The Dejvice Theater needs a new impetus, says its future director Lukáš Průdek. For financing, it could try to get new donors in the regions and make more use of broadcasts to cinemas, such as this week’s last production of the Clogged System. Over 32,000 viewers watched this. Průdek will take up his position in January 2024, when he will end his nine years at the head of the South Bohemian Theater in Budějovice.
“Dejvické theater is celebrating 30 years, maybe it’s at a crossroads and needs a new impulse. If I go there, because I worked there, we can skip the phase of finding mutual trust,” says Průdek, who worked for the Prague scene for nine years as a representative directors and heads of marketing and production. He is still a member of the supervisory board of the Dejvice Theatre.
She will replace Blanka Cichon, who has led the institution since autumn 2019. “I think I can give the theater a new impetus. I have been in Budějovice for nine years, after which it would be time to change something again and I find it difficult to find motivation in myself,” adds the forty-year-old native from České Budějovice, who graduated from the department of production at Prague’s DAMU and a three-year education program in the field of arts management at the DeVos Institute at the Kennedy Center in Washington, USA.
The Dejvické Theater is a public benefit company, so it has different financing than the South Bohemian Theater as a contribution organization of the city. The Prague scene, which has been sold out for a long time, is about 50 percent self-sufficient, its main income is thanks to a four-year grant from the capital. “Four-year financing is a dream, because financing from year to year is difficult,” Průdek compares, saying that the South Bohemian Theater has a more difficult situation.
He perceives the “sincere” theatrical work, poetics and humor, through which the artists approach more serious topics, as the key values of the Dejvice Theatre. According to Průdek, content is more important than form. “I also like all of this as a spectator, it is the greatest value of the theatre. I am interested in whether new younger members can be recruited to the old troupe and continue in the Dejvice style. Then the Dejvické Theater has a huge reputation and it is a question of the management, what about such a famous theater to do,” he thinks.
He sees one possible way in transmissions to cinemas, such as this week’s recent production of Clogged System. It was broadcast by 129 cinemas, the total attendance exceeded 32 thousand viewers. Lukáš Průdek sees a business opportunity in similar models. He believes that due to the reduction of the state budget deficit, difficult times will come for culture. “And Dejvické divadlo can have an edge over other theaters in that it can be less dependent on public funds,” he thinks. Another option to get more money and improve salaries in the theater is a donors’ club, which would also appeal to sponsors in the regions.
Lukáš Průdek will become the head of the Dejvice Theater in January 2024. | Photo: CTK
Průdek worked at the South Bohemian Theater for nine years. Notable achievements during his era included the theater Bouda on Mariánské náměstí, where a new theater building could be built, or events connected with the anniversary of November 17, 1989. According to Průdek, the South Bohemian Theater is awaiting changes in some of the leading positions of the artistic ensembles. According to him, the theater could also make its studio stage more accessible to independent and amateur ensembles.
The South Bohemian Theater includes drama, opera, ballet and the Malé divadlo ensemble. This year, the operating contribution from the city of České Budějovice is almost 154 million crowns. It also plays on the turntable in Český Krumlov, which provides four fifths of all sales. The Dejvické Theater, which falls under the Municipal District of Prague 6, is approximately 50 percent self-sufficient. In 2021, it had 33.6 million crowns from grants from the municipality and the Ministry of Culture, 2.6 million from donations. It has around 50 employees, according to the annual report.
Video: Trailer from the broadcast of the production Clogged System
Over 32,000 people saw the last performance of the Clogged System from Prague’s Dejvický Theater in cinemas this week. | Video: Aerofilms
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