• June 14, 2018

National Theatre in Prague

National Theatre in Prague

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The beginnings of theatre in Bohemia date back to the 12th century, when church environment theatre started to appear based on liturgical ceremonies during the church life (Easter or Christmas plays, plays on the life of saints, etc.). The plays were performed in churches and temples and the actors were priests and monks – female characters were acted by men, too, the texts were Latin. In 1848 Josef Kajetán Tyl proposed organization of collections for construction of a theatre and the Committee for Establishment of Czech National Theatre in Prague was founded and it immediately issued an appeal to launching the collection. Among the donors were noblemen, personalities of the social and cultural life, many associations and organisations, groups of workers of various plants and factories and thousands of individual citizens. The building was completed and the theatre was first opened on 11 June 1881 in honour of Prince Royal Rudolph. The opening performance was the premiere of the opera Libuše by Bedřich Smetana, which the composer, already deaf, conducted on his own. There were several performances and then the theatre was closed for summer to complete the building work. However, some workers did not put out wood coal during work on the roof properly and on 12 August there was a fire that destroyed the copper dome, the stage and the auditorium. A new national collection for repair of the damage was organized immediately. The theatre was reopened on 18 November 1883.