that same year, expanding the stage and dressing area on the ground floor. Parts of the existing wooden dressing rooms and social facilities at the northern side were torn down in the year 1940 allowing for the construction of a new two-storey reinforced concrete annex structure corresponding in style to the previous. It was designed by Leopold Plešinger and executed by the builder V. Müller. A gallery, two dressing rooms, social facilities, the main stairway and the side staircase to the smoking room along with the staircase to the balcony were all carried out on the ground floor part of the auditorium. The first floor of the auditorium section contained the large smoking lounge with a snack bar and a utility room, while the stage part had a lighting area, ante-chamber and the reception hall.  The wooden structure was clad on the outside with two-storey cubes with a flat roof and articulated with both strip and dual windows. An outdoor terrace was added at the northern side. The reconstruction of the façade front on the eastern side was realised in the year 1941 by the builder František Řežábek. The skeleton construction structure consisted of a vestibule, ticket office and dressing rooms, storage for stage props on the first floor and a projection booth on the second floor. The purist designed façade came about through a balancing of the Classicist form. A triangular gable and central entrance with two double-leafed doors covered by a marquise with columns were the dominant features.  The emphasis on the renewal of the central composition served to emphasise the two identical side entrances of the new annexes at the northern and southern sides. 

Further major reconstruction to the theatre took place after transferral of the building to the property of the city over the years 1959-1962. The council of the Central National Committee of the Capital City of Prague became the investor, while the project was carried out by the Technical Institute of the City Committee of  Prague 14. The internal core with the wooden frames was left intact, however, the Classicist composition of the structure was disbanded. The central entrance was replaced by two side entrances uniting the new terrace and the inserted access stairway. A new building came about on the southern side with its reinforced concrete construction at a higher height than the older annex and containing a ballet hall on the first floor. The inscription “Na Fidlovačce” was placed on both the northern and western façades of the building. New ceilings, flooring and a granite staircase were carried out in the foyer. The western entrance in the direction of the stage was adapted for bringing and taking away decorations. A reception area, passageway and tunnel, along with new dressing rooms, was established.  Two stairways (a northern and southern) in the stage area served to connect up the theatre with the administrative parts and the dressing rooms on the first floor with the prop storage and workshops in the cellar. The stage was expanded with an additional part of the sky loft of a reinforced concrete construction and supplemented by lighting from bridges. The theatre was closed to the public in the year 1978.

The final adaptations to the theatre date from the 1990s. The twelve member Fidlovačka Foundation was established in the year 1995 as an initiative of the actors Eliška Balzerová and Tomáš Töpfer with the aim of renewing the neglected theatre. Over the course of March to September 1998 the adaptations to the theatre were successfully realised. The construction changes primarily involved the inner space of the theatre (the auditorium, foyer, adjoining corridors) with only conservative changes carried out on the building façade. The new interior was designed by the experienced scenographer and theatre architect Miroslav Melena (1937-2008), graduate of the Faculty of Theatre of the Academy of Performing Arts under František Tröster and the author of a range of theatre halls – Archa Theatre in Prague, Horácké Theatre in Jihlava, Reduta in Brno, the Theatre in Sokolov as well as a number of puppet theatres abroad in Ljubljana, Zadar and Zagreb.

The author originally planned a wooden construction of the arena type in the first variation design for Theatre Na Fidlovačce. During the construction work, however, an essential change took place. In light of the small amount of seats in the auditorium, the project was altered with Miroslav Melena consequently carrying out the auditorium with a steep elevation. The reconstruction work was carried out from March to September 1998.

Present state:

The theatre is entered from the eastern side. Visitors reach the side corridors of wooden construction leading to the dressing rooms through the entrance foyer containing the box office. The auditorium presently consists of steeply placed wooden  seats with loges on the sides. The ground floor loges are wheelchair accessible. With the introduction of the steep elevation, Melena succeeded in solving several problems at once, these being the capacity (521 seats), sound acoustics, new cloak room areas for visitors under the auditorium, the view above the space of the stage, and the related effective movement between the stage and auditorium. Warm layers of colour, shades of azo and rust red and violet, serve to support the communal feel of the space. The stage area of the building contains a wood purlin roof while the walls are made up of a system of columns, beams and shores. The auditorium space opens up with a wood roof consisting of arch trusses with steel ties. The original construction of the perimeter walls of the auditorium were also from wood, although the parts on the ground floor had to be replaced due to damage.

A baldachin with a bridge for stage lighting, acoustic panels and the main lighting was hung in the first third of the hall. Another baldachin of a conical shape was placed directly in front of the portal for enhancing sound arising from the orchestra pit. The stage part received a new portal from perforated sheet, while the technical equipment was brought up to date. A snack bar for the public with a wooden bar counter was situated on the first floor of the auditorium section. The technical areas of the theatre are located in the southern wing as well as behind the stage.

The consequent realisation placed an emphasis on axiality, order, clarity and purity both in terms of the material (wood) as well as in terms of the colours (red walls, red-brown ceramic flooring). The exterior of the theatre was preserved. The grey volume of the subtle reconstruction work from the 1930s and 1960s creates a contrast with the intimacy of the interiors.

The reconstructed theatre opened to the public on the 28th of October 1998 with Tyl and Škroupová's Fidlovačka in a production by T. Töpfer.

 

Sources and literature:

- Stavební archiv úřadu městské části Praha 4

- Melena, Miroslav: Rekonstrukce divadla Na Fidlovačce, Architekt XLV, 1999, č. 8, s. 23.

- Holeček, Josef: Fidlovačka: K divadelní pospolitosti, Architekt XLV, 1999, č. 8, s. 24.

 

 

Tags: Interwar period

 

Author: Markéta Svobodová

Translator: David Livingstone

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