Jan Dušek

(*1942)
Theatre stage designer

Jan Dušek has designed more than five hundred stage settings and his work represents one of the most distinctive personalities of Czech scenography. His designs, depiction of the space and costumes, are often based on actor’s action theatre. Thus, he creates scenes using the most common objects suitable for the metaphoric development and often works with materials like ropes, linen, carpets, cardboard, which allow for variability and they communicate with actors and dancers with their functionalities.

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Jan Dušek commenced his professional career in the Petr Bezruč Theatre in Ostrava. Then he worked in the National Theatre in Prague with his first scenographic work of Adam and Eve (1978) directed by Jaromír Pleskot. Productions like Danton’s Death (1989), Henry IV (1987) or Mikveh, which is still in the repertoire (2008). He also worked with director Evald Schorm for over twenty years and they prepared many productions, mainly for the Theatre on the Balustrade: The Brothers Karamazov (1979), Don Juan (1977), Macbeth (1984), Loud Solitude (1984), Histrionics (1999) and others.

Dušek is also engaged in scenographic designs for opera and dance theatre. The selected opera set designs are: The Pearl Fishers (Janáček Theatre Brno, 1996), The Child and the Spells (Janáček Theatre Brno, 1999), Madame Butterfly (J. K. Tyl Theatre Plzeň, 2000), The Ploughman and Death (State Opera Prague, 2003). He also cooperated with dance theatre directors and choreographers, such as Pavel Šmok (From My Life, The Trojan Women, Mahen Theatre Brno, 1997, Transfigured Night, Municipal Theatre Mladá Boleslav, 1986), Luboš Ogoun, Jan Klár, or most recently with Petr Zuska in the National Theatre in Prague (The Rite of Spring, 2010, Brel – Vysotsky – Kryl / Solo for Three, 2007). He also designed stage setting and costumes for Ladislav Fialka’s pantomime productions at the Theatre on the Balustrade – The Button (1968) and Noss (1981), which were based on the assumption that costumes should serve as a prop on a body.

Jan Dušek studied Václav Hollar Art School and scenography in Professor František Tröster’s studio at the Theatre Faculty, Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. He has been teaching there since 1977 and has been the head of the Scenography Department since 2010. He has participated in many exhibitions and has received many prizes and awards (Biennial Novi Sad 1974, Alfréd Radok Award 1997). He is also associated with theatres in Germany, Poland and the USA.

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