This majestic historical building on the river bank is a great place to visit when you want to explore more about Czech culture. National Theatre has a stunning performances of drama, ballet, and opera that features both the Czech history and contemporary society. A few years ago, I visited almost all of them, and I am coming back for the new one nearly every month because it’s just worthwhile.
Stages of the National Theatre
Today, the National Theatre is performing in three main building. First is the historical building on the river bank. Second is the New Stage, the modern building just next to the historical one. The third one is the Estate Theatre located at Ovocný trh in the center of Prague. This article is about the main building on the river bank that you can recognize on distance by the distinct black-golden roof.
The Repertoire of the National Theatre
Repertoire features both the classical Czech heritage as well as modern authors. My favorites are ballet performances, especially the modern one such as Slavic Temper. Ballet and opera are always English friendly, so have a look at the program here. Drama is a different story in the National Theatre. It’s just a completely unique experience that is not comparable with any other performances in the Czech Republic. The visual style of stage design and costumes together with unique scenography is always a great experience. The classical stories such as Pride and Prejudice, Manon Lescaut, A Midsummer Night’s Dream or other typical Czech plays are somehow contemporary, vibrant, enjoyable and fun. Since the drama is not always English friendly, there are occasionally subtitles. Check the available subtitles in the program, before you purchase the tickets.
Bit of History
The story of the construction is super-important for the Czechs. Since we were part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire and strived for independent Czech culture, ordinary people provided money for the building of an independent Czech theatre that was finally opened in 1881. Unfortunately, the theatre was destroyed by fire and finally reopened in 1883. This piece of history formed our Czech identity, and the National theatre still represents the main stage of our cultural history.
The building itself is a treasure worthwhile to discover. Underground, you will find several original stones brought from around the country. What I love are outside balconies with a stunning view of the Prague Castle. It’s worthwhile to come earlier, have a glass of wine at the balcony and enjoy the sunset. Just have a look on pictures, it was such a pleasant experience.
How to get to the National Theatre:
The best way is to take a tram number (2, 9, 17, 18, 22, 23) that stops by the theatre. The closest metro station is Národní třída. If you want to sit down for coffee/snack before or after the performance, I would definitely recommend you SmetanaQ just around the corner, and with a great view…
Address: Národní 4, Prague 1
Map: click here