Monday: 10.00 am - 7.15 pm
Tue-Sat: 9.00 am - 7.15 pm
According to an anecdote, around 1918, Marian Dąbrowski – a publisher and editor of Ilustrowany Kuryer Codzienny daily and a great theatre aficionado – invited a group of his friends and acquaintances, the wittiest residents of Kraków, to come up with a name for a new theatre. After a long debate, Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński sighed and asked the rethorical question: “Whoever said that finding a good name for a theatre is a bagatelle?” “There it is!” Dąbrowski called out, “BAGATELLE!” This was the beginning of the theatre that is now situated at the intersection of Karmelicka and Krupnicza streets.
Bagatela Theatre has been operating in Kraków for 80 years now – it was established in the autumn of 1919 as a response to the great popularity of Paris revues from the turn of the century. Modelled on those revues, its repertoire was rather light throughout the interwar period, mostly consisting of contemporary comedies and farce.
After World War II, in 1945, the position of the artistic director was taken by Maria Billiżanka, an excellent manager of children’s theatres; she created a repertoire for children and employed children as actors (Roman Polański made his first appearance on the stage of the theatre as a small boy, followed by Zofia Kucówna soon after finishing studies at the Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts). She also employed the best contemporary creators (such as stage directors: Andrzej Pronaszko, Karol Frycz, Andrzej Stopka, and directors: Iwo Gall, Wilam Horzyca).
In the 60s, the theatre was managed by Halina Gryglaszewska, who changed the repertoire of the theatre, addressing it mostly to adults. Some outstanding Polish actors began their career on her stage. These included: Teresa Budzisz-Krzyżanowska, Jerzy Trela, Elżbieta Karkoszka, Zdzisław Wardejn, Olgierd Łukaszewicz and Jerzy Fedorowicz. The subsequent artistic directors followed suit, maintaining the popular status of the theatre, with the prevalence of classic and contemporary Polish and world comedies.
Today, Bagatela Theatre is not giving up on its adult audience, but at the same time wants to appeal to the young generation. It wants to encourage students and young intelligentsia to participate in culture and show that in the harsh reality revolving around economy and rat races, business and art can still coexist.
Translation: Summa Linguae