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Jan Burian, general director


doc. MgA. Jan Burian, General Director of the National Theatre

Between 1995 and 2013, Jan Burian served as director of the multi-ensemble J. K. Tyl Theatre in Plzeň, whose repertoire encompasses drama, opera, ballet, musicals and operetta.

In 1984 he completed his studies of stage direction at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, while in the final year at the school he worked as stage director at the Satirické divadlo Večerní Brno (Evening Brno Satirical Theatre). His first engagement as a stage director was at the O. Stibor Theatre in Olomouc. In 1986 he worked for the first time as a guest director in Plzeň, where in the following year he was engaged. Until 1989, when he assumed the post of Artistic Director of the Drama section in Plzeň, he staged a number of remarkable productions of controversial titles (Mikhail Bulgakov: Adam and Eve, Karel Steigerwald: The Tartar Pilgrimage, Alexander Kazantsev: Eve’s Dreams – Czechoslovak premiere). In 1990 he directed the Czechoslovak premiere of Václav Havel’s Temptation. From 1991 to 1995 he worked as a stage director at the Vinohrady Theatre in Prague.

In May 1995 he was appointed General Director of the J. K. Tyl Theatre in Plzeň, where he created productions encompassing a wide range of genres, from grand classical plays (Shakespeare, Lorca, Miller, O’Neill) to contemporary Czech and international drama. He also staged several operas (Rusalka, Carmen, The Lantern, Il trovatore, Jenufa). During his tenure in Plzeň, he prepared world premieres of two Pavel Kohout plays – The Zeros and Arthur’s Bolero. Subsequently, in 2002, upon the invitation of Oleg Tabakov, Artistic Director of the Moscow Art Theatre (MKHAT), he prepared The Zeros and in so doing became the first Czech stage director to have worked for this world-renowned theatre.

Since 1990 he has taught stage direction at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, since 1992 he has been the head of the drama department. In 2004 he was appointed senior lecturer.

Jan Burian is the director of the Theatre International Festival, the most significant event of its kind in the Czech Republic, and Vice-President of the Czech Centre of the ITI/UNESCO. As Chairman of the Association of Professional Theatres of the Czech Republic and Vice-President of the Union of Employer Associations, he represents Czech professional theatre at negotiations at both the national and European level. His managerial work has been praised within the Czech and international context. Jan Burian also played a major role in getting a new theatre constructed in Plzeň.