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History of The Black Light Theater

Like many other important things, the black light theater was born in China.
In those days Chinese used candlelight to perform silhouette shows over white cloth screens. Sometime in the 18th century the silhouette technique migrated to Japan and was used in the Japanese puppet theater "Bunraku".
In the early days of cinema, when cinema techniques were in their infancy, many artists among them George Malige used the "black light technique" to express the images they had in their minds. The modern black light theater was born in the 50's, mainly by the French avant-garde artist George Lafaille, who is often called "the father of the black light theater".
At that time an ultraviolet lamp was invented and during the 60's and 70's “the hippies” era, it turned into a fashion among young people who were looking for new colors to represent the term "freedom".
At the same time in Prague in Czechoslovakia a new magical language of a theater was developed - a new type of theater with capabilities and colors that had never been seen before.

In the new type of theater the total darkness was needed, and a massive use of black material and black paint as well as ultra violet illumination which provided a stage for all the other colors.

The ultra violet illumination, also called "the black illumination", and the darkened theater halls loaded with black material, provided this special theater with its name: "The black light theater".

Some people claimed that since the early days of this artistic genre were also days of the communist occupation of Czechoslovakia. The theater and the stage were also used for the communication with critical messages of the government, and that these particular messages of protest were also called "Black theater".

Back in the 60's, the famous Czech artist Jiří Srnec won a world wide reputation for those black light theater shows he presented in many international festivals.

Another type of theater which, in its early day, was related to the "Black light theater" was the "Laterna Magica". Today, the "multi media theater" is a main technique in its shows.

During the 90's, after the anti communist revolution, many Czech artists took part in the development and promotion of the black light theater. They contributed to its present dignified reputation and declared Prague to be the Black light theater capital.