Our History

Czech theatre studies had been inaugurated with Otakar Zich’s aesthetic analysis of dramatic art presented in his lectures and treatises between 1913 and 1934. Zich’s The Aesthetics of Dramatic Art, Theoretical Dramaturgy (Estetika dramatického umění, Teoretická dramaturgie, 1931), a seminal work summarizing Zich’s theoretical classification of dramatic art (i.e. what we ususally call theatre), paved the way for Czech theatrology. Nonetheless, Zich’s work and academic lectures had not established theatre studies as an autonomus field of study. It was only Czech structuralist school (Prague Linguistic Circle, frequently called Prague School), influenced by Zich’s examination of dramatic art as well as Russian formalism, which fundamentally contributed to the formation of theatre studies as an independent academic discipline with its own methodology and subject matter. Structuralists‘ perspectives co-existed and resonated with contemporary leftist-oriented Czech theatre avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s whose artistically provoking, metaphorical productions stimulated the development of structuralist theory . In 1937-38, Jan Mukařovský, the leading figure of Czech structuralism and professor at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, Prague, focused on academic lectures exploring the aesthetics of drama and opened a theatre seminar. Post-war re-opening of Czech universities enabled Mukařovský to resume his theatre seminar at the Faculty of Arts, and in 1948 introduce a new academic program – theatre studies – of which he was the first department head. After February coup d’état (1948), Department of Theatre Studies was moved to The Academy of Performing Arts, Prague (DAMU). In 1960, the department moved back to the Faculty of Arts and slowly re-gained its original academic mandate. The head of department, Jan Kopecký, along with his colleagues specialized in the research into the Czech theatre history and history of European and other world theatre cultures. Faculty members also laid the foundation of Cabinet of Czech Theatre Studies of Czechoslovakian Academy of Science and initiated a comprehensive, 4-volume publication, Czech Theatre (known as “academic history of Czech theatre”). In 1969, an affiliated Department of Film Studies was opened and at the beginning of the 1970s the Department of Musicology, Film and Theatre Studies was established with a new department head – Miroslav Kouřil.  During the last two decades of Communist regime (the so-called period of normalization), department continued in its previous program, i.e. research into various periods of Czech and foreign theatre and drama history.  In 1994, Petr Pavlovský was appointed as a new department head. During this period, Department of Theatre Studies separated from the Department of Film Studies (1996). In 2007, Petr Christov assumed a department head position.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!