Nika Brettschneiderová’s activities in her homeland were violently interrupted after she signed the protest against the imprisonment of The Plastic People of the Universe band and Charter 77 with her husband Ludvík Kavín.
After they emigrated to Austria, they founded the independent Theater Brett in 1978. “This stage soon became the unofficial center of Czech cultural immigrants. Theater Brett’s style was similar to ‘poor theatre’, using metaphors, expressive movements, pantomime, clownery, and masks,” says Jaroslav Blecha, the director of Art-Historical Museum and the head of the Department of Theatre History at the Moravian Museum.
After November 1989, the theatre started to regularly cooperate with artists from the former socialist block, mostly the Czech Republic. At the end of 1992 and the beginning of 1993s, Theater Brett hosted a showcase of Czech and Slovak theatres and the Department of Theatre History of Moravian Museum prepared an extensive attractive exhibition of traditional puppets made by itinerant puppeteers.
Nika Brettschneiderová started teaching at the Theatre Faculty of the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in 1990. In 1997, she became an associate professor and the head of the Acting Education Studio. She was awarded the JAMU Gold Medal and in 2007, the president appointed her the Professor of Dramatic Arts.
After her death, Ludvík Kavín and Moravian Museum agreed to take over the theatre’s extensive archive in 2019. “The reason is obvious: Theatre Brett’s production is important for Austrian theatre, but it also belongs to Czech theatre history as the impulses and experience are set in the Czechoslovak context. It developed from the impulses and state of Czechoslovak society in normalization, which is reflected in uncompromising dramaturgy,” says Jaroslav Blecha.
After 1989, the Department of Theatre History at Moravian Museum launched the research and documentation activities of Czech theatre as a multicultural phenomenon. The fact that the Theater Brett archive is in the Czech Republic in a public collection is thus justified. The material being processed by Ludvík Kavín as the most competent person will be available to students and researchers for studying and analyzing the authorial activities of this outstanding stage.
October 2021 will see the exhibition Remembering Nika Brettschneiderová in the Dietrichstein Palace.