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A study on the Prague theatre network proposes solutions to the upcoming Civil Law which will introduce new legal forms of institutions.

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Czech Republic/ 7. Public institutions in cultural infrastructure  

7.3 Status and partnerships of public cultural institutions

Since the mid-1990s, the transformation of organisations under state and municipality control has been a recurring topic (see also the chapter 7.1). On the level of the local authorities, the municipalities changed the status of their publicly owned organisations to public benefit organisations, i.e. to independent bodies that receive public grants, and this is the only possible and suitable form for a bigger non-profit organisation according to valid legislation in the field of culture, such as theatres, philharmonic orchestras etc. This transformation is most visible in the capital city of Prague. The first period of the transformation of theatres from state organisations established by Prague was finished in 2004. These included 4 theatres, two of which became public benefit organisations and two became limited companies. Four-year grant contracts were made with all entities, but when they expired, the fragility of independence for theatres became apparent. Grants for the future period were radically cut and theatres waited for several months for their payments. In 2008, the city announced the second period of transformation of 6 theatres. This second period was criticised by arts professionals. The main reason was the lack of clarity of the rules of transformation, the non-transparency of individual steps and the absence of a clear vision on the part of the city. After a short pause the problem was re-opened in late 2011 and early 2012 and in the autumn of 2012 the City of Prague commissioned the Arts and Theatre Institute to draw up a study under the title“Proposal for the Systemic Optimisation of the Prague Theatre Network”. The study de facto updated the 2001 document “An Analysis of the Transformation of Semi-Budgetary Organisations/Theatre Established by the City of Prague” ( and above all it proposed possible solutions in reference to the new Civil Code coming into effect, which would introduced new legal types of institution – see also chapter 4.3. The study was submitted with the proviso that it is necessary to transform the legal status of all Prague municipal theatres. However, the concept has not yet been implemented.

The Ministry of Culture transformed the International Music Festival Prague Spring into a public benefit organisation of which it is co-founder. Since 2006, the Ministry is able to make decisions on the division, integration or merging of current state-managed organisations or on their cancellation, according to the Act on Some Kinds of Support. The Ministry recently merged LaternaMagika and the National Theatre on 1 January 2010 and as of 1 January 2012 Prague State Opera with the National Theatre.

Chapter published: 28-01-2016

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