PRAGUE — After floods that devasted central Prague, the National Theater hosted a benefit evening Sept. 1 that netted more than 2 million crowns ($70,000).
The theater earmarked the money for Prague cultural institutions hit by the flood, which include the National Theater itself. Among other venues damaged are some of the city’s most respected theaters, such as the internationally known Archa Theater and the Na Zabradli Theater, where Czech President Vaclav Havel began his legit career in the 1960s.
Leading performers such as opera star Eva Urbanova entertained the benefit audience, while stars of theater and TV manned the telephone lines taking donations throughout the evening. Havel also addressed the audience, thanking the relief workers for their efforts.
Meanwhile, the Czech Theater Institute has started a collection to aid in the reconstruction of the National and other theaters. The necessity of private action was underscored when culture minister Pavel Dostal (a former stage director) received only a small fraction of the funds he requested for reparations to affected institutions. An estimated $2 billion-$3 billion worth of damage was incurred throughout the country by the worst flooding in 500 years.