The Dramatic Ensemble
In the first years of existence of the South Bohemian Theatre, the Dramatic Ensemble was somewhat neglected. A turn came in 1925, when Stanislav Langer along with the dramaturge Josef Stejskal, was appointed to the position of the chief of the dramatic ensemble. However, in July 1929 all ensembles were disbanded. A certain revival was brought by the 1931-1932 season under director Bedřich Jeřábek and subsequently under his wife Monika. In 1936, Josef Stejskal became the head of the dramatic ensemble, and the ensemble acquired a clearly defined artistic perspective. The war years brought about a reversal: as of 15 April 1942, the activity of the South Bohemian National Theatre was officially prohibited.
After World War 2, Jaroslav Hurt and Karel Konstantin – heads of the theatre and directors, along with stage designer Joan Brehms – laid the foundations of the dramatic ensemble’s first-rate artistic activity, which would be continued at the beginning of the 1950s especially by Miroslav Macháček (head of the dramatic ensemble in the period of 1953-1956, whose production of Hamlet became the artistic milestone of the entire theatre), Otto Haas, Václav Hudeček, and Milan Fridrich. The impact of the dramatic ensemble reached the stages outside the historical building of the South Bohemian Theatre – the New Stage in the former Beseda building, the more intimate Divadélko pro 111 (Little Theatre for 111) and the Kruhové divadlo (the Round Theatre) in the Paradise Garden of the former Dominican Monastery, and also, starting in 1958, to the Open-Air Theatre with Revolving Auditorium in Český Krumlov. In the historical building of the South Bohemian Theatre, which was closed down for artistic purposes in 1972 for an intended reconstruction, the so-called studio stage remained in operation in the period of 1977-1983, bringing crucial impulses for the staging style of the dramatic ensemble.
The period of most significant social changes at the turn of the 1990s, may be characterised by efforts to enlarge the importance of the dramatic ensemble of the South Bohemian Theatre within the context of the Czech theatre as a whole, and to become open to new dramaturgy and staging styles. This can be credited especially to Jiří Šesták, who became its head as early as in 1989, and his successors Martin Hruška, Ivo Krobot, Martin Glaser, and currently Jana Kališová. The main objective remains an artistically demanding dramatic theatre that questions the meaning of human existence, a theatre that cannot exist without a demanding audience.