In October 2017, Dejvické divadlo will celebrate a quarter-century of existence. Throughout the years, the theatre has earned a reputation as one of the most attended and most popular Czech theatres. It is almost permanently sold out (which is caused not only by its intimate size) and produces a variety of plays that have one thing in common: a good drama with a distinctive point of view and with an emphasis on individual actors.
The first performance of the Dejvické divadlo took place on 14 October 1992. Matěj Kopecký’s play Johannes Doctor Faust was performed by a new ensemble, members of which came to the Dejvické divadlo during their studies of alternative and puppet theatre at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts. This ensemble was led by teacher and director Jan Borna who became an artistic director in 1993. In the same year the Dejvické divadlo was granted professional status by the Ministry of Culture.
The original ensemble performed at the Dejvické divadlo for four seasons. One of its greatest successes was J. A. Pitínský’s production Sister Anxiety which was awarded the Alfred Radok Award for Best Play in 1995 and the Dejvické divadlo became Theatre of the Year for the first time.
In September 1996, the ensemble along with Jan Borna joined the newly established Divadlo v Dlouhé. In the Dejvické divadlo it was replaced by a new ensemble led by Miroslav Krobot, director and teacher at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre of the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts, who became the artistic director of the theatre.
The core of the ensemble originally consisted entirely of students from Krobot’s final-year class, but in the course of time it has changed substantially (of the original members three actresses remained in the Dejvické divadlo – Klára Melíšková, Jana Holcová and Zdeňka Žádníková). The ensemble has been enriched by a very strong group of actors in their 30s: Ivan Trojan, Lukáš Hlavica, David Novotný, Martin Myšička, Igor Chmela. Later they were followed by younger members such as Pavel Šimčík, Lenka Krobotová, Jaroslav Plesl, Tatiana Vilhelmová, Simona Babčáková, Martha Issová and Václav Neužil. Last man actor to join the ensemble was Hynek Čermák in 2010. The newest and at the same time youngest member is Veronika Khek Kubařová who has been working with Dejvické divadlo since 2015. At the beginning of the 2014/2015 season, the role of artistic director was taken over by director Michal Vajdička. On 1 January 2017, Martin Myšička became the new artistic director.
Contemporary drama plays an important part in the Dejvické divadlo’s dramaturgy, both foreign (Joe Penhall: Landscape With Weapon, Dennis Kelly: Debris, Patrick Marber: Dealer’s Choice and others) and domestic. The theatre initiates the production of original Czech and Slovak texts (Petr Zelenka: Tales of Common Insanity, Teremin, Dubbing Street; Miroslav Krobot: The Syrup, Brian; Karel František Tománek: KFT/Reality Sandwiches®, Wanted Welzl, Kafka ’24; Viliam Klimáček: Dungeons & Dragons and others) and puts emphasis on cooperation with artists of the same generation and with similar opinions as well (Jiří Havelka: Black Hole, Petra Tejnorová: Bluebeard/draebeulB and others). But at the same time, adaptations of world literature works (Oblomov by I. A. Goncharov, Elective Affinities by J. W. Goethe and others) and classic plays (Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Twelfth Night, Gogol’s The Government Inspector, Checkov’s Three Sisters and The Seagull and others) are an integral part of the Dejvické divadlo’s repertory.
In 20 years of existence the Dejvické divadlo has been awarded the Radok Prize as the Theatre of the Year four times. The performances Tales of Common Insanity and The Man Without a Past were awarded the prize for Best Play of 2001 and 2010 respectively. Many actors of the Dejvické divadlo have won prestigious theatre awards, e. g. Ivan Trojan (for his role as Oblomov), David Novotný (for his title role in The Man without a Past) or Václav Neužil (for his role as Mugsy in Dealer’s Choice).
Two successful films directed by Petr Zelenka were based on the Dejvické divadlo’s plays – Tales of Common Insanity and The Karamazovs.
The Dejvické divadlo is nowadays one of the most attended and most popular Czech theatres.