Prague's National Theatre unveils a bold new lineup of performances for 2024

The theater has announced its lineup for the coming season with a record number of premieres taking place. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 15.02.2024 09:58:00 (updated on 16.02.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

The National Theatre is preparing to present 21 new productions in the upcoming theater season, one more than the previous season. In total, there will be 87 shows for theatergoers to choose from.

Jan Burian, the director general of the National Theatre, announced the upcoming season’s lineup this week. In addition to a bold roster of premieres, there are plans to begin reconstructing the New Stage of the National Theatre in mid-2025, which is estimated to cost around CZK 2 billion and be completed by 2028.

“Last year was extremely successful for the National Theatre. The National Theatre had 100,000 more visitors than in 2022,” said Burian, adding that it sold almost 406,000 tickets.

In 2023, the National Theatre staged 917 performances, mostly drama, with 376 performances, followed by opera with 285 productions.

Among the season’s highlights is a collaboration with Dmitry Krymov, a renowned Russian director known for his exceptional contributions to contemporary world theater. Krymov emigrated from Russia due to his opposition to the military attack on Ukraine. Krymov, living in exile in New York, will direct the drama The Three Musketeers, which will open in May at the Estates Theatre.

The directing duo SKUTR is preparing a site-specific production of Don Quixote at the State Opera. The Waste Land, with the famous work of TS Eliot, will be heard in a new translation by Peter Onufer. The adaptation of Robert Icke’s ancient trilogy Oresteia, directed by Marian Amsler, will also be among the premieres.

The National Theatre Opera will continue celebrating the Year of Czech Music 2024. The ensembles of the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera will perform several works by Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák, and Leoš Janáček, as well as the premiere of the opera Sárka by Zdeňek Fibich.

The National Theatre Ballet premieres an original adaptation of the ballet Scheherazade Rimsky-Korsakov, choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti, and a multimedia work based on the Božena Němcová fairy tale Sun, Moon and Windmill choreographed by Viktor Konvalinka.

Laterna Magika will contribute two premieres with renowned foreign directors Darcy Grant and Thomas Monckton. Grant will put on the multi-genre project In Our Hands. Performer and director Monckton from New Zealand will create a comedy production, Pluto, for Laterna Magika.

According to Burian, the new ND scene should begin repairs in mid-2025 and is slated to open after reconstruction in 2028; work should start in the middle of 2025; the New Stage will be fully operational next season.

The National Gallery and its New Stage. Photo: iStock/Pgiam
The National Theatre and its New Stage. Photo: iStock/Pgiam

The building from the turn of the 1970s and 1980s is an essential representative of Czechoslovak brutalist architecture. In 2021, it became a cultural monument.

According to the theater, the architectural plan for the reconstruction of the New Scene does not change the external appearance of the building; it preserves all the original architecturally valuable interior spaces. It will make part of the buildings accessible to the public and allow greater use of the ND Piazzetta.

The most significant change awaits the main hall of the New Stage, which has outdated theater technology and poor acoustics. A theater scene with a variable arrangement of the hall space for various performances with a capacity of up to 500 seats will be created using contemporary modern theater technologies and variable acoustics.

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