The Theatre on the Balustrade (Divadlo Na zábradlí) is situated in Prague, Czech republic. The theatre was founded in 1958. Its founders - Helena Philipová, Ivan Vyskočil, Jiří Suchý and Vladimír Vodička named their professional theatre after a street leading from the square to the river. Its first production, a musical collage titled If a Thousand Clarinets (Czech: Kdyby tisíc klarinetů), was premiered on 9 December 1958. Three months later Ladislav Fialka and his mime group joined the company with their production Pantomime on the Balustrade, and brought back fame to the almost forgotten theatre genre. Drama and mime companies coexisted at the theatre till Fialka's death in 1991.
In the early 1960s, with the arrival of director Jan Grossman, set designer Libor Fára and a stage hand and later dramaturg and playwright Václav Havel, the Theatre on the Balustrade became the centre of the Czech form of the absurd theatre (V. Havel: The Garden Party, Memorandum, Alfred Jarry: King Ubu, Franz Kafka: Process). Despite the fact that the theatre established itself abroad (or maybe because of it) as well as in Czechoslovakia, Jan Grossman and Václav Havel were forced to leave the theatre in 1968.
In the 1970s and 1980s the theatre became a refuge for film directors of the 1960s "new wave", whose film work was thwarted by the normalisation process. Apart from productions directed by J. Jireš, J. Krejčík, J. Menzel and J. Herz, it was mainly Evald Schorm who regularly co-operated with the theatre since 1976 (e.g. The King Stag, Hamlet, The Karamazov Brothers, Marathon) and managed to group around himself a number of brilliant actors (J. Bartoška, K. Heřmánek, J. Preissová, P. Zedníček, L. Mrkvička).