10 Theatres of Beautiful Design in Poland
no-image, 10 Theatres of Beautiful Design in Poland
Historic stages in gardens and old garages, auditoriums resembling film studios, and gold-emblazoned ancient theatre halls. Culture.pl presents ten examples of original Polish theatre design.
The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre (GTS)
A modern and multi-functional dark grey building made of over 620,000 handmade bricks was designed by the Venetian architect Renato Rizzi to be located in the very heart of the Old Town district of Gdańsk. The structure resembles an elegant jewel case inside which there’s an Elizabethan theatre. Inside the building, the Italian architect designed an Elizabethan town, with narrow streets, courtyards and a few shadowy cul-de-sacs. Well-lighted stone stairs lead spectators to gothic-church-like terraces made of dark brick, which serve as pathways with views of Gdańsk.
The grand opening of GTS took place in September 2014 following two decades of different development plans coming to nothing. Apart from hosting the annual Shakespeare’s 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 the International Architizer A+Awards.
Małopolski Ogród Sztuki – MOS in Kraków
The designers from Ingarden & Ewý Architekci have managed to combine the past with the present in this spectacular five-storey building: behind its glass façade, one can find a reconstructed piece of wall, reassembled from renovated bricks made at the beginning of the 20th century. The authors of the design made sure that it harmonises beautifully with the surrounding area, something appreciated by experts from the ArchDaily architecture website, who awarded the building with a prestigious Building of the Year 2012 Award.
MOS houses two cultural institutions: a theatre operating under the auspices of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre and the regional public library. The library boasts a wide collection of modern multimedia including books, music and arts as well as a multifunctional auditorium for 300 spectators.
The Malarnia stage at the Polish Theatre in Poznań
A few years ago, Malarnia 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 so-called ‘black box’ which adjusts to the experimental modes of staging for which the stage was built.
The design was made by the ARPA Architectonic Studios of Jerzy Gurawski and Trabendo. In 2012, the Malarnia stage participated in the contest for ArchDaily’s Building of the Year Award.
The New Theatre in Warsaw
The New Theatre is the second life of a post-industrial facility. To give it its full name, the New Theatre International Cultural Centre was established in a historic pre-war warehouse hall located in the heart of the old Mokotów district. The part that is a renovated garage has the structure of a three-nave church, and its parts can be combined or separated by means of movable walls. The same with the auditorium – it’s designed to be flexible and can even be removed entirely from the hall. Piotr Gruszczyński underlines that it’s an open and democratic space which 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 scenery maker for all the performances of Krzysztof Warlikowski’s plays. The revitalisation of the main hall was developed by Piotr Fortuna Architects from Gdynia.
The Polish Theatre in Warsaw
The modernist building of the Polish Theatre was completed in 1913 round the back of Krakowskie Przedmieście Street. It was one of the key cultural establishments of the 1920s and 1930s, and has been entertaining people for over 100 years now. Upon 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.
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, today it is regarded 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.
The renovation of the historic part of the theatre was designed by Anna Morasiewicz.
Teatr Rozrywki [The Theatre of Entertainment] in Chorzów
Before WWII in the year 1900, the building housed the elegant art nouveau Graf Reden Hotel, one of the best hotels in Silesia. Ten years ago, the cluster known as the Theatre of Entertainment buildings was refurbished and immediately acclaimed by juries at a number of industrial contests for original architectonic modernisation, thanks to which the theatre’s modern look is combined with environmentally-friendly solutions.
The Grand Theatre - National 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 them are described by artist Daria Rzepiela in a series of excellent cartoons called Wielki Means Great, which lead viewers through the corridors, interiors and turbulent history of the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw. Watch one of them below:
Apollo's Quadriga from Culture.pl on Vimeo.
The Royal Theatre inside the Old Orangerie
The private theatre of King Stanisław August Poniatowski is one of only a few original 18th-century aristocratic theatres in Europe that have survived until today. Since 2015, the theatre has been included in the European Route of Historic Theatres. Nested in the Old Orangerie, the theatre was built in 1788 according to a design by Domenico Merlini, and it was lucky to have survived the war. The interior is absolutely enchanting, especially the 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.
Juliusz Słowacki Theatre
This national theatre, modelled on the opera houses of Paris and Vienna, has been operating in Kraków since 1893. Designed by Jan Zawiejski, the building is an important site on the city tourist route, being situated in Plac Świętego Ducha (Holy Spirit Square). Guidebooks say that Słowacki Theatre is one of the most excellent examples of eclectic 19th-century European architecture.
The building’s interior is decorated by the paintings of Austrian artist Anton Tuch. A famous curtain which resembles a huge oil painting, and which survived the two consecutive world wars, is the work of Henryk Siemiradzki. Together with Adam Mickiewicz Theatre in Cieszyn and Zamek Theatre in Łańcut, Kraków’s Juliusz Słowacki Theatre is one of the sites on the Baltic Section of the European Route of Historic Theatres.
Sources: press materials, Culture.pl; originally written in Polish, translated by IS, Nov 2016
beautifulest Polish theaters
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