Miroslav Macháček

Miroslav Macháček
Miroslav Macháček

Miroslav Macháček (May 8, 1922 – February 17, 1991) was a Czech theatre director and actor.

Life and theatre career

Miroslav Macháček was born in Nymburk. His father was a car painter and a custodian of the theatre in Nymburk and sometimes worked as an actor and director, as well. Young Miroslav could see many famous Czech actors who were guests in the theatre. [1] His father enrolled him in a gymnasium, but he was expelled after a few years and had to study back at elementary school, and then he started to learn to be a hammerman in the Aero factory. [1] He took part in evening theatre rehearsals in Prague and met actors such as Jiří Sovák, Martin Růžek, Václav Voska etc. [1] He passed the exam to a theatre school but it was the time when all the higher level schools in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia were closed down. He entered the school after the war (Miloš Nedbal was his teacher[2]) and graduated in 1948. [1] At first he slept in the school building (Rudolfinum) and then with his schoolmates (e.g. Stanislav Remunda). [1] After school he worked in the Pardubice theatre and in 1950 he moved to Prague and started working for Realist theatre and DAMU (Theatre Conservatory). [2] A year later he was accused of revolting and spy contacts and was fired from the theatre as well as from the school. [2] He had to write an obligatory heart-searching confession. [1] He tried to commit suicide and eventually left for České Budějovice to work in the local theatre. [2] In 1956 (the time of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) he returned to Prague and in 1959 he started his career in the most prestigious theatre in the country – National Theatre. [2] He was a constituent member of the Činoherní klub (1965). [1] In April 1969 he left the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and had much trouble at work. He directed Shakespeare's Henry V; it was a remarkable success, although it was claimed to be anti-communist and Macháček had to stop working for TV and movies. [1] In 1975 he made a critical speech in the theatre (after the premiere of Optimistic Tragedy by Vsevolod Vishnevskiy[3]) and was forced to go to Psychiatric Hospital in Bohnice where he spent 117 days. [4] He came back to National Theatre and made his best plays, among them Naši Furianti by Ladislav Stroupežnický (premiered on 13 May 1979), often considered to be the best staging in the post-war history of Czech theatre. [2] He retired on 1 January 1989 but actively took part in the Velvet Revolution. [2]

He married Věra Štiborová in 1949 and had a daughter Kateřina, an actress. [2] It was not a happy marriage and they divorced when he met Ester Krumbachová, an actress, in České Budějovice. [1] They parted in the early 1960s and Macháček started a relationship with Jana Břežková. [1] His daughter Kateřina edited her father's notes from the hospital under the name Notes from a Madhouse (Zápisky z blázince, 1995). [2] Her own 300-page biographical book about her father will come out in 2009. [5]


Miroslav Macháček played roles in Czech films:

  • Ďáblova past (František Vláčil 1961)
  • Valley of the Bees (1967)
  • Stín kapradiny (František Vláčil, 1984)
  • Skalpel, prosím (Jiří Svoboda, 1985). [2]
  • Wolf's Hole (1987)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Miroslav Macháček: Zápisky z blázince, [ISBN 978-80-87128-04-06] (Czech)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Czech and Slovak Movie Database, [1](Czech)
  3. ^ Reflex 41/2007, [2](Czech)
  4. ^ Jindřich Pokorný: Paměť divadelníkova a blázinec doby, in: Revolver Revue, 3/1995 (Czech)
  5. ^ Kosmas, internet bookstore [3](Czech)

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