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Jiří Myron Theatre

Josef Srb

alias National House (till 1945), Folk Theater (1945-1954)
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1892 | Final design

In accordance with the result of an organised competition, the project was awarded to the architect Josef Srb. He conceived this new structure in the form of a Neo-Renaissance building with a particularly conventional character. The building was constructed according to his design over the years 1892-1894.


(detail)17. 6. 1894 | Inauguration
The gala opening took place on the 16th and 17th of June 1894. During the first day a ceremonial academy took place and Ostrava amateur actors performed a comedy by Ladislav Stroupežnický,  Mrs. Minter.
(detail)1939 | Kosmos cinema

In the years 1921-1939 hall served as Cinema Kosmos.


(detail)1940 | Reconstruction of the building

Two phases adaptations were carried out on the basis of a project by the architects  Evžen Friedl and Jan Jírovec over the years 1939-1940. 


(detail)1966 | Conversion of the building
Adaptations to the theatre took place according to a study by the architect Petr Gleich. The theatre was reopened on the 5th of December 1966 with the premiere of a play by Jiří Voskovc and Jan Werich, North versus South.  

 


(detail)6. 12. 1976 | Fire

(detail)1979 | Architectural design for reconstruction

Study and introductory project for the reconstruction of the front parts of the former National House and the new annex to the Jiří Myron Theatre was worked out by Ivo Klimeš.


(detail)1986 | Reconstruction
The reconstruction of the front tract and the new addition to the theatre was realized in years 1980-1986.
(detail)28. 4. 1986 | Inaguration performance
The theatre was ceremonially opened on the 28th of April 1986 with the premiere of a musical typical for the Communist period of that time, the political work by Petr Miller, Happiness for Anna on the motif of a prose work by Olbracht, Anna Proletariat.
(detail)2007 | Reconstruction

2006-2007 reconstruction of the roof of the front tract of the theatre including the space of the attic Theatre Club


People

(detail)Josef Srb |main architect
Prague builder in Smíchov. In: Vlček, Pavel a kol. : Encyklopedie architektů, stavitelů, zedníků a kameníků v Čechách, str. 619, Praha 2004.

(detail)Ivo Klimeš |architect

Significant architect from Ostrava. In his work he was dedicated above all to the designs of theatres. The most well known of his projects are Most city theatre and reconstruction of the theatres in Ostrava. In his designs form 1960´s applied sharp features and  crystallic  forming of the materials.  Then he switched to more organic compositions with oval and soft materials inspired by the Scandinavian architecture.  His work , gradually more  focused on the designs of the theatres , made him a leading expert on this issue.

More theatres

Petr Gleich |architect
(detail)Radim Ulmann |architect

Czech architect and designer. Mainly in the field of designing furniture for theatres and music halls.
English version : http://www.designulmann.cz/?s=theatre-armchairs

 

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Jaroslav Svoboda |interior designer

History

Growing cultural demands and an increased interest in culture on the part of the population led representatives of the political, cultural and economic elite of the city of Moravská Ostrava to the idea of founding a city theatre and music hall where sophisticated events could take place. Representatives of the city had been interested in this idea as early as the 1880s. Arguments, however, between the German led Town Hall of Moravská Ostrava, which was not interested in the development of Czech schooling and similar activities, with the Czech majority in the city led to a decision on the part of the nationally conscious Czechs to establish an independent National House on the newly created square (today's Monsignor Šrámek) in the year 1889 opposite the basilica of God the Saviour, constructed according to a Neo-Renaissance design by the architect Gustav Meretta. In November 1891, Občanská beseda (Civic Assocation), founded in the year 1862, declared that it would build an association building with an appropriate social hall and additional rooms. The association for the National House came into being which began to organise collections for establishing a building. The initiatory role in these affairs was taken by a circle of people around the lawyer Dr. Edmund Palkovský , involved in working for the Czech national movement in the Ostrava region. In the middle of December 1891 the association purchased the needed land from the builder František Jurečka and in accordance with the result of an organised competition, awarded the project to the Smíchov architect, graduate of the Prague Technical School, Josef Srb (1864-?). He conceived this new structure in the form of a Neo-Renaissance building with a particularly conventional character. This, however, along with the church opposite, served to create the basis for a uniform style design of the as yet incomplete city space. The building was constructed according to his design over the years 1892-1894, and supplied as early as the end of the year 1892 with a roof over the front tract. By December 1893 temporary operations were begun in certain completed parts. The gala opening took place on the 16th and 17th of June 1894. During the first day a ceremonial academy took place and Ostrava amateur actors performed a comedy by Ladislav Stroupežnický,  Mrs. Minter.

Initially the National House served as a stage theatre. The cultural programmes and theatre performances served to compete with events at the nearby German House, ceremonially opened in June 1895 and at the Polish House which had been completed in the year 1900. Up until the year 1907 a Brno theatre troupe travelled regularly to the National House with the drama troupe of the Prague National Theatre led by Jaroslav Kvapil even visiting the National House in the year 1904. Only starting in the years 1908-1919 did they acquire a permanent Czech troupe which had come from the former Ostrava City Theatre  (see Antonín Dvořák Theatre in Ostrava). From the years 1921 up to 1939 the theatre served the needs of Kosmos Cinema. In the years 1939-1945 when the permanent Ostrava Czech troupe returned, this time under the name Czech Theatre of Moravian Ostrava, the building continued to bear the name National House. From the liberation of Ostrava at the end of April 1945 this theatre received the name Lidové divadlo (People's Theatre) and was part of the Regional Theatre and as of August 1948 the State Theatre in Ostrava. It was finally named after Jiří Myron after the Ostrava actor's death and in the year 1954 changed to Jiří Myron Theatre which is the name it bears up until the present day. In November 1962 the School and Cultural Commission of the City National Committee in Ostrava decided that the building of the Jiří Myron Theatre would be registered onto the state list of cultural monuments. The theatre is listed onto the Central List of Cultural Monuments under record number 17982/8-230. At present this theatre, designated for drama, operetta and ballet, is part of the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava.

 

Original condition

The building is part of a row line of structures on the present-day street Čs legií. Its ground plan arrangement in the form of an irregular oblong is situated in a deep plot of land between the already-mentioned street and Zahradní street. The structure faces out on the square with a south-east symmetrical eleven windowed, two-storied façade with a central flat, protruding five-windowed bay. The ground floor with belt rustic work is broken up by windows, originally half-circular and vaulted with barrel voussoirs at the top. A high order of pilasters with Corinthian capitols connects the upper floor with the upper half-floor above the  profiled string course. The high, half-circular vaulted windows on the first floor have barrelled voussoirs at the top, balustrade parapets and decorative stucco work in the spandrels (wreaths with streamers). The not particularly large windows of the upper half-floor are right-angled. A balustrade parapet is situated on the crowning cornice emphasised with denticule with the truncated taper square of the former decorative grate of the culminating roof rising behind it. The side parts of the main façade have three windows. The original appearance of the ground floor has only been preserved on the right. There is a continuation here with an adaptation to the bay with belt bossage and arched windows. There is a aedicula portal in the central axis whose channelled half-columns have marked entablature. The left three-axis look received a new form during reconstruction in  the year 1940 and 1980-86. Both external sections still have the identical original adaptation on the first floor: with subtly outlined rustication (with only emphasised corners) culminating with aedicula windows with balustrade parapets of three-angled frontons, shading the rectangular stucco frames with the coat-of-arms of the Czech Royal Lands, each under a St. Wenceslas crown as a reference to the national legal rights of the Czech nation.

The original building was equipped with a hall with dimensions of 26.8 x 15.3 metres with a gallery, stage and smaller orchestra pit; the orientation was opposite in contrast to, the at present layout, with the stage nearer to the main façade. The first significant adaptations to the building were connected with the reconstruction work for the needs of Kosmos Cinema which made use of the main hall over the years 1921-1939. As a consequence of the occupation banishment of the Ostrava City Theatre (today's Antonín Dvořák Theatre) a Czech troupe, the so-called Association of the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre and the building's assignment to a German troupe, the Czech theatre had to move back to its former home. For this reason over the consequent two phases adaptations to the hall and the neighbouring rooms were once again carried out again for the purposes of theatre on the basis of a project by the architects  Evžen Friedl (1909-1954)  and Jan Jírovec (1901-?) over the years 1939-1940. The work was performed by the construction company of Artur Rozhon from Moravská Ostrava. The left ground floor part of the main façade was reconstructed with a trio of entrances between prismatic pillars under a pronounced lintel. The theatre foyer came into being from the Palacký lobby of the National House (according to the older layout on the right of the hall). The hall obtained the dimensions 32 x 20 x 12 metres after reconstruction. The auditorium with a slanted floor had 735 seats on the ground floor and in the steeply ascending central balcony with three descending boxes on the side wings. The orchestra pit had dimensions of 20 x 2.5 metres  with room for up to 40 musicians. The stage border was 8 metres wide and 5.6 metres high. The stage had a width of 15 metres, a depth of 12 metres and a height of 20 metres. It was equipped with a turntable with a diameter of 9 metres. The modest facility for the audience is matched by the more than modest areas for the actors, made up of six changing rooms, as well as 7 offices, a tailor's room, tuning room, prop room, furniture room, cloak room for technical personnel, storage for upholsters, and a storage area for costumes under the stage. After the war only the most necessary repairs were carried out.  Only reconstruction work in the year 1966 significantly influenced the interiors. The theatre was closed after the 9th of May of that year when the final performance took place. A study for reconstruction was consequently prepared by the architect Petr Gleich (1935), while the interiors were designed by the architect Rostislav Skalík (1923). The designer responsible for the construction parts was the architect Naďa Valíčková (1941) and the décor of the curtain and fronts of the balconies was designed by Otakar Schindler (1923-1998). The adaptations involved improving the acoustics, lighting and air technology. Repairs were also carried out to the orchestra pit, stage, auditorium and rear areas of the theatre. The theatre was finally reopened on the 5th of December 1966 with the premiere of a play by Jiří Voskovc and Jan Werich, North versus South. Despite this project certain problems were still not addressed as the theatre was in constant use.

 

Further history

A fire during the night from the 6th to the 7th of December 1976 after a performance of the musical Švejk was of crucial importance for the fate of the old theatre. A design for the renewal of the theatre was undertaken by the Ostrava architect Ivo Klimeš (1932). The first study indicated that the repairs of the old building would not meet the requirements of modern theatre operations. Consequently, it was decided that the torso of the old building would be demolished and a completely new one built in its place. A second study from the year 1977 became the basis for the future design, suggesting the preservation of the front tract of the old building with a new layout design and the construction of a new auditorium, stage and rear facilities in the place of the demolished parts.  In the introductory project from the year 1979  the author, in contrast to his designs for the reconstruction of the Antonín Dvořák Theatre in Ostrava (1967) and the new structure of the theatre in Most (1968 ), showed a preference for sharply cut volumes and clearly composed shapes. He aimed at a harmonic and simple volume composition with an emphasis on soft cylindrical or oval forms of architectural bodies. He found inspiration in the work of Hans Scharoun and in Scandinavian architecture, in particular in the work of  Alvar Aalto. In terms of colour the author designed cladding of red shiny ceramic RAKODUR facing on the exterior of the structure with a view to 'Ostrava's greyness' as the author stated himself, which would contrast with the reflections of the shiny metal elements of the windows, doors and tinted glass. The basis, however, became an emphasis on the arrangement of the basic theatre spaces, the auditorium and stage. The spacious stage was equipped so as to allow for extensive productions with the  use made of the space of the upstage as well as the proscenium and side jutting wings. The aim was to allow the acting to move closer to the audience, thus creating a space for new performance possibilities. Ivo Klimeš created the introductory project in Stavoprojekt Ostrava – studio 7 Opava, the accompanying project was the responsibility of the architect Hynek Váňa (1934). The design of the interior was worked on by the architect Radim Ulmann (1928), initially in the form of a study (1980), consequently in the form of an artistic design (1984). Construction permission was granted on the 18th of July 1980 with the construction itself carried out by the District Construction Company Opava. The theatre was ceremonially opened on the 28th of April 1986 with the premiere of a musical typical for the Communist period of that time, the political work by Petr Miller, Happiness for Anna on the motif of a prose work by Olbracht, Anna Proletariat.     

 

Contemporary situation

The historical part of the structure is accessible from the street through the already-mentioned main entrance from the side, western part of the main façade with three rectangular entrance ways with glazed doors. The façade here is clad with stone plates. Above the entrance is a simple metal plate marquee with the name of the theatre in metal letters, in the front with DIVADLO JIŘÍHO MYRONA and on the sides the abbreviation DJM. (Regarding the façade facing Čs. legií street see another section on the historical development of the structure.) From the courtyard the old part of the building is accessible through glazed wooden doors, leading to the passageway in the north-east part of the front tract. The theatre faces the courtyard with a new four-storey structure, with significantly retreating north-east façades on the upper floors, with entrances and mainly square windows for the rear facilities (changing rooms, snack bar, offices). The two entrances to this new part of the theatre are equipped with metal two-wing doors with an artistically accented motif of a glazed circle, situated between the two door wings. The square metal picture windows of the new structure with one hinged wing were produced by the company ZUKOV along with the entrance doors. The same holds for the rectangular windows with more casements. The windows supplement in terms of their material and colour scheme the shiny, dark red ceramic cladding of the RAKODUR façade, uniting the articulated volume of the new parts of the theatre. The dominant feature consists of the volume of the stage and first and foremost in the northern part of the theatre with the fly loft with oval corners from the northern side and with the overhanging tower and oval shaped volume of the lift shafts on the north-east side. Behind the fly loft the volume of the theatre moves in cascade fashion out onto Zahradní street. The roof on the lowest level hangs over the lines of the façades and culminates in right-angled corners. Softer rounded corners are in contrast made use of in the retreating parterre with the side entrances. The administrative entrance to the building is situated from Milíčova street along with the small, free-standing prismatic building of the porter with a sheet metal parapet and with a similar ceramic cladding of the façade as with the theatre building.

The inner layout of the theatre develops from the historical façades of the former National House. The cash desk is situated in the entrance space at the main door from Čs. legií street. A single flight staircase, clad in marble, leads from there to the foyer which is dominated by a sculptural piece in the form of a chandelier from glass pieces, connecting to hanging chains holding up a circular light into the ground floor space from the second floor; this makes up a cylindrical levitating and light giving shape. The author was the glass artist Jaroslav Svoboda (*1938). This accent on light bodies is supported by various elements (the baluster railings) and details from polished steel supplied by the  ZUKOV company. The rear wall of the foyer houses a bust of Jiří Myron by Karel Vávra (1914-1982). The two glazed entrance walls separated by a pillar are optically connected to the foyer with the snack bar, situated in the central part of the front tract of the preserved part of the old building. Part of the foyer on both floors serves as of the year 1994 as the exhibition space Gallery Opera, focused on contemporary photography art.  A tapestry by Věra Tošenovská (1924) is situated on the stairway landing with the name The Performance Begins (sometimes also referred to as Ostrava and Theatre) with newly conceived figures from the theatre environment and with a stylised picture of the city.

The actual arrangement of the auditorium and stage consists of a typical 'opera glass' theatre with possibilities for extending the performance onto the proscenium and side fore-stages. The theatre is designed with an auditorium and balcony, with the corners equipped with service boxes. All in all it consists of  667 seats, 163 of which are located on the balcony. The eight seats of the two service boxes should also be included within the overall number. The hall has a unified ochre colour including the carpets, seating upholstery and the vertically laid cladding of the walls. The unified impression of the décor of the hall is enhanced by the plastic shaping of the ceiling in an organic form, whereby according to the needs of the acoustics of the hall, the shaped waves of the ceiling are divided up by continuous belts of lights.

The stage is made up of a changeable proscenium area, the main stage and the upstage. The proscenium consists of the central part with the possibility for an orchestra pit below for 40 musicians and side fore-stages with the possibility of lifting the lowers part of the side border walls to a height of 5 metres, thus allowing the sections of the side fore-stage to connect up with the side parts of the stage. At the same time the border towers can be moved with a variable width of dimensions of 10.5 up to 13 metres and a variable height of up to 7.5 metres. The stage is 14 metres deep and 15 metres wide with a metre wide turntable and a pair of trap doors. The height of the flies amounts to 17 metres. The stage is separated from the auditorium by a fire-proof curtain, with coffer articulated with shiny metal cladding facing the auditorium. The netting has an ochre colour typical for the entire furnishings of the auditorium. The upstage is 9 metres wide and deep. It is equipped with a separate fire-proof curtain. The fore-stage is equipped with 3 lighting ramps, 27 hand winches with a weight capacity of 160 kg and three electric winches with a weight capacity of 320 kg, the length of the winch bar is 12 metres. The upstage has 1 lighting ramp and 10 hand winches with a weight capacity of 160 kg. The stage lighting is also digitalised with ADB set-top boxes and ADB, Toshiba, Martin, Pani and Czech reflectors.   The processing area in proximity to the stage is equipped with a Yamaha Promix R02 audio mixer. Both the acoustic and video recording of the stage is built in as well as an adequate sound system.  As of the year 2006 the auditorium, stage, orchestra pit and foyers are equipped with air-conditioning.

At present the theatre contains a ballet hall on the first floor of the front tract, a choir practice room; additional facilities including the theatrical rehearsal room are located in the neighbouring, connected to the theatre, former building of the Civic Savings Bank, land plot no. 1236 (Čs. legií street no. 12) from the year1903 in the Czech Neo-Renaissance style by the architect Otakar Bém (1868-1949), graduate of the architecture school of Prof. Otto Wagner at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. The final adaptations to the actual theatre building were in the years 2006-2007 when reconstruction of the roof and ceilings of the front tract, the historical part of the building, was carried out, these being locales which had not been touched by the reconstruction and addition from the 1980s. This construction work also influenced the Theatre Club in the attic of the central part of the front tract. In an attempt to maintain the original look both new stairs and new facilities for the club were carried out including toilets, kitchen facilities and new ceilings with an imitation lunette cornice in the main room. As of the year  1980 the town house on Milíčova street no. 1 / land plot no. 1484 also serves the needs of the theatre with both a male and female tailor service, storage, rehearsal room  and administrative areas.  As of the year 1982 another building on Milíčova street no. 3 / land plot no. 288 is also used by the theatre, containing further administrative areas, allowing the auditorium capacity in the actual theatre building to be enlarged. Both above-mentioned town houses, built over the years 1911-1913, were designed in the Czech Neo-Renaissance style as neighbouring structures to the older former Civic Savings Bank again designed by the architect  Otakar Bém.

 

 

Sources and literature:

- Národní dům v Moravské Ostravě; Zlatá Praha XI, 1894, s. 539-540.

- Almanach věnovaný přestavěnému Národnímu domu v Mor. Ostravě; Moravská Ostrava 1941.

- Javorin, Alfred: Divadla a divadelní sály v českých krajích, I. Divadla; Praha 1949, s. 160-162.

- Štefanides, Jiří: Státní divadlo Ostrava, In: Ostrava. Sborník příspěvků k dějinám a výstavbě města 13; Ostrava 1985, s. 467 ad.

- Pekárek, Jaromír a další: Divadlo Jiřího Myrona Ostrava 1986; Opava 1986.

- k-: Divadlo Jiřího Myrona; Československý architekt XXXII, 1986, č. 22, s. 1 a 3.

- Děcký, Milan: Oblast investic, údržby a provozně technických služeb za období 1979-1988; in: 70 let Státního divadla v Ostravě; Ostrava 1989, s. 329-330.

- Jiřík, Karel (ed.): Dějiny Ostravy; Ostrava 1993, s. 245 ad.

- Jiřík, Karel: 100 let Národního domu v Ostravě; Vlastivědné listy 20, 1994, č. 2, s. 14-17.

- Zatloukal, Pavel: O Moravské Ostravě jako „rezervaci“ architektury pozdní secese a art déco, In: Ostrava. Přísvěvky k dějinám a současnosti Ostravy a Ostravska 18; Ostrava 1997, s. 164.

- Hilmera, Jiří: Česká divadelní architektura; Praha 1999, s. 69-71 a 167, obr. 78-80.

- Jiřík, Karel: Národní dům v Moravské Ostravě – symbol českého Ostravska (1893-1918), in: Ostrava. Příspěvky k dějinám a současnosti Ostravy a Ostravska, sv. 19; Ostrava 1999, s. 184-203.

- Šopák, Pavel: Proměny koncepce divadelních budov Národního divadla moravskoslezského v Ostravě, in: Almanach Národního divadla moravskoslezského 1919-1999. 80 let Národního divadla v Ostravě; Ostrava 1999, s. 122-125 ad.

- Vybíral, Jindřich: Zrození velkoměsta. Architektura let 1890-1938 v obraze Moravské Ostravy, Ostrava, Brno 2003, s. 15-16.

- Václavík, Lumír: Historie Thálie v moravskoslezské Ostravě. Souhrn významných historických dat – Sto let budovy městského divadla v Ostravě; Ostrava 2007.

 

Tags: Austria-Hungary, Belle Époque, International style, Neo-Renaissance, Normalization in Czechoslovakia, terraced house

 

Author: Strakoš Martin

Translator: David Livingstone

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