The Vosto5 Theatre was founded in Prague in 1996 by Ondřej Cihlář, David Kašpar and Petr Prokop. It is an independent, generational troupe that creates original productions characterized by a wide range of themes and genres combined with original writing and fresh humour, which is both edgy and ironic. The work of the Vosto5 Theatre combines references to modern cabaret and allusions to humorous texts, which together with natural improvisation are at the heart of all the group’s performances.
Over the course of its existence, Vosto5 has primarily sought new pathways for live communication with the audience through its work. It explores how to activate the audience, how to organically connect it with the ever-changing, lively and transitory structure of theatrical performances, how to draw its perception beyond the norm. At the same time, in its typically satirical way, Vosto5 opens up purely Czech social themes via iconic Czech cultural phenomena, whether Josef Lada, Sněžka, the mythical Pérák or Hanč and Vrbata. The themes of each production combine interest in Czech topics, events and stories as ingredients which in the fusion boiler of our society and history create and root our complicated national identity. Vosto5 does not idealize the features of our national character but rather shows it in all its complexity and ambiguity – but always with a conspiratorial sense of detachment and perspective. In its works it tries not to guide or judge, but rather to taste and experience, or in the case of freer structures, to be directly at the creation of the theatrical situation, gag or event.
Vosto5 is a live creative organism with an unusually wide range of sizes and types of productions: from operating the “Stand’art” Theatre – a theatre, café and dance hall in an old military tent (2003 – 2009), to creating an entirely improvised Stand’art cabaret with a variable cast of two to five actors and chamber puppet performances (Hrusice 1907, Vajce), to firmly fixed and technically complicated stage works, such as the action historical fiction Pérák – What’s in a name? It’s actions that count! at the Archa Theatre or the moving pub site-specific Brass Band featuring almost 30 performers of all generations played among the tables of the Baráčnická rychta dance hall in Mala Strana or the Domovina venue in Holešovice.
In Prague, Vosto5 operates at present as a home company in the cultural palace Vzlet in Vršovice and as a permanent guest of the Ypsilon Studio, the Jatka78 Theatre and the Archa Theatre. The theatre also cooperates long-term with the 4+4 Days in Motion Festival and stages its performances at festivals and guest performances throughout the Czech Republic and abroad.
In addition to theatre, Vosto5 has also created numerous television skits for Czech TV and the music television station Óčko. It has also created radio plays, such as the production of Košičan or the cabaret performances Red Wave created for Czech Radio. The theatre also presents its regular talk show Kupé v lese, which regularly hosts fascinating social and cultural figures.
The core of the theatre is made up of five artists and actors – Petr Prokop, Ondřej Cihlář, Jiří Havelka, Tomáš Jeřábek and Ondřej Bauer – who in addition to their activities in Vosto5 have also enjoyed success in their own work and other activities outside of the group.
Vosto5 has received several awards for its work: Next Wave Festival award for the STAND’ART Cabaret project, nomination for the Theatre News Award 2011/2012 in the Alternative Theatre category for Pérák, nomination for the Prix Bohemia Radio 2013 in the Drama category for the radio adaptation of Košičan, honourable mention from the jury at Skupova Plzeň 2014 for The Tears of Weathered Men and 4th place in a survey by Theatre News for the Production of the Year 2013, 3rd place in the Alfred Radok Awards in the category of Play of the Year, and winner in the Theatre News Awards 2013/14 in the Alternative Theatre category for Brass Band.
Vosto5’s repertoire currently includes the productions Stand’art Cabaret, Košičan 3, PROTON !!!, Colonization – A New Origin, the theatre happening Clash of the Titans, The Tears of Weathered Men, Awakening and the talk show Kupé v lese. In addition to its own works, the VOSTO5 Theatre also collaborates with allied artists from the areas of film, visual arts and music.