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We share with you this sad news that our colleagues from ASSITEJ Czech Republic sent to us.

Jan Borna

Czech Director, Playwright and Poet

It is with deep regret that we inform you director, playwright and poet Jan Borna (* 25.08 1960 in Pribram, Czech Republic) died on January 16, 2017. He was one of the most important personalities of contemporary Czech theater, and won numerous awards mainly in the field of theater for children.

In 2002, he won an award from the Czech ASSITEJ Centre for the artistic development of theater for children and youth and he became King of Children’s Theater for a year. He was also one of five nominees for the Honorary Presidents Award of ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People). In 2008 he received the Award of the Ministry of Culture for his contribution to Czech theater.

Here are some facts from his brilliant career:

He graduated in Cultural Theory at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University (1983) and directing at the Academy of Performing Arts (1988). In 1981 he co-founded the theater Vizita, where he worked for four years. He became one of the members of the Free conjunction directors (1987 – 1990), directed in HaDivadlo (1985 – 1986), puppet theater Drak Hradec Kralove (1989 – 1992), Realistic Theatre in Prague (1991 – 1992). Since 1990 he has led the studio acting at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre. In the years 1993 – 1996 he was the artistic director and director of the Dejvice Theatre. Since 1996 he was a director and member of the artistic management of the theater in Long.

Borna arose attention in the eighties when the HaDivadlo staged Mrózková Fables of Lisak (1986) and  Games for and with Children(1986), the airframe original performance  Sing clown (1988 Ubu nippers (1987) and Spiro chicken head (1989). In the early nineties he studied, among other things Dragon play by Dario Fo Mysteria Buffa (1990) and in the Realistic Theatre remarkable, pure style production Mrózková Ambassador (1991). In 1993 he began his permanent collaboration with the Department of Puppet and Alternative Theatre Academy of Performing Arts, whose students formed Dejvického theater. Director of the text That’s the idea (1993), a dramatization of Cervantes’ The Adventures of Don Quixote (1994) and Mrózková Tang (1995).

In 1996 he became a set Dejvického Theatre and its artistic director, part of the then new theater in Long Borna where he worked until the end of his life as a staff director and member of the artistic management. His first productions at the Theatre have long been poetic theatrical performances Skoumalových songs called if a pig had wings (1996), which was played for sixteen years; the phenomenal success with audiences and critics also happened with all other Borna productions for children who studied here. Foremost among these are the Christmas musical How I got lost on a story by Louis Ashkenazy (2000), which was nominated for Alfred Radok Award and won the prize for best director at the festival Skupova Plzen. Among his other productions in Long ranks Epochal Trip of Mr. Broucek (2001), The Mousetrap (2002) Comedy with the devil or Doktor Faust to hell taking (2004), My (2006) Attempt Flying (2007) Onegin was Rusák (2008) Aggregate works of William Shakespeare , to Hitler in the kitchen (2009), Our furianti (2011) Players (2012), O lazy Grandma (2013), 407 grams of Bohumil Hrabal (2014), With smiles of idiots (2015).

Borna’s cabaret for adults won extraordinary favor of audiences and critics – Cabaret Vian-Cami (1999), Cabaret Prévert (2005) and  Cabaret Kainar-Kainar  (2012) placed in the foyer of the Theatre at Long. For Cabaret Prévert received the Sazka Award and director of Theatre Journal. Since 2011 he collaborated with Miroslav Hanus directing their productions, their last joint productions were Brecht’s  Conversations on the run, which premiered a month before Bornova’s death in December 2016.

A substantial proportion of Borna’s directing work accounted for staging the author; often he wrote the screenplay or adapted significant artwork. The delicate balance of playful perspective and thoughtful interpretation deserve our admiration. His productions for children are often combined elements of drama and puppet theater and use the exceptional musicality file. In his directorial handwriting there was typical precision work with actors, attention to detail and atmosphere for fine tuning the overall performance. He was one of the few Czech filmmakers who managed to find an original and modern approach to staging a successful family show – created with imagination, taste and feeling for children (and adult) vision.

In addition to theater texts written by Jan Borna there are also published collections of poems.