About Archa Theatre
Original Projects of Archa Theatre
Archa Theatre Team

Theatre Spaces

About Archa Theatre

The name of Archa Theatre does not allude to the Old Testament story of Noah by accident. On board Noah's ark, the most amazing mixture and variety of all existing animals found themselves side by side, all waiting to survive the destructive flood. Similarly, Archa Theatre strives to be a place open to various and often unexpected encounters. Their purpose is to examine the possibilities of art, provide space for innovative ideas and in various ways reflect life at the beginning of the third millennium.
          The first step towards the establishment of this theatre was made in 1991 when the Municipal Authority of Prague announced a public competition for the position of the director of the Theatre of E.F. Burian. The winning project submitted by Ondřej Hrab involved a radical change of the bombastic and conventional institution - a change that was to include not only a complete reconstruction of the space, but also a new style of management and organization. The owner of the building, the Czech Commercial Bank (Československá obchodní banka), together with the Municipality of the City of Prague, became the main investors of the reconstruction. The total investment exceeded 100 million Czech crowns.
          The work, carried out according to the architectural design by Ivan Plicka, began in September 1992. One year later, the theatre technology designed by Miroslav Melena was installed into the interior spaces. In May 1994, the last inspection of the construction took place and in June of the same year the theatre hosted its opening performance. The original proscenium stage was transformed into a multi-functional space with two halls. The first one, 15 x 28 metres (50 x 93 feet) large, seats 100 to 400 spectators (or, as in case of concerts, up to 1000 standing visitors), the other one seats up to 100 spectators. Both rooms, which can moreover be connected thanks to the system of shifting walls, serve various productions from opera or drama all the way to scenic dance or demanding multimedia performances. The foyer and the theatre club are used as exhibition spaces as well.
          In contrast to the traditional repertory theatre of E.F.Burian with 120 employees, out of which only one third were actors, Archa Theatre does not have a stable ensemble. There are 22 full-time employees who are responsible for dramaturgy, marketing, technical maintenance and administration. Archa Theatre works on the basis of a production house, i.e. provides space to artists for their creative work. This style of work enables the theatre to create its own projects as well as invite ensembles and artists both from the Czech Republic and abroad.
          The joint performance of Min Tanaka and John Cale, which officially opened the Archa Theatre in 1994, indicated where the theatre's dramaturgy was heading: the encounter of a Japanese dancer and a musician from the United States symbolized a connection of two cultures, two genres, two continents.
          During its first five seasons, Archa Theatre introduced a great many leading artistic personalities from around the world, including director Robert Wilson, choreographers Wim Vandekeybus, Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker and Jan Fabre, musicians David Byrne, Randy Newman, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Einstürzende Neubauten, Tindersticks, Levellers and many others. Ensembles such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Cheek By Jowl, Ultima Vez, DV8, Handspring Puppet Company and Dogtroep also performed there. American poet Allen Ginsberg had one of his last performances in Archa Theatre.
          One original production is created here every year. Archa engages artists who are then provided with space to create a theatre production. It is then presented in a series of performances, e.g. over the course of one month. In this way, artists such as Peter Schumann, Min Tanaka, The Residents as well as other famous personalities and ensembles created their original works under the production of Archa Theatre. This included not only foreign, but also Czech artists, as in the original Opera La Serra by Michal Vích and Jaroslav Dušek or Sweet Theresienstadt written by Arnošt Goldflam and directed by Damien Gray.
          The Archa Theatre began its production activities long before its reconstruction was finished. In 1992, it presented Min Tanaka in the project called The Rite of Spring. One year later, it became the curator of the Week of Prague Theatre in Antwerp and Stockholm. Many of Archa's projects won international repute and were presented abroad, e.g. at the theatre festivals in Bonn, Johannesburg, London, Kyoto, Tokyo, Belgrade and Brussels.
          The original Archa Theatre Studio is also a unique part of the theatre's activities. It places emphasis on the process, not merely the result of the artistic creation. It enables Czech actors and dancers to participate in workshops led by foreign artists. Performer Rinde Eckert, actress Juliet Stevenson and director Ann Bogart were among those who have hosted workshops within the Archa Theatre Studio project.
          Archa Theatre cooperates closely and on a regular basis with the French Institute, the British Council, Goethe-Institut, the Polish Institute, the Japan Foundation, the Austrian Cultural Institute and other foreign representations in the Czech Republic. The Dance Theatre Workshop and Arts International New York are Archa's partners in the United States. Archa Theatre is a member of the IETM (Informal European Theatre Meeting) network.

Architectural Project of Archa Theatre
1991-1994 (author of the plan - Ondřej Hrab; architect - Ivan Plicka; scenographic design of theatre spaces - Miroslav Melena; graphic design - Robert V. Novák)

The City of Prague
Czech Commercial Bank (Československá obchodní banka)

Grand Opening:
5 June, 1994

Archa Theatre is supported by the City of Prague

Archa Theatre is situated in a building owned by the Czech Commercial Bank (Československá obchodní banka).

Internet connection of Archa Theatre provided by InWay, a.s. - telecommunication operator.

The original projects of Archa Theatre

Opera La Serra
Original Czech opera by Michal Vích and Jaroslav Dušek.
Premiere: September 1994

Den je ráno, poledne a večer (The Day Is Morning, Noon and Night)
Co-production of the Archa Theatre and Bread and Puppet Theatre directed by Peter Schumann.
Premiere: November 1994

The Residents´Freak Show Live - Obludárium
Theatre performance created for Archa Theatre by the legendary American group The Residents.
Premiere: November 1995

Sedli si za stůl a jedli (They Sat Down at the Table)
Joint project of Archa Theatre and Bread and Puppet Theatre directed by Peter Schumann.
Premiere: March 1996

Kulhavý tango (Cool, Heavy Tango)
Co-production of the Archa Theatre and Dogtroep, a theatre group from Amsterdam.
Premiere: March 1996

Sedm splněných snů (Seven Dreams That Came True)
New cinema-theatre competition of the Stereo Social Troop.
Premiere: September 1996

Sladký Theresienstadt (Sweet Theresienstadt)
Co-production of Archa Theatre and En Garde Arts New York.
Written by: Arnošt Goldflam. Directed by: Damien Gray
Premiere: November 1996

Min Tanaka: Grimm Grimm - Book One
Putování minulostí k budoucnosti (Wandering Through the Past Towards the Future)
Performance created for Archa Theatre by the Japanese dancer and choreographer Min Tanaka, together with artists with West-European cultural background.
Premiere: June 1997

Solstice (Solstice)
Petr Nikl, Jana Svobodová, Vojtěch and Irena Havel
Project created under the name "Solstice" for the Arts Alive festival in South Africa. (September 1997)
Czech premiere: January 1998.

V zrcadle (In the Mirror)
Odrazy pohádkových obrazů (Reflections of Fairy-Tale Images)
Visual and musical collage created out of an encounter of Czech and South African artists.
Premiere: April 1998

Min Tanaka: Grimm Grimm - Book Two
Pomíjivé okamžiky nedaleko věčnosti (Fading Moments Near Eternity)
Motives from Grimm Brothers' tales -this time from a different angle.
Premiere: June 1998

HaDivadlo Theatre, Brno
Sophocles: King Oedipus
Contemporary production of the ancient Greek drama about the inevitability of fate.
Directed by: J. A. Pitínský.
Prague version made in co-production of HaDivadlo and Archa Theatre.
Premiere: February 1999

Za zrcadlem (Behind the Mirror)
An Ethno-Vaudeville
Common theatre production of Czech and South African artists.
Premiere: April 1999

Stories about Snow Whites
Grimm Grimm - Book Three
The third part of the Czech/Japanese project based on the Brothers' Grimm fairy tales.
Premiere: June 1999

Secondhand Twilight
Czech-southafrican theatre fantasies
Performace - result of further cooperation of Czech and Southafrican actors.
Premiere: May 2001

Questioning Heaven in Despair (Marné Tázání Nebes)
A sino-baroque performance
A theatrical and musical piece in which contemporary culture meets with the mysterious and fascinating worlds of Chinese Opera and Baroque Theatre. Directed by: J. A. Pitínský
Lead Role: Feng-Jün Song. The performance was created as an ancillary project of "The Glory of the Baroque in Bohemia" exhibition.
Premiere: September 2001

Dance Macabre in Kutná Hora
Performance with two interconnected aspects: dance choreographed by Jan Kodet and theatre directed by Martin Tichý. The performance was created as an ancillary project of "The Glory of the Baroque in Bohemia" exhibition.
Premiere: October 2001

The Team of Archa Theatre

Ondřej Hrab
tel.: + 420 2 21 71 61 03
e-mail: ondrej.hrab@archatheatre.cz

Administrative Director:
Zbyněk Ondřich
tel.: +420 2 21 71 61 05
e-mail: zbynek.ondrich@archatheate.cz

Operational Manager:
Helena Rousová
tel.: +420 2 21 71 61 06
e-mail: helena.rousova@archatheatre.cz

International Relations:
Pavla Niklová
tel.: +420 2 21 71 61 04
e-mail: pavla.niklova@archatheatre.cz
e-mail: silvie.markova@archatheatre.cz

Public Relations and RAS/ART:
Jiří Sedlák, Silvie Marková
tel.: +420 2 21 71 61 10
e-mail: jiri.sedlak@archatheatre.cz

Project Manager:
Dana Dvořáková
tel.: +420 2 21 71 61 32
e-mail: dana.dvorakova@archatheatre.cz


Archa Theatre
Na Poříčí 26, 110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic
Tel.: +420 2 21 71 61 11
Fax: +420 221 716 666
e-mail: archa@archatheatre.cz

Box Office
Na Poříčí 26, 110 00 Prague 1, Czech Republic
Tel.: +420 221 716 333
Fax: +420 221 716 666
e-mail: ticket@archatheatre.cz
The Box Office is open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and two hours before the start of each performance.