The History of Slovak Theatre – 3. Network of Theatres
The creation of a professional theatre network in Slovakia depended to a large extent on the social and political climate in the country; by the same token the issue of foundation of new theatres and demise of the existing ones often times came from above – by the decision of the government institutions.
During the time period of the first Czechoslovak Republic, in addition to the Slovak National Theatre, other theatre companies formed privately. They had a pronounced travelling character and their production focused on the regions. In the early 1940s, natural pressure emerged to create permanent theatre stages.
As the network of stone theatres formed after World War II, this paradigm became a rigid organizational model for a long time, thus preventing the formation of theatres based on regional, generational and artistic principles. Certain relaxation came in the 1960s which saw the rise of multiple new forms and genres, which quickly ceased to exist due to political powers. Studio theatres emerged during the years of normalization, but they also generally lasted only very briefly. In 1948, six permanent stages were in operation with the rising, but not quite adequate tendency to expand, and in 1989 we noted a total of 21 permanent professional stages.
A significant change in the area of organization of the Slovak theatre only came after 1989. At the turn of the millenium we had 56 permanent theatre stages. Independent creators and particularly the independent and commercially successfull theatres started to fully participate. In the last decade we see the rising emergence of multifunctional cultural centres that do not shy away from the performance arts. The today’s network of theatres in Slovakia has many branches and counts close to 200 theatres and theatre ensembles (with or without a permanent stage), as well as independently functioning performers and dancers.
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