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Centre for Experimental Theatre - Goose on a String Theatre

Jiří Hakulín, Karel Hubáček, Jan Konečný

alias By the table, Centre of experimental theatre
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1708 | The baroque palace was built
The Baroque Fanál palace came into being through reconstruction work in the years 1707-08, in all probability according to a project by Ch. A. Oedtl.
(detail)1968 | Foundation of the theatre association
Foundation of the theatre association
(detail)80. 's 20. century | designs for new theatre building
There had emerged several variants of the design from the architects Václav Králíček, Miroslav Masák during 1980´s , the final version of the design was carried out by Karel Hubáček and Jiří Hakulín.
(detail)1992 | Opening
The  reconstructrured building of former baroque palace  was initially opened to the public on the 11th of January 1992 ,building was  carried out by Jan Konečný.
(detail)5.9.1993 | opening of the whole complex
The whole complex consisting of baroque palace and New stage was opened to public.
(detail)1993 | Grand Prix architectural contest
The authors of Divadlo Husa na provázku obtained the first prize in the Grand Prix architectural competition in the category of new structures in the year 1993.


(detail)Jiří Hakulín |main architect

Contemporary Czech architect.

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(detail)Karel Hubáček |main architect

His most famous work is the Ještěd tower, which is considered by some as the one of the most original buildings in the Czech Republic. This structure is on the list of UNESCO. He was the member of the atelier "SIAL".

Source: Wikipedia

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(detail)Jan Konečný |main architect

Czech contemporary architect, who among others was working as a scenographer in National Theater in Prague.

Literature: Český biografický slovník XX. století. 2. K-P. Praha 1999; Výtvarní umělci Jihomoravského kraje. Brno 1985. - Katalog výstavy.

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(detail)Václav Králíček |architect

Contemporary Czech architect, who was working some time in atelier SIAL.

Source: SIAL

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(detail)Miroslav Masák |architect

Contemporary Czech architect , whose production varies in early period from the style of Brutalist architecture , through Organic architecture finally to return to Minimalism in the late one. Member of the atelier "SIAL" in Liberec.


Jan Šimek |painter


The theatre began its activities in the year 1967 as an amateur association of professional performers, students of art schools and other young artists and enthusiasts. The group worked out of the empty space of the so-called Procházka Hall in the Brno House of Arts from the year 1968. The first architectural designs for an actual theatre building which would fully correspond to and suit the poetics and style of the “Provázka theatre style” working with a variable space and stage came about in the 1960s. In 1983 members of the Liberec SIAL studio Miroslav Masák and Václav Králíček created the design for a new theatre building situated on Římské (Františkánská street) square; Karel Hubáček, another of the cooperating architects, placed his design in the garden of the Minorite monastery with a vacant space towards Orlí street. None of these plans, of course, were approved by the Communist administration at the time. The design of Václav Králíček from the year 1985 could finally be realised. The author worked with a plan for reconstruction and an addition to the standing Baroque palace of the Lords of Fanal (respectively the Hauspers of Fanal), with the main emphasis placed on the emergence of an open, variable space allowing for numerous different kinds of approaches and forms in terms of staging. Králíček's project was further adapted and worked over in the following years, even at the time when the carcass came into being. The final version of the project was submitted in 1988, this time, however, a mutual agreement and understanding was not reached between the architect and the theatre administration. The architects Karel Hubáček and Jiří Hakulín eventually took the place of Králíček.
 The reconstruction of the historical building of the palace was carried out by the architect Jan Konečný. The reconstruction and adaptation of the House of the Lords of Fanal took place parallel with the emergence of the new structure, the entrance building for the entire theatre grounds. This building was initially opened to the public on the 11th of January 1992 with an event of several hours called Opening the Doors. This was followed by the opening of the performance Celebrations of Roses by István Örkény in the adapted cellar spaces of the Fanal palace on the 17th of January 1992. The actual moving of the troupe to the new grounds was preceded in May 1993 by a farewell with the former location in the House of Arts, conceived as a performance-happening with the name The Final 24 Hours – a Ball of Memories. The gala opening of the complex took place on the 5th of September 1993. An exterior painting by Milivoj Husák The Angel and the Comedian was unveiled while the audience viewed a new version of the play Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart in the large hall of the new building.
The original name of the theatre association at its founding (1968) was Husa na provázku. A year later, however, it had to be changed to Divadlo na provázku. It functioned under this name up until 1990 when the name was extended to Divadlo Husa na provázku. From the 1992, the abbreviation CED has been added to the name, that is Centrum experimentálního divadla (Centre for Experimental Theatre), a cultural institution providing the operations of the alternative theatres in Brno (Divadlo Husa na provázku, HaDivadlo and Divadlo U stolu).
 The building of Divadlo Husa na provázku is a corner structure making up part of the south-east corner of the block building construction under Peter Hill. The front of the structure faces out on the space of Zelný trh (Vegetable Market) while the side southern façade opens out on Petrská street, its northern side adjoins the façade of a neighbouring building.
The grounds of the theatre consist of three independent, varied parts in term of style. The floor plans consists of a complex of rhomboids which widen in a funnel shape towards the rear. The front of the structure is the House of the Hauspers of Fanál adjoined from the western side by the outdoor Elizabethan stage moving into the New Stage. The Baroque Fanál palace came into being through reconstruction work in the years 1707-08, in all probability according to a project by Ch. A. Oedtl. It was constructed on a rectangular floor plan. The façade of the structure has a three window scheme design on the ground floor and a four window scheme on the upper floors. The ground floor is dominated by a central entrance whose external axes have right-angled windows. The jambs of the portal, arising from a conical base, close with a compressed springer, with small volute voussoirs at the top. Half columns turned to the side, standing on high socles, enclose them from the sides. The columns culminate with simple Tuscany capitals. A broken balcony platform rests on the entablature, bearing the alliance coat-of arms (Felicián Julius Hausperský of Fanál and his wife). The first and second floors are linked by four high pilasters culminating in Ionic capitals with a festoon and a bull's head. The central part of the first floor is articulated by two entrances to the balcony. These culminate with triangular frontons, in similar fashion as the side windows, decorated with vegetative ornamentation and a central mascaron. The simple right-angled windows of the second floor are outlined by profiled chambranie. The centre of the parapet above the crowned cornice is accented by a large stucco shell with two palmettes along the sides.
The two-storey side façade, facing out on Petrská street, opens outward on the ground floor with a pair of right-angled windows and the only entrance into the restaurant facilities. The eastern corner is emphasised by a high Ionic pilaster with the festoon and the bull's head while the western corner contains belt bossage. The first and second floors have schemes with four windows. The windows of the first floor culminate in segmented over-windows covered by palmette décor with a central mascaron. Identical formal elements were also employed with the corner window of the second floor. The remaining window openings are simple without decoration. The building is covered by a mansard roof.
The theatre hall in Fanál palace was established in the basement which came about through the connecting up of the original medieval cellars. The hall consists of a longitudinal layout culminating in tunnel vaulting. A vaulted belt intersects the middle of the space, approximately demarcating the stage and auditorium. The first row of the auditorium (this first row consists of simple moveable seats) is directly next to the stage, in the form of wooden batten flooring. Wooden landing rise in levels behind this containing moveable, free-standing seats. The auditorium can seat an audience of approximately 70 people. The remaining space of the basement contains the dressing rooms, hygienic facilities and the catacomb gallery, a rectangular hall whose corridor leads directly to the actual theatre space. The first and second floor of the palace serves as the administrative and operational facilities for the theatre.
The House of the Lords of Fanal directly borders the outdoor Elizabethan stage. The open central space of the theatre is surrounded on three sides by two-storey indoor walkways with the fourth side made up (or culminating) in the façade of the adjoining building, the New Stage. The atrium stage is used for exterior theatre performances taking place from June to September. The covered walkway seating areas can be used by an audience of up to 250 people. When needed the uncovered area can be roofed by a moveable rain-proof tarp. The third of the Divadlo Husa na provázku buildings, the so-called New Stage, was constructed on a rectangular floor plan with a diagonally “truncated“ southern wall and a convex bent eastern and western side. A shallow bay, articulated by large six-part windows, juts out from the diagonally turned south-east façade. The side axis of the façade has a vertical belt of narrow window openings divided into threes. The southern façade, with a slight arch opening up directly on Petrská street, is articulated by four large right-angled window surfaces. The façade of the rear side of the New Stage contains a wide entrance way and a vertical belt of square windows. A bay projects from the volume of the structure. The building culminates in a flat roof with the longitudinal extension storey with a saddle roof rising above it. A sectored terrace emerged between the extension and the edge of the southern façade. A pair of side entrances emerge from the atrium into the interior (ground floor) parts of the theatre, or through a central sliding glazed wall. The free area of the foyer is only disturbed by four metal supporting columns, the wire-net dressing room construction and the side stairway, visible as a swelling, arched façade on the external envelope of the building.
The stairway leads directly to the theatre hall of a rectangular ground plan. The wooden plank flooring connects up the stage with the auditorium. There is no firm border between them but both spaces mutually intersect with the contact between the actors and audience becoming closer and more intimate. All of the employed construction is removable and portable with each performance being prepared as a different original stage (the “Provázka” ideal of freedom and variability of space and scenery is thus fulfilled). The auditorium is constructed according to the needs and type of play for an audience of from 300-400 people. It is composed of levelled landings and portable seating. The natural light reaches the room through the spacious glazed surface of the eastern stairway tube. The hall can be darkened when needed with curtains. The stairway continues onward from the first floor to the metal gallery situated along the sides and at the end of the theatre room. These are used as balcony places for seating while the eastern side gallery also serves as a connecting movement element between the stage and the service facilities of the theatre.
The operational rooms (the dressing rooms, showers, sauna) adjoin the theatre hall on the southern side. A practice room next to a spacious outdoor terrace, opening out on Petrská street, is situated on the third floor. The authors of Divadlo Husa na provázku obtained the first prize in the Grand Prix architectural competition in the category of new structures in the year 1993.
Sources and literature:

- Fotografická dokumentace, Fotoarchiv Muzea města Brna
- Palác Hausperků z Fanálu. Vyměřování historické architektury v okrese Brno město, 1967 (uloženo v NPÚ ú.o.p. v Brně)
- Projektový úkol na stavbu: 1. Tech.podlaží, IS a příprava stavby. „Divadlo na provázku“ – Brno. Datum III./85 (uloženo v NPÚ ú.o.p. v Brně)
- Projektový úkol na stavbu: 2. Budova scény. „Divadlo na provázku“ – Brno. Datum III./85 (uloženo v NPÚ ú.o.p. v Brně)
- Projektový úkol na stavbu: 3. Vnitřní práce, zařízení a venkovní úpravy. „Divadlo na provázku“ – Brno. Datum III./85 (uloženo v NPÚ ú.o.p. v Brně)
- Vlček M. & Turza K.: Rekonstrukce paláce Hausperků z Fanalu. Projektový úkol, 1986 (uloženo v NPÚ ú.o.p. v Brně)
- Oslzlý Petr: Divadlo v pohybu (IV) – Brno 1993, Brno 1993
- Švácha, Rostislav: Provázek na tahu, in:Architekt 22, 1993, s.1,3.
- Cena v kategorii novostavba. Divadlo Husa na provázku, Brno, in: Architekt 1/2, 1994, s.4. -- Stavba roku 1994.
- Samek, Bohumil: Umělecké památky Moravy a Slezska, 1.svazek A/I,  Praha 1994, s. 142.
- Kratochvíl, Petr & Halík, Pavel: Česká architektura (Czech Architecture) 1989-1999, Praha   1999, s.32-33.
- Oslzlý, Petr a kol.: Divadlo Husa na provázku 1968/7/ - 1998 ( kniha v pohybu I…), Brno 1999
- Kleinerová, Světlana: Novostavby a přestavby divadelních scén v České republice, 1989-1999.   Diplomová práce, Katedra teorie a dějin výtvarných umění, Univerzita Palackého Olomouc, 1998 – 2000 , s. 30-36 (uloženo na Katedře dějin umění Palackého univerzity Olomouc).


Tags: Baroque, Normalization in Czechoslovakia, Contemporary era


Author: Kateřina Kohoutkova - Gabrhelíková

Translator: David Livingstone

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