The theatre troupe Divadlo Líšeň was established in 1998 by the husband-and-wife team of Luděk Vémola and Pavla Dombrovská in Brno- Líšeň, Czech Republic. Its repertoire currently consists of twelve productions, with 90–100 performances during a theatrical season, including discussions and workshops. With this many performances, it is also interesting to know that Divadlo Líšeň is a travelling theatre. While normally done in Czech, the whole repertoire has been performed in English, German, Italian and Russian.
Two of its productions in particular, Paramisa and Princess of Darkness, are based on Roma texts and fairytales, as Pavla remembers hearing them. The actors and musicians are Roma from Brno, as we found out during our interview with Pavla. However, they most likely do not originate from that area, as only 500–600 Roma from Brno survived the Holocaust (not owing to the Nazis but rather to the Czech police), so it is most likely that they are actually Moravian Roma.
Divadlo Líšeň’s productions carry a spirit of social change that needs to be seen. This stems from the need to have their own theatre company to realize their own projects – which, in their words, needed to reflect what it means to be a good, useful person. Princess of Darkness is part of the ‘Romani Dance’ project within the theatre, supported by the Open Society Institute and the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to inform non-Roma youth about Roma culture, while aiding Roma children’s ethno-emancipation. Putin Skiing is based on the book A Russian Diary by the Russian journalist Anna Politkovska, who was murdered in 2006.