Genesis of the Festival
The first festival of an original Czech radio play Prix Bohemia took place in so called Culture House in a town of Mladá Boleslav from 7 to 11 June, 1976 and was focused entirely on dramatic production. The main organiser of the festival was the Czech Radio in Prague along with cosponsors, such as Union of Czech Dramatic Artists, Union of Czech Writers, People's Committee in Mladá Boleslav and Culture House in Mladá Boleslav.
In fact, the year 1976 meant for the radio play an anniversary and that was why the festival started exactly that year, as the first dramatic piece was broadcast by the Czech Radio exactly fifty years before that (title: Přástky, author: M.Kareš). Since that time, the Czech Radio has broadcast 1560 plays, written by 540 authors, and 160 of plays were written by important writers, and there have been 45 directors involved in production of those plays. Another impulse to start the festival was an existence of a similar contest in the Slovakia (Festival of an original Slovak radio play, taking part in a town of Piešťany).
According to a statute of the contest of that time, the Prix Bohemia Festival was a balance of creative work and the best results of authors´, dramaturges´ and directors´ work in the artistic most difficult radio genre - radio play. The festival should have become an outstanding ideological - artistic event of a cultural life in the Czechoslovakia, involving participation of artistic unions, representatives of press, cultural institutions and radio experts from socialistic countries.
The statute of the year 1976 defined the festival in accordance with the spirit of that time. Prix Bohemia should have presented the best socialistically orientated pieces to experts and representatives of public, and the festival should have included also Slovak plays as well as plays from other socialistic countries. Already in this first festival year it was decided that a part of the festival would be a seminar the aim of which would be a confrontation of processes and ideas leading to theoretical generalisation of conclusions. In that year 1976 the topic of the seminar was "Problems of a Current Hero". The organisers prepared then public listenings and meetings with authors of radio plays. Experts from abroad could also participate at the festival and they could present one of their productions off the contest. Duration was limited to 45 minutes.
At the beginning, the festival of an original radio play took place once in two years, in the meantime of the Slovak festival of radio play in Piešťany. For participation at the festival, the play could have been produced maximum two years before the festival took part. There was a working committee that chose plays for the contest and it must have been approved by the director of the Czech Radio. Members of the committee were employees of the Czech and Czechoslovak Radio who worked in the area of programme, international relations, technique, promotion and car operation. A chairman, a chief producer of main broadcasting, was allowed to widen the working committee by other representatives of institutions and authorities participating at the festival. The main objective of the working committee was to prepare and ensure running of the festival and for this, the committee was accountable to the director of the Czech Radio.
The best contest contributions were assessed and awarded by a five-member jury, employees of the Czech Radio, members of artistic unions or other authorities and institutions involved in the festival. The jury was established by the director of the Czech Radio.
The second year of the Prix Bohemia Festival took place again in Mladá Boleslav from 9 to 14 June, 1978 and among participants there were over two hundred authors, actors, radio employees and other creative persons.
The contest rules had a new statute that abolished that statute of the first year. There were a lot of identical items in both of them but there were also important changes. There are already two categories of the festival in the statute from 1978: radio play for adults and radio play for children and youth. Furthermore, each of categories was assessed by its own five-member jury and a chief editor of broadcasting for children and youth was allowed to establish another jury for a category of fairy tales and children plays, members of which could be only children listeners. This jury could only award a symbolic material Price of Child Listener. With these changes, the festival after two-year break expanded.
Prix Bohemia Festival entered the 80th with unexpected pomp. It took place from 19 to 23 May, 1980 and this time not in Mladá Boleslav but in Plzeň. According to press information of that time, a level of the third year of the festival was much higher than of the two previous ones and supposed favourites had to face more and more competitors. The last pre-revolutionary festival of an original Czech radio play Prix Bohemia took place from 11 to15 September, 1989 and closed one chapter of the history of this festival. According to information of that time, the presentation of radio production had unusually positive atmosphere.
In between the years 1989 and 1992 there was not any other year of the festival. In 1992 the festival started again and from this time under a new name Prix Bohemia Radio. Next, the venue was changed, a spa town of Poděbrady was chosen. And what is more, from that year the festival is open to all different radio genres, whereas announced categories are changed every year. Since 1999 the festival has become an international contest.
A number of important changes have been introduced over the last few years. In 2013, Prague was chosen to host the festival. This provided Czech Radio with a tremendous opportunity to organise most of the programme in its remarkable headquarters in Vinohradská Street. Prague hosted the festival also in 2014.
Due to various circumstances, it was decided that the 2015 edition would not take place. The Prix Bohemia Radio festival, however, returns for 2016 with a renewed dedication to international collaboration. The 32nd edition will take place in Olomouc, the centre of the Haná region, which is to retain its status as host city for the coming years.
Using a part of a text of Veronika Hankusová´s bachelor work "Past and Present of Prix Bohemia Radio".