The International Institute of Figurative Theatre (Mezinárodní institut figurálního divadla, hereafter MIFD) was founded from the initiative of Josef Krofta in 1933 with the aim “to acknowledge the necessity of study, research and seeking of new artistic face of theatre” and “to return from quantifiable activity to unquantifiable creativity.” The institute attempted to monitor theatrical developments and to develop a theatre which would be open to all stimuli, and accentuate the work with material, objects and puppets. Its aim was also to create a new economic structure with investment, production and publication functions.
The contemporary concept of the revived Institute does not merely follows its history but endeavours to become a significant platform for research, experiment and education. A functioning model of an art institute should contain an organic moving element enabling experimental artistic research. The institute insists on thorough adhering to the original concept of Josef Krofta – to differentiate between artistic performance as research, and artistic performance as the production of art. Research and work are understood as essential investment into the future of Drak Theatre’s Institute. Finally, the role of the institute is to promote international cooperation.
The venue’s name itself, Labyrint, refers to the heritage of Jan Amos Comenius; similarly to Comenius the institute strives for theatre as a play – school as a play – education as a play. Our endeavour could be well defined by the metaphorical appeal: Find your own educational path, find your own story of art! At present MIFD provides qualified background especially to the interconnection of theatre and education via international artistic cooperation, residencies as well as educational programmes. An example of such activities is the annual meeting of theatre school students (Gaudeamus Theatrum), or art projects, such as The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart.
MIFD has paid significant attention to interdisciplinary cooperation. We have opened a new exhibition venue whose programme follows the trend between theatre and visual art. Another trajectory of the research aims at the relationships between theatre performance, performance art and new contemporary theatre forms with overlapping conceptual and visual art approaches.
In September 2013 theatre is joined by Anna Hrnečková in the position as a theatre pedagogue. She continues in the development and extension of educational programme concepts. In 2015 Barbora Kalinová joins theatre on the PR post. In 2016 the new function and activities of the International Institute of Figurative Theatre are defined; Tomáš Žižka becomes its supervisor, Radka Schmelzová the external curator and Labyrint’s production is in charge of Jana Nechvátalová.