Švandovo divadlo celebrates 135th anniversary

The city's third-oldest theater has had many names over the years

Švandovo divadlo in Prague's Smíchov district will celebrate the 135th anniversary of its opening on Oct. 1 with a performance of Cry, Baby, Cry, one of its more popular productions. The show has English supertitles. There will be the opening of a new mural before the show and it will be followed by a concert featuring Alo Trio, an all-female band, along with some local jazz guests.

The new mural is by Slovak artist by Jozef Hugo Čačko will be unveiled at 5:30. It explores the connections between the performing arts and social media. The new mural replaces one made in 2012 by German artist Klaus Voormann, who designed the cover the Beatles' 1966 album Revolver as well as the covers for the Beatles Anthology series in the 1990s. He also played bass as a studio musician in the 1970s.

The play Cry, Baby, Cry has been running at the theater since 2013. It is about five women who attend a popular self-help course to find out how to change their lives. The comedy asks whether anyone can teach us to be happy.

Švandovo divadlo is the third-oldest theater in Prague. It opened in 1881 with a performance of the opera Hubička by Bedřich Smetana. The new theater replaced the uncovered Eggenberg Arena operated by Pavel Švanda that had been operating since 1871.

The theater was radically redesigned inside in 1900, and that basic layout has continued. It has gone through several owners and names in its history, and also has some periods of inactivity. It was called Intimní divadlo in 1908, Divadlo Vlasty Buriana in 1928, and Divadlo komiků in 1931. It became Švandovo divadlo again in 1932. After World War II it was Realistické divadlo and then after 1953 it was Realistické divadlo Zdeňka Nejedlého.

In 1991 it became Divadlo Labyrint, and in 1998 it was closed for a renovation. It reopened as Švandovo divadlo na Smíchově in 2002. It currently attracts around 50,000 visitors each year and is supported by the city and the Prague 5 district.

The theater can seat 300 visitors in its main hall and between 50 and 80 visitors in the lower studio. It also has two fully equipped rehearsal rooms and a recording studio.

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