10 Striking Examples of Polish Theatre Architecture
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Polish Theatre Architecture, Małopolski Ogród Sztuki, design: Ingarden & Ewý Architekci - Building of the Year 2012 Award in category: Culture, photo: © Krzysztof Ingarden / A, Małopolski Ogród Sztuki, projekt Ingarden & Ewý Architekci - nagroda "Building of the year 2012" w kategorii Kultura, fot. © Krzysztof Ingarden / ArchDaily
Historic stages in gardens and old garages, auditoriums resembling film studios, and gold-emblazoned ancient theatre halls. Culture.pl presents 10 examples of beautiful, original Polish theatre architecture.
The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre (GTS)
This modern, multi-functional building, built with more than 620,000 handmade bricks, was designed by the Venetian architect Renato Rizzi. Located in the very heart of Gdańsk's Old Town, the structure resembles an elegant jewel case – inside of which lies an Elizabethan theatre. Within that building, Rizzi designed an Elizabethan town, replete with narrow streets, courtyards and a few shadowy cul-de-sacs. Well-lit stone stairs lead spectators to the gothic-church-like terraces made of dark brick, which serve as pathways offering views of the seaside city.
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The grand opening of GTS took place in September 2014, after two decades of various development plans which came to naught. Apart from hosting the annual Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival, the theatre building is a flagship landmark of Gdańsk, attracting tourists from all around the world. The design was noticed by Architizer, the world’s biggest architectural website, and honoured by the jury at its international A+Awards.
Małopolski Ogród Sztuki (MOS) in Kraków
The designers of Ingarden & Ewý Architekci have managed to combine past and present in this spectacular five-storey building. Behind its glass façade, one can find a reconstructed piece of wall, which was reassembled from renovated bricks made at the beginning of the 20th century. The designers made sure that the edifice would harmonise beautifully with the surrounding area – a fact appreciated by experts from the ArchDaily architecture website, which awarded the building with a prestigious Building of the Year 2012 Award.
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MOS houses two cultural institutions: a theatre operating under the auspices of the Słowackiego Theatre and a regional public library. The library boasts a wide collection of modern multimedia including books, music and art, as well as a multi-functional auditorium for 300 spectators.
The Malarnia stage at the Polski Theatre in Poznań
A few years ago, the Malarnia stage was totally refurbished and is now state-of-the-art. The stage, auditorium, foyer and technical facilities were totally remodelled. The central part of the foyer is now occupied by a black-box theatre, which can accommodate experimental modes of staging.
This unique space was designed by ARPA Jerzy Gurawski and Trabendo. In 2012, the Malarnia stage participated in the contest for ArchDaily’s Building of the Year Award.
Nowy Theatre in Warsaw
Nowy Theatre has brought new life to a post-industrial facility. To give it its full name, the Nowy Theatre International Cultural Centre was established in a historic pre-war warehouse hall located in the heart of the capital's Stary Mokotów district.
The part that is a renovated garage takes the structure of a three-nave church, and its parts can be combined or separated by means of movable walls. The same goes for the auditorium – it’s designed to be flexible and can even be removed entirely from the hall. Piotr Gruszczyński highlights that Nowy Theatre's open and democratic space welcomes people in. There are no constraints inside: no barriers, no cash-desks, no metal bars whatsoever.
The insides of the theatre auditoriums, which resemble a film studio, were designed by Łukasz Kwietniewski – together with Małgorzata Szczęśniak, the designer of Krzysztof Warlikowski’s productions, which are housed here. The revitalisation of the main hall was developed by Piotr Fortuna Architects from Gdynia.
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The Polski Theatre in Warsaw
The modernist building of the Polish Theatre was completed in 1913 round the back of Krakowskie Przedmieście Street. One of the key cultural establishments of the 1920s and 1930s, it has entertained people for over 100 years now. Upon its opening, the theatre boasted Poland’s first revolving stage, a modernised prompt box and a professional theatre design suite. The audience was enchanted by its elegance and palatial grandeur. During Warsaw’s demolition by the Nazi Germans, the building in Karasia Street was spared, along with part of its interior design and the revolving stage.
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Since 2009, the Polish Theatre has had a new stage – the Scena Kameralna. Its modern interior design combines béton brut and glass with warm limestone and oak wood. The stage also offers new opportunities – the end-stage design can be changed into a flexible theatre, including a theatre in the round.
Capitol Musical Theatre in Wrocław
Before WWII, the Capitol was a luxurious European cinematic theatre. Built in 1929 according to a design by Berliner architect Friedrich Lipp, it is regarded today as the most beautiful modernist interior in Poland. When you look inside the enlarged and stylishly redecorated Capitol, you’ll find the gold- and silver-emblazoned auditorium of the main stage hasn’t changed since opening night.
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The renovation of the historic part of the theatre was designed by Anna Morasiewicz.
Rozrywki Theatre in Chorzów
Before WWII, this building housed the elegant art nouveau Graf Reden Hotel, one of the most luxurious hotels in Silesia. Ten years ago, the cluster known as the Theatre of Entertainment buildings was refurbished. It saw almost immediate accolades in a number of industrial contests for original architectonic modernisation, thanks to which the theatre’s modern look is combined with environmentally friendly features.
Wielki Theatre – Narodowa Opera
Many a time has history taken its toll on Europe’s biggest theatre stage. The history of this grandiose building, constructed between 1825-1833 by the Italian architect Antonio Corazzi, is full of fascinating stories filled with ambitious plans, failures and competing architectural visions. Many of these are recounted by the artist Daria Rzepiela in her series of excellent cartoons, titled Wielki Means Great – which leads viewers through the corridors, interiors and turbulent history of the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw. Watch one of them below:
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The Królewski Theatre in the Old Orangerie
The Royal Theatre, photo: courtesy of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Warsaw
The private theatre of King Stanisław August Poniatowski is one of only a few original 18th-century aristocratic theatres in Europe which have survived to this day. Since 2015, this, the Królewski Theatre, has been included in the European Route of Historic Theatres. Nested in the Old Orangerie in Warsaw's Łazienki Park, the theatre, designed by Domenico Merlini, was built in 1788. It was lucky to have survived the World Wars. The interior is absolutely enchanting, especially an original decoration depicting the 18th-century auditorium, which is placed right above the heads of today’s spectators. The interior includes a number of extremely interesting artifacts.
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This state theatre, modelled on the opera houses of Paris and Vienna, has been operating in Kraków since the year 1893. Designed by Jan Zawiejski, the building is an important site on the city tourist route, being situated in Świętego Ducha Square. Guidebooks say that the Słowackiego Theatre is one of the most excellent examples of eclectic 19th-century European architecture.
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The building’s interior is decorated by the paintings of Austrian artist Anton Tuch. A famous curtain resembling a huge oil painting, which survived both World Wars, is the work of Henryk Siemiradzki. Together with the Mickiewicza Theatre in Cieszyn and Zamek Theatre in Łańcut, Kraków’s Słowackiego Theatre is one of the sites on the Baltic Section of the European Route of Historic Theatres.
małopolski ogród sztuki
teatr rozrywki in chorzów
The Polish theatre in Poznań
The Polish Theatre in Warsaw
the grand theatre - national opera
The Royal Theatre
The New Theatre International Cultural Centre
Originally written in Polish by Anna Legierska; translated by IS, Nov 2016