THE HISTORY OF THE DRAMA COMPANY IN PILSEN

By the decision of the Municipal Council in 1863, the Czech professional productions at the Municipal Theatre became equal with German productions.  An experienced director and script editor from Prague, Pavel Švanda from Semčice (1865 - 1875), was appointed the Managing Director. The company, including personalities such as Chvalovský, Sklenářová-Malá, Frankovský, Pešková, Ryšavá, Seifert, Šmaha, Budil, learnt the craft on new Czech shows as well as world classics. In 1902 started the year-round operation at the new representative building of today's Grand Theatre. The Managing Director, Vendelín Budil (1902 - 1912), also directed most productions. He preferred Czech dramatists (Jirásek, Dyk, Mahen, Kolár) and good-quality classics. The drama company included celebrities such as Beníšková, Nový, Vydra, Brzková, Deyl, Karen, Kohout, Zakopal. Managing Directors Veverka
(1912 - 1917) and Fišer (1919 - 1922) and their directors created modern, but immature stage stylisations. The occupation repertory was characterised by the return to home classics and numerous German plays. First directional efforts of Alfréd Radok were notable for their metaphoric imagination and sensitivity for the genre but in Pilsen he had to work under an assumed name of Bureš due to his Jewish origin (Venice Masquerade, Before the Sunset).  Medřická, Tesařová, Fišer, Hlinomaz and Horníček belonged to the acting elite of the company. In the autumn of 1944, the German occupation authorities closed the theatre. After the liberation in 1945, the Czech theatre scene gained another theatre building, The Small Theatre (former German Theatre). In 1948, an assertive director and an excellent actor Zdeněk Hofbauer was elected Managing Director and he achieved success with his imaginative albeit socialist-orientated production. The top names in the drama company included Jiráková, Balašová, Kovaříková, Vávra, Neužil, Benátský, Kopřiva, Krahulík, Krška, Řanda, Kostka, Deborská and Lohniský (also a director). Rudolf Kubáček who was the Managing Director for 16 years from 1954 of the JK Tyl Theatre in Pilsen (the name since 1955) left the operation of the theatre to the Heads of individual artistic companies. The Head of the drama company was Luboš Pistorius (1953 - 1960) who based his productions on a detailed analysis of the text building on psychologically elaborate acting performances. Václav Špidla (1960 - 1963), on the other hand, lead the actors to a temperamental expression and emphasised stage suggestiveness.  In 1965, The Chamber Theatre (adapted from a cinema) opened and The Small Theatre was later demolished (1977). The sensitive Head of the drama company, Svatoslav Papež (1966 - 1971) was recalled after the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. The drama company changed significantly during the 1960's (Hlaváčová, Olárová, Baťka, Konečný, Neblechová, Šanovcová, Vlčková, Jánský, Gross, Pípal, Přibil, Samek, Šolc, Vlachovský, Pavlovský, Švábová, Vrabec). The normalisation period when six successive Managing Directors lead the theatre was paradoxically artistically valuable thanks to the political courage of the management and the stability of the drama company. A range of Czech and world titles dealt with moral questions related to the difficult times. The most extensive part of the repertory was directed by Ota Ševčík (Head of the drama company 1971 - 1980 and 1982 - 1989). The directing team also included Šarše and Engelová. Thanks to her, the activities of the studio stage started in the 1980's. Director Beránek was also a distinctive acting personality. The stable acting company included Konvalinková, Tesařová, Gübel, Juřičková, Zahálka, Kikinčuk, Kostková, Procházka, Nechutný, Mucha, Vinická, Zindulka. Mikuláš Krotký (1977 - 1984) was notable for his sensitive relationship to art among the normalisation Managing Directors and during his term, the renovation and extension of The Grand Theatre took part (new opening in 1985). Jan Burian became the Managing Director of the JK TYl Theatre in 1987 (Head of drama company 1989 - 1991) who directed some profile titles (Zeros, Richard III, King Lear). Pavel Pavlovský, the actor of top roles (Hamlet, Richard III, King Lear, Cyrano), became the Head of the drama company on 1 June 1992 and gave space to Czech plays (Procházka, Kohout) and essential classical adaptations. He sought collaboration with leading directors (Smoček) and internal consolidation of the drama company (Černá, Kovaříková, Křesťanová, Kubátová, Čermáková, Stránský, Štěrba, Štrich, Maléř, Rohlíček, Kaška, Krejsa, Dubnička). After Juraj Deák's short spell in the management, director Natália Deáková became the Head of the drama company in 2013. She drastically rejuvenated the acting company (Mohylová, Ščerbová, Veldová, Mikulášek, Rychlý, Vacke). In collaboration with young, focused creative teams, she tries to create challenging and artistically interesting theatre. Most titles are presented in Czech or world premieres; some are created with a direct vision of the acting ensemble. She opens the drama company to an perceptive audience.