Black Light Theatre of Prague

About us

Theatre History

In the spring of 1987, Michal Kocourek started forging the concept of a modern multi-genre theatre. He assembled a team of collaborators who helped germinate the idea of a stage that would combine black theatre — as a traditional Czech dramatic form — with elements from musicals, dance or pantomime. A unique type of synthetic theatre was thus born. However, during the communist regime, the company faced increasing obstacles of a bureaucratic nature. Further growth was therefore possible only after the fall of the totalitarian system and the advent of artistic (as well as general) freedom. In April 1990, a first show, entitled Dreams, is put together. The play was very warmly received by both the public and reviewers. The company became increasingly popular during the latter half of 1990, with over 130 performances in three months at the Albatros Theatre in Prague. The Black Light Theatre of Prague thus became on of the few Czech theatres able to subsist without subsidies from the municipality or state. Its shows quickly reached audiences in Yugoslavia, Austria, as well as Germany, and more international appearances soon followed. In 1991, the company moved to the Celetná Street Theatre, and two years later, its current home stage in Rytířská Street Theatre was opened. That same year, a new show appeared on the program, titled The Magic Universe, followed by the no less successful Black Light Concert, Faust — A Man Between God and Devil, The Adventures of Dr. Faust and finally, The Colour Dreams of Dr. Frankenstein. In 2003, the company was joined by Pavel Hortek, who had spent nearly 20 years at the original black theatre as manager and producer and was the man behind all of its greatest successes. He brought along the best actors in the field and the Black Light Theatre of Prague literally started conquering the entire world. In 25 years of existence, our theatre’s performances were viewed by more than 1,000,000 spectators, not counting thousands of others during frequent international tours. There are many places around the world that the theatre returns to regularly. The Black Light Theatre of Prague’s creative team includes producer, artistic director and author Michal Kocourek, stage director Ivan Holeček, artistic designer Daniel Šedivák, stage director Pavel Toman, composer Jiří Doubek, or lyricist Pavel Kácha.
The name of the ensemble — Černé divadlo Praha (Black Light Theatre of Prague) — is a registered trade mark, which means that no other ensemble in the world is allowed to use it.

How Black Theatre Works

Black theatre is based on the creative exploration of a trick whose essence was thought up perhaps thousands of years ago in ancient Asia, the so-called black cabinet. Yet prior to the appearance of the first black theatre company, this technique had already been exploited by illusionists, filmmakers (Méliès) and, in the 1930s, by famous theatre practitioner K. S. Stanislavski. Today, such luminaries as the world’s most famous illusionist David Copperfield, as well as other artists, continue using this technique during their live shows.
Black theatre interacts with spectators via music, expressive dance, and its specific formal means, without having recourse to spoken words. Black theatre has a characteristic tinge of elusive mystery which you won’t find in any other art form, and which is accessible to everyone, irrespective of cultural differences.
In practice, this means that invisible actors and dancers are able to imbue inanimate objects with life and skilfully act through them. The objects awaken to life, dancing, revolving gracefully around the invisible actors. All black theatre shows are therefore cosmopolitan and accessible; what is more, they force the spectator to transgress passive viewerhood into active co-shaping of the creative experience.
Black theatre makes literally anything possible. Its stage is set for experiences which no other theatre can rival. It is truly a small theatre of great miracles. It brings theatrical magic back to the stage.

About the theatre