HomeInteresting PlacesThe Božena Němcová Theatre

The Božena Němcová Theatre historic buildings


Ruská 102
Františkovy Lázně
351 01



The Božena Němcová Theatre and the Municipal Cultural Centre of Františkovy Lázně are the cultural temple of the town, offering a varied programme including drama, operettas, and concerts. Aside from guest ensembles, the local amateur theatre company regularly performs on this scene.

Cultural events always belonged to, and we hope that they will continue to belong to, the spa life. Who would not like to be entertained? This is why Františkovy Lázně was sought out by roving actors and singers since it was established. There is proof that guests could watch performances here in the adapted ground-floor farmhouse by the Social Hall as early as 1808, where random and short-term troupes of actors performed farcical scenes with songs and couplets. These were seasonal events of a poor quality held in a poor setting. Perhaps a similar sentiment sharpened the pen of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who wrote the following about the performance "Simson” in his diary covering his journeys through the West Bohemian spas: “A sort of melodrama, which is in itself repulsive, was performed in an even more repulsive manner. The actors performed grotesquely. I did not hear one natural voice during the whole show. The women are hideous.” We mischievously point out that at the time, German theatre was played in our region.

The theatrical productions of the other building were, judging by the artistic troupes and the repertoire, of a much higher quality. The international spa was flourishing, and the town could afford to build a new theatre according to the plans of the Viennese architect Hügl. It was ceremoniously opened in June 1868 on the site where a theatre stands still today. The première performance was the operetta by Franz von Suppé, The Beautiful Galatea (Die schöne Galathée). The theatre also had professional management, and as a part of therapy, artists and troupes from, for example, Prague, Vienna, Berlin, and Munich performed here. The repertoire surely met the needs of the most demanding audience, and most often offered operettas such as The Beautiful Helen (La belle Hélène), The Gypsy Baron, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Bat (Die Fledermaus), Bluebeard, Boccaccio, or The Prince of Palermo (Boccaccio, oder Der Prinz von Palermo), The Bird Seller (Der Vogelhändler), Le postillon de Lonjumeau, The Grand Duchess of Gérolstein (La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein)… However, even this theatre with ancient Roman elements became too small in the 1920s, and the municipal council decided to expand it. The project was assigned to the professor of architecture, Artur Payer, from the German Technical College in Prague. Work was commenced on 14 November 1927, and in July of the next year, the Neo-Classicist building with Art Deco decorative elements already began to fulfil its purpose. In the days of the greatest public interest in the theatre, the so-called spa repertoire was performed daily, the most popular of which were the stagioni of the German and Czech opera and operetta troupes. The theatre was unaffected by the so-called modernisation, and so it has retained its charm, cosiness, and amiability to this day. It is no wonder that this fact is one of the main reasons for the uninterrupted post-war operations also of a local theatre company.