The Owners of the Keys

The NTB Drama company is both a traditional and modern European ensemble with an important role in the Czech cultural scene. Its remarkable tradition dates back to the late 19th century and the height of the National Revival, when the first Czech-language theatres were established. Since then, it has hosted some of the leading lights of Czech and European theatre, such as Jiří Mahen, Emil František Burian, Jindřich Honzl, Miloš Hynšt, Alois Hajda, Bořivoj Srba, Ludvík Kundera, Zdenek Kaloč and Evald Schorm. Its theatrical productions of the 1960s became legendary for their Brechtian style of epic theatre. Today, NTB Drama has two valuable, historic buildings at its disposal – the Mahen Theatre and the Reduta Theatre – and offers an artistic response to contemporary topics, with an emphasis on craftsmanship and stylistic variety.

Audience: adult, children 15+

About the company

Born in Brno in 1929, the world-famous writer Milan Kundera fully develops the unacknowledged heritage of Cervantes and the tradition of the Central-European novel. A brilliant essayist, he explored this peculiar art through a Rabelaisian, satirical lens. Kundera also wrote three dramas, two of which (Jacques and His Master, a tribute to Denis Diderot, and The Blunder) were staged in the post-1989 Czech Republic. Only now, more than half a century later, will all of Kudera’s dramatic work be adapted for the stage in a big moment for Czech theatre. The Owners of the Keys (1962), notable for the precision of composition we know from Kundera’s novels, is being produced by the same NTB drama ensemble that produced František Hrubín’s A Sunday in August and Josef Topol’s Their Day. It is the story of Jiří Nečas, who hides a fleeing girl in his father-in-law's apartment during World War II and keeps the key in the pocket of his trousers. With noble gestures and low motives, it portrays our interior world, as outside the Nazis go marching on. 


Theatre / company

National Theatre Brno / Národní divadlo Brno, Činohra

Czech title

Majitelé klíčů


Milan Kundera


Martin Glaser


Ivan Acher


Milan Šotek

Stage design

Pavel Borák

Costume design

Markéta Sládečková

Lighting design

Martin Špetlík

Length of the performance

99 minutes

Stage area


Number of travelling persons



Czech , Subtitles available


Adult , Children


Radim Dolanský