Vlasta Chramostová is one of the most significant personalities from the Czech cultural scene of the 20th century. She was born on 17 November 1926 in Brno as the oldest of five children of the engineer Vladimír Chramosta. She spent her childhood in Skryje u Rouchovan, a village which was destroyed in 1976 during the construction of the Dukovany Nuclear Power Station. She studied at the Department of Drama at the Brno Conservatory between 1941 and 1945. In 1944 she was forcibly made to work as a machinist at a German aircraft factory near Brno. During the war she acted in her first “apartment theatre” with her classmates and in the hall of “Nový domov”, a housing association in Brno. After WWII, she worked at the Svobodné divadlo (Free Theatre, now Brno City Theatre) in Brno, the Olomouc City Theatre and Brno State Theatre. She relocated to Divadlo na Vinohradech (Vinohrady Theatre) in Prague in 1950. In the same year, she married Bohumil Pavlinec, a director of Czechoslovak Radio in Brno. After her divorce, she lived with the artist Konrád Babraj, with whom she had a son. In 1963, her 4-year-old son died in a car accident and Chramostová herself was badly injured. She married the cameraman Stanislav Milota in 1971. At the beginning of Normalization she left Divadlo na Vinohradech in protest at the dismissal of its director František Pavlíček; Chramostová had been one of the ensemble’s leading actresses. She was unable to perform in film, television and radio due to political reasons. She acted for a short time in Divadlo za branou and gave guest performances at the West Bohemian Theatre in Cheb. In 1973 she was officially banned from performing in public. Thanks to her connections in the dissident movement she established “apartment theatre” in her flat near the National Museum in Prague. She organised (with some help from her husband) the first performance in October 1976 to mark the 75th birthday of Jaroslav Seifert, a banned national artist. Václav Havel, who was imprisoned few months later, was among the guests at the premiere. Vlasta Chramostová was one of the first people to sign Charter 77. That led to even more pressure from the State Security (StB) against her and her apartment theatre, which she was forbidden to organise during the 1980s. In January 1989, she attended a memorial event to commemorate Jan Palach. Vlasta Chramostová and Libuše Šilhánková were later given suspended sentences because of their letter to Jakeš and Adamec with a declaration related to the “Palach Week”. In the same year, she was awarded the Poul Lauritzen Foundation Freedom Award for her contribution towards human rights. In 1990, she was declared an honorary member of the National Theatre, where she performed after 1991. She was awarded the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk for her contribution to the development of democracy, humanity and human rights in 1998. During the 1990s, she performed in television and several films and was twice nominated for the Czech Lion Award, the most renowned Czech film award. She was awarded a Special Thalia Award for her lifelong contribution to the theatre in 2007.
Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
- Brno, Czech Republic
- Hanáková, Jitka
Chramostová, Vlasta. 2011. Vlasta Chramostová. Brno: Doplněk.