Where to see English-friendly theater performances in Prague

A vibrant local theater scene presents the classics, translated Czech comedies, original works, and improv at venues across the city.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 23.03.2023 14:00:00 (updated on 23.03.2023) Reading time: 5 minutes

Prague has a vibrant English-language theater scene, with different troupes presenting classics, Czech comedies, and original works.

A few of the troupes also hold open auditions for new performers or writers, while others have steady ensembles with no current openings. Venues also range from somewhat hidden small spaces to the opulent Estates Theatre.

Prague Shakespeare Company (PSC) presents not only works by the Bard, but also modern classics such as “Waiting for Godot” or recent notable plays like “The Revolutionists.” They also sometimes host visiting troupes.

The artistic director of the troupe is Guy Roberts, who currently has a recurring role in the Amazon Prime series “The Wheel of Time.” Some of the international cast members have film or TV experience, but the troupe also has open auditions to find new talent. They conduct workshops and have student programs as well.

Most of their productions are at Divadlo Na Prádle in Kampa, but some of the bigger shows are at the Estates Theatre. They also cooperate with Prague Castle on their summer program, usually presenting one play on the stage in the Castle gardens.

Lane Davies. left, in
PSC's production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' Photo: © Prague Shakespeare Company, Kaja Curtis

Cimrman English Theatre (CET) exclusively stages new English translations of Czech comedies allegedly written by the fictitious inventor Jára Cimrman. The English-speaking cast uses the same stage, props, and costumes as the original Czech productions (which are still also staged). The plays, already in English, have English surtitles to help non-native speakers keep up.

“If expats – or those who have just arrived recently in Prague – want to learn something about Czech culture, then they have to come to see the Cimrman English Theatre,” founder and co-translator Brian Stewart said. He also appears in the plays under his stage name Ben Bradshaw.

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They now perform five of the 15 Cimrman plays, usually two each month, at Žižkovské divadlo Járy Cimrmana, and most shows sell out. The troupe is composed of professional actors with film, TV, or other stage experience. Stewart, for example, appeared in the original UK version of “The Office.” They are not currently recruiting new members.

Ben Bradshaw and Curt Matthew in 'The Plum.' Photo: Jack Ollila
Ben Bradshaw and Curt Matthew in 'The Plum.' Photo: Jack Ollila

Eesk Comedy Theatre is Brian Stewart’s side project for contemporary plays. It has taken a break due to Covid, but they will be back starting in April and May with a new production, a reworked original work by Stewart called “Jack’s Cake” at Divadlo Kolowrat with professional actors. A previous version of the play had a run in the UK. A co-production of another play in cooperation with the local Classic Stage troupe is planned for next year.

The Prague Harman Street Players plays original comedies based on current events and trends. Their current home is the Fitz, in the Hotel Fitzgerald in Karlín. Their latest production “They’re Listening!” has shows on March 24–25 and April 13–14. Plays are usually by artistic director Brian J. Callaghan, though the group is also working with other local writers.

The troupe’s membership is flexible with newcomers joining in among the long-standing members. Openings are usually listed on the group’s social media. “We are launching a sketch comedy workshop with a show to be put on at the end. This way we can uncover some of the city’s new, latent talent,” Callaghan said.

The name comes from Harman Street in the Queens borough of New York City, where Callaghan lived as a writer and editor.

Classic Stage is planning three shows this year: a musical tribute to Burt Bacharach in June, Craig Lucas’ “Prelude To A Kiss” in October, and Edward Albee’s “The Goat” in December. They sometimes use the D21 theater in Vinohrady.

Classic Stage Company’s artistic director John Malafronte said the troupe is always looking for actors and designers interested in working in English-language theater. Contact information is on Facebook. “We are looking forward to collaborating with the Eesk Theatre Company next year,” he added.  

The group staged a very successful online production of Noël Coward's “Blithe Spirit” during the Covid lockdowns, and before the pandemic hit had sold-out shows of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest."

The Prague Horrortheater is a newcomer to Prague, settling here in 2021 though the group has roots in other European cities going back 12 years. Anyone can audition to appear in their ongoing “The Cabinet of Doctor Tumblety” evenings, inspired by Paris’ Grand-Guignol theater. Productions take place at Divadlo MA, a small theater space in New Town.

Scene from
Scene from "The Cabinet of Doctor Tumblety." Photo: Facebook, The Prague Horrortheater

They are also looking for local authors to collaborate with since legends, lore, and Gothic fiction are deeply rooted in Prague’s history and culture. They sometimes hold horror-themed poetry slams, which they initiated in 2018.

The group has acquired local stage rights to “Murder on the Orient Express,” which they will present this May at Karlínské Spektrum under the banner of their non-horror sister company, the Mad and Merry Men.

Blood, Love and Rhetoric has been presenting improv at A Maze in Tchaiovna. That venue, though, will be closing in mid-April. BLR hopes to open its own venue in the fall, and until then will be doing pop-up improv shows across town. The troupe also hopes to return to theatrical productions once they secure a new space.

Currently, they teach courses for both youth and adults aimed at helping people overcome fears and developing skills that are useful not only on the stage.

Cast of Blood, Love and Rhetoric. Photo: Facebook, BLR
Cast of Blood, Love and Rhetoric. Photo: Facebook, BLR

D’Prompt was founded in 2019 and stages occasional productions of contemporary pieces or classics. The ensemble of international actors, directors, and teachers hopes to create performances that leave a lasting impact. Their target audience is people who appreciate art and culture, but they also seek to introduce younger generations to timeless themes.

They are currently preparing a new schedule, but have not announced titles or venues yet.

Prague Youth Theatre offers various courses in English for young people between the ages of 6 and 18, and stages productions featuring their students a few times a year. They also help prepare people to take exams in acting and related theater fields.

Visiting acts and shows with surtitles

Several festivals also bring in groups to perform in English. The most significant one is Prague Fringe, which this year will start on May 22. Productions in English (or that are language-barrier-free) also sometimes turn up at Alfred ve dvoře and Jatka 78.

Prague's premiere stages also feature Czech performances with English surtitles. The National Theater, Divadlo Na zábradlí, and Švandovo divadlo have titles on some of their shows. But for all of these, the surtitles are only on select performances so you need to check when buying a ticket.

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