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On the recommendation of actor Jan Werich, VH starts working as a stagehand at the ABC Theatre. It is due to this job that he determines to "get into the theatre".


He starts working as a stagehand at the Theatre on the Balustrade (Divadlo Na zábradlí). He is later permitted to work as a dramaturge and assistant director. He co-authors a number of plays and meets, among others, director Jan Grossman who offers him creative guidance. At the same time, je works at the Prague Municipal Theatres as assistant to Alfréd Radok, one of the most distinguished Czech theatre directors. 

3rd December, 1963

His play The Garden Party (directed by Otomar Krejča) premieres at the Balustrade. Diligent Hugo Pludek grasps the rules of success and, thanks to a gift for adapting and dazzling people with empty phrases, comes to control the world of inaugurators and liquidators. However, his careerism causes him to lose his own personality, which he perhaps never had. Due to the positive reception of the play, regarded as an original Czech take on the Theatre of the Absurd, he suddenly becomes one of the most celebrated figures in Czech culture. 

9th July, 1964

After an eight-year relationship, VH marries Olga, née Šplíchalová (born 11 July 1933). The marriage will last for more than 30 years.

October, 1964

VH achieves his first international success when the German premiere of The Garden Party takes place at West Berlin's Schiller Theatre. His rise to the world stage is made possible by Klaus Juncker of the Rowohlt publishing house. Juncker becomes Havel’s friend, lifelong literary and theatre agent, and, in tough times, connection with the free world.


Premiere of The Memorandum (Vyrozumění), a play based on the motif of an artificial, totalitarian language called Ptydepe.

March, 1965

VH joins the editorial board of the literary monthly Tvář (The Face). Its open and critical tone soon gets it into trouble with official structures. He speaks out in its defence and organises a petition against its dissolution, becoming publicly engaged as an activist for the first time. The authorities prove stronger, however, and Tvář is dissolved early in 1966.


VH publishes his first book, The Protocols, containing the plays The Garden Party and The Memorandum, a collection of calligrams entitled Anticodes and other texts.


VH completes a distance learning course in dramaturgy at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU). His thesis consists of original play Eduard (later performed as The Increased Difficulty of Concentration) and a theoretical analysis of it.


A speech about the need for creative independence at the fourth congress of the Union of Czechoslovak Writers marks the beginning of Havel's public engagement in the Prague Spring, a process of renewal of Czech society.


During the events of the so-called Prague Spring, VH is among those pushing for more than mere reform of communism. However, despite his sober distance from the stirred up, revolutionary mood in society, he devotes a lot of energy to the struggle for the survival of the suspended critical magazine Tvář, becomes involved in the reforms of the Union of Writers, sets up the Circle of Independent Writers and becomes chairman of the Coordination Centre of Independent Organisations, which brings together nascent opposition forces, in particular KAN, the union of former political prisoners K231 and the Social Democrats. In addition, he contributes to Literární listy an article titled On the Theme of Opposition, in which he calls for the de facto abolition of the Communist Party's monopoly on power.


Premiere of The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, a play based on the motif of artificial intelligence that satirizes the "robotization" of human existence.


Spring sojourn in the USA, where he attends the premiere of The Memorandum in New York, contacts Czech émigré intellectuals, follows his father's pro-American sympathies and is inspired by 1960s US culture (music, the human rights movement, hippies). Soon after his return he takes a trip around Western Europe.


In the summer, before the August invasion, VH quits his post as dramaturge at the Theater on the Balustrade of his own accord. He becomes a freelance writer.

August, 1968

VH is in Liberec, northern Bohemia when the dramatic events of the August 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops begin. He becomes involved in the civil resistance and writes a series of radio announcements on the need to resist the occupation and on the forms such resistance might take. The texts are read on air by his actor friend Jan Tříska.

Photogallery: Václav Havel

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