Black Light Theatre Srnec

"Celebration of the human imagination and dreams in contrast to today's busy world around us, because imagination is at the core of black light theatre."

Since its foundation, the Black Light Theatre Jiří Srnec has been one of the most famous representatives of the Czech theatre in the world. The ensemble was founded in 1961 amid the then emerging avant-garde theatre era, and from the very beginning it has drawn attention as a company of remarkable artistic quality which far exceeds with its repertoire most of its contemporaries. The principle, the theatre was endowed by Jiří Srnec - the founder and artistic director of the group - is based on the creative use of a simple trick, called the "black cabinet," where actors draped head to toe in black acting with props are invisible against the black background from the perspective of the viewer. The props, items, or objects thus become capable of movement and thus are imbued with their own distinctive life. However, Jiří Srnec and his theatre do not view the trick effect as an end in itself but merely a means to achieve a scenic and mimic metaphor, plus a strong stage expression realised through the musically organised movement of artistic objects and actors.

The first performance of the ensemble took place in 1959 in Vienna. It immediately gained the group an international reputation. However, the real debut for the ensemble took place at the theatre festival in Edinburgh in 1962. The performance in the completely sold out festival arena was awarded with standing ovations and definitely opened the door for the Black Light Theatre of Jiří Srnec to renowned theatres around the world. Subsequent performances in Europe, America, Australia, Africa and Asia followed. To this day, the theatre has hosted over 300 international tours and has participated in 82 theatre festivals. Under the artistic direction of Jiří Srnec the group has received several awards from audiences and critics, for example Premio Teatral "Juana Sujo", Caracas, MAMBO pub in Barcelona, Premio del Teatro El Espectador y la Critica Madrid, Premio - mejor cojunto Extranjera Vina del Mar, and the Premium World-Fest Certificate in Missouri. In 2002 the ensemble was selected to represent Czech culture at the NATO Summit meeting in Prague.

Up to this day, more than 5 million viewers in 68 countries such as Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Islands, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, Chile, China, Croatia, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Colombia, Cuba, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madeira, Hungary, Morocco Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tasmania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Yugoslavia have seen Black Light Theatre performances.

Currently, the Black Light Theatre ensemble consists of young dynamic performers – dancers, actors and mimes. A touring ensemble which, due to its extraordinary mobility, performs almost continuously abroad, and in years of globetrotting has gained a unique position in the European and world culture, is the soul of the theatre. Since 1993, the group has been supplemented with a Prague-based ensemble, which during regular rehearsals educates promising young artists for future black light theatre practice.

Since 1999, the Black Light Theatre has averaged 200 performances a year. Up to this day, the troupe has presented 20 original black light theatre productions. The most recent one called The Flying Velocipede has already been successfully shown in Greece, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. In 2011 the Black Light Theatre of Jiří Srnec created for the Laterna Magica stage a production called "Legends of Magic Prague".

What has been said about the ensemble:
The Black Theatre Prague reminds one of a proverb by Victor Hugo according to which "behind every thing you see there is a fairy hiding." It brings the audience back to the world of dream poetry; to the world wonders of childhood.
~ La Libre Belgique ~

The Black Light Theatre is a collection of strange and fascinating magic. I mean real magic, that is the nonstop running, unbelievably smooth, amusing, and absolutely fascinating surreal stream, which is just as simple as it should be – i.e. incredibly complicated in the background. It is really good.
~ The Province ~

∼ The Vancouver Sun ∼
The surreal world created by Jiří Srnec and his talented actors and illusionists seems to be just one step removed from the world created by Hieronymus Bosch many years ago, and by Salvatore Dali, Max Ernst and Picabia not so long ago. It's a dream world ... Black Light Theatre Prague is a must to see and feel. It delivers a unique and mutable experience to those who surrender to its strange power.
~ The Vancouver Sun ~

The Black Light Theatre is lively and fascinating, especially in short scenes, when eleven actors and their invisible colleagues move in silent joy within Srnec's strange dream world. It is worth it to see them, because their stage is a unique playground of absurdity without compromise.
~ Philadelphia Daily News ~

Fascinating stage magic, playfulness and liberating imagination. The Black Theatre Prague can be dubbed the most original stage organization in the world, and I do not know how anyone could deny this statement.
~ The New York Post ~

The ensemble is masterful and resourceful as always and full of imagination, while it has retained its almost childlike innocence, which is one of its most endearing qualities.
~ The Gazette, Montreal ~

A variety of tricks, a brilliant combination of movement and music, facial expressions, puppetry and pure stage magic zooms out of the darkness. It's a brilliant and remarkable show.
~ Daily Mail ~

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