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Zdeňka Kratochvílová (1936) - Biography

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We’ll meet up in two years, we’ll be loyal, and we’ll do pantomime again!

Zdeňka Kratochvílová was born on 14 November 1936 in Prague. Her family lived in a villa in Hanspaulka, her father was a lawyer and her mother was a housewife. After 1948 the family was forced to take in lodgers. Her father fell ill from the strain of the political upheaval, and the family was provided for by her mother, who worked as an accountant. Zdeňka graduated from dancing at a conservatoire, and she and other of her classmates joined the pantomime group of Ladislav Fialka. They presented their first production, Námořníci (Sailors), in the courtyard of the Klementinum in Prague in 1956. When their leader Fialka returned from military service, the group was a founding party of Na Zábradlí (Railings) Theatre, together with other young artists, such as Jiří Suchý, Jiří Srnec, Richard Weber, or Ivan Vyskočil. For the theatre's first performance, Kdyby tisíc klarinetů (If A Thousand Clarinets), Zdeňka Kratochvílová played the role of a dancer. Fialka's pantomime group found its home at Na Zábradlí Theatre, and it grew and developed. Success was soon to follow - the group made a name for itself at the international pantomime festivals in West Berlin and London. Zdeňka Kratochvílová married Ladislav Fialka in 1969, but the marriage did not last long. After the divorce Zdeňka gradually stopped working at Na Zábradlí and began performing with a figure of her own design - Animuk (Notaword) the Clown. Together with her former Na Zábradlí colleague, the director Lída Engelová, she founded the Pocket Theatre, which produced children's plays. Their home scene was the theatre hall of the publishing house Albatros. They also toured abroad. They collaborated with the actor Ladislav Mrkvička, who played Animuk's opposite, Anikrok (Notastep) the Clown. From the mid-1970s Zdeňka Kratochvílová taught at the Prague Conservatoire and later also at DAMU, the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where she continues to teach at the Department of Authorial Creativity and Pedagogy.

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