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As part of the TACE project, a symposium was held between 27 and 29 October 2009 in Ljubljana, dedicated to the experimental theatre between 1945 and 2000, with a special focus on the spaces occupied by experimental theatres, or rather, the “occupying” of non-theatrical spaces, thus urbanising and socialising them. Contributors from all five participating countries took part.

The papers in this publication are based and developed on those read at the symposium.

Here are a few of the focal points of research into experimental theatre in Central Europe in the second half of the 20th century:


1. when and how these theatres were established;

2. what the reaction was of the official (ideological and cultural) authorities;

3. under what conditions these theatres functioned (premises, financing,recruiting staff);

4. what their repertoire plans were;

5. what the influence was of these theatres on institutional (national) theatres;

6. how these theatres managed to establish contact with Western theatres (guest appearances and participation at international festivals) in spite of blockades (and censorship).


The spaces in which these theatres were born and in which they created, their performances undoubtedly form one of the most unusual stories about how art alters the function of the (architectural) space in which it takes place. Or, as it is written in the Introduction by Mr. Svetina: “I am certain that almost every theatre which in the second half of the 20th century in the countries dominated by social realism wanted to act autonomously because it wanted to create art that would not serve the ruling ideology, had to search for an “autonomous” space, which means a space that was not intended for the theatre or art. Thus these theatres performed another important role: they socialised certain spaces and specific parts of the town they were in as people attended the performances and brought life to these places.”



The book Occupying Spaces is the result of successful cooperation between experts, co-ordinators and institutions from five countries. We should mention at least authors of contributed articles:

-       Czech Republic: Tatjana Lazorčáková, Vladimír Just and Tomáš Žižka, mamapapa o.s. (a civic association);

-       Hungary: Judit Csanádi, Borbála Szalai and István Nánay;

-       Poland: Joanna Ostrowska and Juliusz Tyszka;

-       Slovakia: Oleg Dlouhý, Maja Hriešik, Juraj Šebesta and Anna Grusková;

-       Slovenia: Tomaž Toporišič, Primož Jesenko, Barbara Orel and Ivo Svetina

The aim of the project is to promote the still existing historic theatres in Europe by way of a new cultural tourism route, a free online database, and a travelling exhibition, also fostering cross-border cooperation among these theatres.

Historic theatres in 5 minutes

Litomyšl - Castle Theatre

Český Krumlov - Castle Theatre

Graz - Opera

Vienna - Theater an der Vien

Weitra - Castle Theatre

Grein - Municipal Theatre

Kačina - Castle Theatre

Mnichovo Hradiště - Castle Theatre

Graz - Drama Thatre