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2021 | 24 | Special_Issue | 65-82

Article title

Institutional heritage and 'that Shakespearean hazard' 1989-2019: the case of the Katona József Theatre and SzFE's Ódry Theatre



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The present study focuses on Shakespearean productions by two institutions which played a significant role in shaping the Hungarian theatrical scene between 1989 and 2019. The Katona József Theatre, Budapest, has been a preeminent artists' theatre since 1982. Its leading director, Gábor Zsámbéki, also actively participated in training future generations of actors at the University of Theatre and Film Arts (SzFE), where Shakespeare forms an important part of the curriculum. The change of political regime after 1989 necessitated changes in theatremaking attitudes, which was reflected in Zsámbéki's innovative Shakespearean productions of the early 1990s. On the other hand, the University of Theatre and Film Arts and its own theatre, Ódry, began to present fresh and daring Shakespeare productions after the 2000s, in part occasioned by the influence of Sándor Zsótér. This article provides a brief overview of all Shakespeare productions at these venues between 1989 and 2019, discussing two in more detail: Zsámbéki's Julius Caesar (1993) at Katona and Zsótér's The Merchant of Venice (2018) at Ódry. Special attention is devoted to fresh takes on 'traditional' Hungarian Shakespeare, and how professional theatrical criticism of the period proved largely unable to recognise and appreciate 'that Shakespearean hazard'.


  • Theatralia, redakce, Masarykova univerzita, Filozofická fakulta, Katedra divadelních studií, Arna Nováka 1, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic


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Publication order reference


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