Beginning of Theatrical Culture in Český Krumlov (15th -16th centuries)

The tradition of theatre culture in Český Krumlov reaches back over five centuries. The first indirect news about the beginnings of theatre culture are associated with the name of the Rosenberg chancellor Václav z Rovného, who sometime in the 1480\'s transcribed the comedy "Polixena" from the Italian author Leonard Bruni. Other information tells us that Václav z Rovného brought the Dutch humanist Jakub Canter to the Rosenberg court in 1497 with the play "Rosa Rosensis", celebrating the royal Rosenberg dynasty.

Title page of Terentie´s Comedy from 1499

The first real blossoming of theatre life, however, came in the second half of the 16th century during the reign of Wilhelm von Rosenberg and Peter Wok von Rosenberg. The first news of theatre performances come from this time, which were the natural result of the rich societal contact with domestic and foreign aristocracy as well as the

Graphich page from Terentie´s Comedy

cultural standard of the Rosenberg court and the political standing of the ruler of the Rosenberg dominion. One of the oldest documents concerning the routine care of theatre school performances at the Rosenberg residence is news from the Krumlov priest Tomáš Bavorovský z Bavorova. The document is actually an invitation to a recently redirected theatre production, the premier of which was performed in German only a year ago in Krumlov. Václav Albín z Helfenburka.

Theatre creation and practice of that time took place in two places in Český Krumlov - on the castle and in the Jesuit college in the town (see Horní no. 154). On the 16th of May 1588, for example, the ceremonial opening of the newly-built college was marked by the dramatic performance of "Euripus", in 1590 a play was held about St. Vitus, and ten years later the Jesuit students put on a play at the castle, "Esther".

Title page from comedy Thebayda from 1534

The handwritten catalogue of the library of Peter Wok von Rosenberg from the beginning of the 17th century (today stored in the royal library in Stockholm) also lists a number of theatralia. Alongside Greek and Roman dramas, for example Aristophes, Sophocles, Euripides, Plato, Terentius and Seneca (mostly in 16th century publications), several Latin, German, and occasionally even Czech theatre productions were performed.

There is also documented evidence of a wooden theatre with moveable scenery on the court of the Krumlov Jesuit college (see Horní no. 153).