We are happy to report on Prague’s newest theater company, “the Prague Horrortheater”.
Founded in 2011 as the “Cologne Horror Theater”, they showed tongue-in-cheek pieces in the tradition of the French horror theater Grand Guignol in the series of plays titled “Das Kabinett des Doktor Tumblety”, which covered the entire spectrum of the genre with a wide variety of focuses, until 2015
The group used different techniques – scenes were supplemented by monologues, sound recordings and read texts – to show the various facets of this genre of theater, from intimate chamber play-like horror stories to lurid short acts. They also adapted stories and legends from different countries:
Victorian horror stories, Belle Époque literature, late medieval dramas, legends of the American War of Independence and Russian fairy tales are some of the themes of their past and future productions.
From 2013 to 2014 they toured across Germany, from Hamburg to Stuttgart, from Berlin to Bonn, and afterwards settled in Hamburg. Around the time they stared developing three radio plays in cooperation with the Aachen University Radio, “The Judge’s House”, “Dracula” and “Prometheus or How Frankenstein Came Into the World”.
In addition, they are still on the road (in Germany, the Czech republic, France and Switzerland) with readings of classic horror literature, and also work with youth institutions. The cast also held horror theater courses at various schools, such as Frankfurt, Bonn and of course Hamburg.
Serious horror dramas have been added to the program since 2015, starting with “The Daughter of Fantômas”, based on the French horror novels from the turn of the century.
This full length thriller was an theatrical experiment: Filled with surreal characters and accompanied by electronic music, a good hundred quotes from classical literature are woven into the text of the piece, so Marcel Proust stands next to Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde can be found in the same sentence as the Marquis de Sade, Guillaume Apollinaire or Gaston Leroux, all put into a straightforward text.
In 2016, the already mentioned piece “Prometheus” followed, inspired by the genesis of the novel Frankenstein, presented for the first time not on stage but as a radio play. In 2017, with “The Secrets of the Phantom of the Opera”, they presented their first lecture on the background of a horror novel, showed the two-person thriller “Dracula’s Guest” and shot their first short film, “Poe in Urban Spaces”. In the autumn of the same year they opened their own reading stage in Hamburg’s Gängeviertel, the then occupied alternative cultural centre.
2018 began with a globally unique project, the “Hamburg Horror Slam”. Their third full length drama, “Masters of the Trap Doors” premiered after 6 years of work in September 2018, one month before the group’s first novel – and thus the first ever novel by a Hamburg theater group – was published: “Fantômas and the Secret of the Phantom of the Opera”. In this book by artistic director Gordon L. Schmitz, hailed as “brilliant” by the press and written in five different writing styles, light is shed on the background & connections between the sources of the groups most successful plays, wrapped in a surreal thriller story.
Their drama “Dracula’s Guest” was made into a short film in the summer of 2021 by an award-winning team, including Dimitris Dodoras, who just won the “Hollywood Music In Media Award”. The film will be released in May 2022, to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first publication of “Dracula”.
In autumn 2021 the group moved to Prague and was able to present film screenings and readings with their new, international team before they start their main English-language program at the end of February, the resumption of the Grand Guingol series “The Cabinet of Doctor Tumblety”. They are constantly looking for new authors for this regular series, regardless of whether they already have writing experience or have always wanted to try their hand at something.
Interested artists – from any artistic field – are welcome to contact them at any time! Just send an e-mail to [email protected]
The first event in the series “The Cabinet of Doctor Tumblety” will take place on February 26, 2022 at 8 p.m. at the tea house “A Maze in Tchaiovna”. Everyone can pay what they want as entry.