history and present
The joint performance of Min Tanaka and John Cale, which officially opened the Archa Theatre in 1994, was a clear hint about the future direction of the theatre’s dramaturgy. The encounter of a Japanese dancer and an American musician symbolized the connection of two cultures, two genres and two continents. The Archa Theatre is a place of encounters. The purpose of these encounters is to examine the possibilities of art and through it to affect and inspire people’s lives at the start of the third millennium.
Over the past 28 years Archa has welcomed “on board” renowned figures of world art. Among them are director Robert Wilson, choreographers Wim Vandekeybus, Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker and Jan Fabre, and musicians David Byrne, Randy Newman, Philip Glass, Diamanda Galás, Meredith Monk, Patti Smith, Einstürzende Neubauten, Tindersticks, White Stripes, The National, Sonic Youth, CocoRosie and many others. Among the companies that have performed here are the Royal Shakespeare Company, Cheek By Jowl, Ultima Vez, DV8, Handspring Puppet Company, Dogtroep, Forced Entertainment, Campo Theatre and Pieter de Buysser. Allen Ginsberg and Lou Reed both had some of their last performances here.
With its unique dramaturgy, innovative projects that cross the boundaries of artistic genres and cutting-edge technical capabilities, Archa has established a solid reputation on the domestic and international progressive scenes. It operates as a production house that provides space to artists for their creative work. This enables the theatre to create its own projects as well as host ensembles and artists both from the Czech Republic and abroad.
Several original projects are created at Archa each year, which are then presented in a series of performances. In this way, artists such as Peter Schumann, Min Tanaka and The Residents among many others have created original works under the production of the Archa Theatre. An important focal point of the Archa Theatre’s dramaturgy is documentary theatre, where real stories are staged together with their real-life protagonists. These performances are often about the problems of marginalized social groups.
In the dramaturgy of the Archa Theatre socialspecific and documentary theatre is ranked at the same artistic level as other forms of theatre. Archa also works in this way in the international context, where it is involved in international projects and each year organizes the International Festival of Documentary Theatre AKCENT.
The Archa Theatre is an integral part of international networks and projects. As part of the European project House on Fire it co-produced the performances We Are your Friends (Die Warme Winkel), Inventory of Powerlessness (Edit Kaldor), The Rite of Spring (She She Pop and their mothers), and Landscape with Skiproads (Pieter De Buysser).
As part of the European project Theatron the Archa Theatre advanced the theme of audience development. Unique in Europe was the audience exchange program with the Hellerau Centre for European Art in Dresden.
Archa Theatre is a member of IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts, one of the oldest and largest international cultural networks.