Czech Historical Theatres
Historical – mostly castle – theaters in the Czech Republic are part of the so-called Imperial Route connecting the historical theatres of the Czech Republic and Austria accessible to the public. They represent the most valuable items preserved in the area of historical theatre architecture. The Imperial Route of historical theatres is the fifth of eleven international routes, which in 2016 will become part of the European Route of historical theatres.
One of the oldest and best preserved theatres in Europe can be found in Český Krumlov. The magnificent castle complex was created in the 13th century. During the reign of the Eggenberg family in the 17th century a castle theatre was also built, where he a professional acting troupe operated. The present appearance of the theatre was acquired during the renovation in the 1860s. Theatre performances were held for the needs of the princely Schwarzenberg family and their guests. The entire high Baroque Theatre has been preserved in its original state, including the stage equipment, lighting, sets, props and costumes. You can visit it under special guided tours to Český Krumlov Castle.
Kačina Chateau, one of the most beautiful Classicist buildings in the Czech Republic, was built for the family of Count Chotek in the early 19th century. The theatre is located in a side hall along with the never completed chapel. The theatre also remained unfinished for a long time due to a lack of funds. It wasn’t completed until after 1850. For the following 20 years it bore witness to amateur performances of the entire count’s family. The author of some of the plays was Count Rudolf Karel Chotek himself. The decorated auditorium, part of the original stage mechanics and the decorations are preserved until today. The theatre can be reached during a tour of the castle interiors.
The Chateau Theatre in Mnichovo Hradiště probably originated in the late 18th century. It acquired its present form in 1833 during a reconstruction, when the castle hosted a meeting of the Austrian Emperor, the Emperor of Russia and the Prussian Crown Prince. Another component of the program also included three nights with theater performances from the Prague Estates Theatre troupe. The theater was later modified for the private entertainment of the count's family. Part of the original lighting and the complete set of decorations and costumes have been preserved, including simple stage equipment.
The theatre at Litomyšl Chateau, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, was founded in 1797 as the final stage of the reconstruction of the castle. A rich theatre program took place in it until the mid-19th century. Members of the count's family performed two comedies here for the pleasure of the inhabitants of the city. The theatre is preserved until today, including the stage machinery and complete stage lighting. The set of stage scenery by the imperial theatre painter Josef Platzer is also valuable.
Prague – Estates Theatre
The most prominent monument of more than two hundred years of Prague’s theater life is the oldest independent theatre building in the city – the current Estates Theatre. The theatre has been in continuous operation since 1789! Shortly after the opening, the premieres of two operas by Mozart, who wrote directly for this theatre, took place here – Don Giovanni (1787) and La Clemenza di Tito (1791). It took its current form from its renovation during the 19th century. Since 1920, the theatre has been the second stage of the National Theatre.