Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Czech Theatre

History of the Czech Collections at the Theatre Research Institute

Metaphor and Irony: Czech Theatre Design from 1920 to 1999
Metaphor and Irony: Czech Theatre Design from 1920 to 1999

The Czech Republic is a meeting point of cultural influences from around the world, and as such is a breeding ground for great art and great artists. The Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute has been acquiring Czech design since 1997.  Since that time the Institute collections in Czech design and theatre have continued to grown.  The OSU Department of Theatre has forged a strong relationship with modern Czech theatre beginning in fall 2000 when designer Jaroslav Malina was a guest artist in residence in the OSU Department of Theatre in 2000, and designer and director Petr Matásek was in residence, teaching a design workshop, in 2004.  Designer Jan Štěpánek will be in residence fall 2010. 

Dr. Joe Brandesky has curated two major exhibitions on Czech theatre design. The first, Metaphor and Irony: Czech Theatre Design from 1920 to 1999 took place at the Ohio Arts Council Riffe Gallery in fall 2000 and then had a national tour.

Metaphor and Irony 2
Metaphor and Irony 2

The second, Metaphor and Irony II took place at multiple venues on the OSU campus in fall 2004. Both of these shows, supported by the Department of Theatre, exhibited stunning examples of contemporary Czech theatre design, a number of which were acquired by the Theatre Research Institute.

The Collections

The papers of Jarka Burian, the foremost English language scholar on Czech theatre, offers a tremendous resource for researchers interested in Czech theatre.

The Burian collection contains papers, posters, programs, and other materials assembled by the leading American scholar on Czech theatre, culture, and politics.  From the 1960s, Burian was involved in active scholarly research, wrote and published five books, many dozen articles and studies, published in the United States as well as abroad, most of them dealing with Czech theatre and international design, most as results from various research grants (Fulbright and Irex).  After becoming professor emeritus at the University at Albany in 1992, he continued to pursue research in the Czech Republic. A major focus of his work was Czech scenographer Josef Svoboda.  The collection includes not only material documenting theatre and performance, but also major cultural and political events during the many years of the Burians’ research leaves to Prague including Prague Spring. The collection is the gift of Jarka and Grayce Susan Burian.

The Czech Scene and Costume Design Collection currently holds original artwork, posters, and photographs of work representing artists including:

Helena Anýžová                     Petr Matásek                         Egon L. Tobiáš ;

Jan Dušek                              Cestmir Pechr                        František Tröster

Marketa Fantova                    Marta Roszkopfová               Jan Vančura ;

Marie Franková                      Jan Sládek                             Ladislav Vychodil

Gottlieb, Jan Matej                 Katerina Štefková                  Jana Zbořilová

Vlasitslav Hofman                  Zuzana Štefunková                Ivo Žídek

Josef Jelínek                         Jan Štěpánek