Laterna Magika is a nonverbal theatre located in Prague. Its origins are connected with the Expo '58 in Brussels. The plays are internationally comprehensible since they are silent. The performances are a combination of dance, film and black theatre. Laterna Magika is a well known tourist destination and is considered key in the development of modern Czech theatre.
The director Alfréd Radok and scenographer Josef Svoboda, introduced their peculiar theatrical form in Brussels and titled it Laterna Magika (Magic Lantern). The essence of the project lies in the connection of film and theatre, in a kind of "new media show". Radok and Svoboda used polyekran (parallel projection to more screens), synchronized individual theatrical and film elements, and organized their inner rhythm into one "multi-genre" performance.
After the exhibition ended, the programme was transferred to Prague, to establish a new experimental scene. Laterna Magika was at first (in 1958-60) joined to Prague's National Theatre, however, its activity was later connected to other Prague theatres.
An array of well-known personalities, directors, choreographers, dramatic advisers and composers (e.g. Rudolf Rokl, Jiří Šlitr, Oldřich František Korte, Zdeněk Mahler and many others) cooperated on developing the principles of Laterna Magika. Among other important cooperators belong Evald Schorm, Miloš Forman, Jiří Trnka, Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos, Ján Roháč, Jiří Srnec, Jan Švankmajer and Juraj Jakubisko. During nearly 50 years of Laterna Magika's existence, over 30 performances have been created and the company toured with the experimental projects all around the World. Outside of theatre, Laterna Magika is best known as Civic Forum's headquarters during the Velvet Revolution of 1989.