For more than a half of century, the revolving theatre in Český Krumlov has been a significant and world’s unique representative of a natural outdoor theatre with an original design and utilisation of the scenic space.
Despite the fact that the principle of the revolving theatre has been known for several centuries, it was introduced in the real theatre life as late as at the beginning of the 20th century by the prominent German theatre enthusiast A. Appia. In the Czech theatre life, Joan Brehms (1907 – 1995), an architect and stage designer of European significance, is the best representative of this theatrical phenomenon. In the year 1958 he designed an auditorium set in the surrounding landscape, which – thanks to the bidirectional rotation on its axis – allows the spectators to enjoy panoramic view of the action. The play may be performed anywhere around the spectators on the set with the area of one hectare. The auditorium revolves during the performance to allow watching the respective spot of “scenic action”, but there is also a possibility of mutual penetration of the play sets when the dramatic characters act.
The action set – stage consists of the vast space of the surrounding chateau park allowing to enjoy the uniqueness of the wonderful scenery of the chateau garden with hundreds years old trees, which create an inimitable atmosphere for the theatrical stories. In the case of musical production – opera and ballet performances, the combination of wonderful music, dance aesthetics and the surrounding nature is an extraordinary emotive experience.
The principle of revolving auditorium set in the chateau forest park with the Bellarie summer house in the Rococo style, is a big asset not disposed of even by the very famous open-air scenes, like the lake stage in Bregenz, the arena in Verona or the Mediterranean Greek amphitheatres.
Eighty plays as an average are performed here each year from June to September, attended by about 55,000 domestic and foreign spectators.
The South Bohemia Theatre seated in České Budějovice has been running the Revolving Theatre since it was established. All its four artistic ensembles are taking part in the theatre production in front of the revolving stage – the drama, opera and ballet ensembles and puppeteers. Operas and ballets with the world-famous guests and choreographers (soloists of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, National Theatre in Prague, or Jiří Menzel – a film director and Oscar winner, and many other top artists) are the most attractive performances for the spectators from abroad.
The revolving theatre in Český Krumlov belongs among the top European “open-air” scenes. Its uniqueness is emphasized by the fact that in the year 1992, Český Krumlov was included on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.