Theatre Outside Theatre and Back to the Stage

National Theatre Prague

1 September 2021 - 31 July 2022

Czech theatres were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic since September 2020 and have recently reopened June. Throughout the new season, the NT Drama Prague searches for ways how to respond to the current situation and perform outside theatres. “Traditional theatre” is inconceivable without live performances and immediate contact with the audience, but is there any worthy alternative? Is it possible to record a performance and still preserve the spirit of theatre? 
A play that is to be transformed into another medium must be “reinvented”: we take the stage performance as the basis but try to find a visual or acoustic expression that communicates with the audience almost as if they were sitting in the theatre. On the other hand, we take it as an opportunity to break through the limits of the stage and create a riveting show outside the theatre building. This is the essence of the “Theatre Outside Theatre” project: new experiences, new theatre.  
Jiří Havelka's experimental project Eyewitness presents a set of testimonies reflecting the historical responsibility of ordinary people for important historical events - English and German subtitles are available. Audio-performances You in My House for two spectators and An Apartment by Jiří Austerlitz are online, also in an English version. Our successful plays Nightwork and For Beauty have been been transformed into specific audiovisual artworks, going beyond mere recordings of performances, and are available online with English and French subtitles. At the same time, we presented a series of audio walks, audio dramas and other theatrical forms prepared for our theatre by Czech artists. The spring issue of the Prague Crossroads International Festival featured the one-to-one phone call Distant Thoughts by Building Conversations (NL). Read more here.

We have closely followed and are concerned about the situation of Belarussian citizens, where the oppression of freedoms endangers creative work. 

That is why we have implemented six-week residencies for Belarusian playwrights to allow the authors sufficient time for writing their own play. The first two attendees have recently finished their stay and the call for the subsequent autumn stay has just been announced in early summer. Please share! We are also preparing English version of handbook of Belarussian contemporary drama to be distributed in a few weeks. 

The last annual summary of our plans for the upcoming season proved to be far too optimistic – none of the planned premieres could take place. Nonetheless, we have launched several novel projects instead.

The main theme of the yearbook for this season stood the test of time: to find a way for an environmental-friendly and sustainable theatre operation. If you want to learn more about the NT’s activities in this area, the current best practices, as well as future tasks, please download the Yearbook in English here.

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