Juliusz Słowacki Theatre

The institution is a department:
Address:
Plac Świętego Ducha 1, Kraków

About

In the 1880s, after the tragic fires that consumed theatre buildings in Nice and Vienna, it became evident that the Kraków City Theatre building in Szczepański Square, which had not undergone any renovations for a long time, had to be closed down.

In the 1880s, after the tragic fires that consumed theatre buildings in Nice and Vienna, it became evident that the Kraków City Theatre building in Szczepański Square, which had not undergone any renovations for a long time, had to be closed down. In 1886, the Municipal Council undertook to build a new theatre and earmarked plots in Św. Ducha Square occupied by the ruined mediaeval complex of the monastery and Church of the Holy Spirit for that purpose. The decision resulted in turmoil among Kraków’s artists, historians, and preservationists. It was the painter Jan Matejko who decided to take the most radical step, ostentatiously resigning his title of honorary citizen of Kraków.

The competition for the new theatre building was won by a design prepared by a Kraków architect, Jan Zawiejski. Despite the continuing protests, the historic walls of the church and monastery were torn down. The construction began in the autumn of 1891. The new municipal theatre building was the largest construction investment in Kraków during the 19th-century. The vastness of the building’s façades – truly imposing due to its size – was broken up by the division of the solid block into three distinctive parts, a measure similar to the one used in the design of the Paris Opera. The characteristic, eclectic architecture of the theatre is dominated by neo-Renaissance and neo-baroque elements that bring French and Italian models to mind. Even though it may seem incredible today, the building – overflowing with the lushness and opulence of its detail – was built in less than two years, as its official opening took place on 21st October 1893.

The curtain painted by Henryk Siemiradzki gained a renown of its own, much like the wardrobe of Ludwik Solski – genius of the Polish stage and one-time director of the theatre – decorated with caricatures, portraits, and dedications. The year 1901 saw the premiere of Stanisław Wyspiański’s national drama entitled Wesele (The Wedding) held in the theatre.

Initially it was planned that the theatre be named after the author of comedies, Count Aleksander Fredro: hence his bust standing in front of the building. However the theatre received the name of Juliusz Słowacki in 1909 on the centenary of the birth of the Polish poet and playwright. Besides theatrical productions, the theatre welcomes concerts, prestigious events, and international conferences such as e.g. the OSCE Symposium in Kraków in 1991.
The former building of the theatre’s electric plant (the first in Kraków!) has been home to the Miniatura Stage of the theatre since 1976.

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Date: 2012-03-28 Show ticket
News author: ANNA WAŚKOWSKA
News Publisher: Redakcja MPI
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