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Capitol Musical Theatre

alias Teatr Muzyczny (Musical Theatre, 1977-1979), Teatr Muzyczny-Operetka Wrocławska (Nusical Theatre-Wrocław Operetta, 1992-2004), Operetka Wrocławska (Wrocław Operetta, 1979-1992), Operetka Dolnośląska (Operetta Lower Silesia, 1955-1976)
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1929 | opening of the cinema and theatre Capitol
This was a complex of three buildings: the front building, where was lobby and box office, building with the auditorium and administration building.
(detail)1945 | demolition part of building

(detail)1960 | renovation and modernization of the building

(detail)1997 | flood in Poland - the water floods the theater building

(detail)2005 | competition for exention and modernization of the building
The winner is company KKM Kozień Architekci from Kraków


(detail)KKM Kozień Architekci |architect

Architects, winners of the competition "Architectural ideas for the premises of Nowy Theatre" and new building of The Capitol Musical Theatre.

More theatres

(detail)Friedrich Lipp |architect

He prepared blueprints of the Capitol Theatre.

More theatres

(detail)Otto Kurth |sculptor
Sculptures in the Capitol Musical Theatre.


The building of the cinema-theatre Capitol was ceremonially opened on 20 February 1929 at 8.00 p.m. Upon arriving at the opening, the expectant audience were confronted by a building complex made up of three blocks, with a façade covered with a gold, ceramic mosaic, sparkling blue and red in the neon lights. The new Wrocław investment echoed widely in the press of that time and sparked significant interest. The proprietor of the building was the Schauburg AG company. At their commission, Friedrich Lipp drew up a design and A. Wedemann accomplished it.

         The building cost two million marks and was erected on an irregular-shaped plot (100 metres long and 26 metres wide) marked by four streets: Gartenstrasse (currently Piłsudski st.), Springerstrasse (Bogusławski st.), Neudorfstrasse (Komandorska st.) and Neue Schweidnitzer Strasse (Świdnicka st). The main part of the complex was the front building, with the box office hall and flats. It was joined to the building housing the cinema hall by a catwalk. The third part of the complex was designed for administration, storerooms and technical rooms.

         The front building of the cinema-theatre towered over the neighbouring buildings. Its nine-axis, four-storey façade covered with golden tiles grabbed attention due to being reflected in red and blue neon lights from the fluorescent tubes making up the name of the cinema. Three portals led up to the vestibule of the cinema-theatre, from where one entered the hall with a silver ceiling and a carpet in black-white-and-red geometric patterns. The catwalk (which survived the destructions of World War Two, though it was not intact: only the glazed door of the hall and of the auditorium, as well as three windows in the western wall were preserved) led up to the foyer and the auditorium.

         The ceiling and the walls of the room were in gold and silver. The seats, upholstered in red plush, were placed in curved rows; the curve reflected the shape of the balustrade separating the orchestra pit from the auditorium. The orchestra pit could house forty musicians; the conductor’s stand was equipped with two telephones, an electronic watch, a control board with a display showing the film. There were three curtains: gold, red and black. On the right of the stage there was a two-storey high organ.

         Behind the stalls were boxes. The balcony (with a separate foyer and cloakroom) with a balustrade in mother-of-pearl was covered with two illusionary domes, the lower one in silver, the upper in gold. The ventilators were placed in the dome and over the balcony. The interior decorations by Berlin Atelier Fricke were preserved until 1956 when original colours were removed and the walls were painted in tempera. Safety was also ensured in the building: an emergency exit for the audience was located on the ground floor of the administration building.

         The front building was destroyed during the war in 1945. During the renovation and modernisation works, which lasted until 1960, the auditorium was repainted in the Socialist Realist style, the floors were covered with parquet and the walls with­­­­­­­­­­ chipboard imitating wainscot. At the same time, it was decided that the complex of the former cinema-theatre would come under the management of the Film Distribution Centre. As a result, the building became the headquarters of Cinema Śląsk, and from 1956, under an agreement between the Wrocław authorities and the Local Company for Film Distribution, the cinema shared the building with the Wrocław Operetta.

         In the meantime, the issue of building a new edifice to meet the demands of the Operetta Theatre was discussed, although the final decision was postponed due to the economic crisis.  Therefore, local authorities transferred the ownership of the building of the former theatre-cinema to the city, and in fact to the Operetta Theatre. However, the problem was not resolved until the 1990s, whereas in 1980 the buildings of the theatre-cinema gradually became run down. The managers of the complex did not even have basic renovations done, the interiors were not sufficiently heated, meaning that in winter the audience were sitting in the auditorium wearing coats. What is more, the fire protection system of the buildings was in such a bad condition that emergency vehicles were waiting in front of the theatre during every performance.

         Under pressure, the lease agreement that had been in force was changed into a tenancy agreement under which the Operetta Theatre was to carry out an overhaul of the building in exchange for the rent exemption. In spite of the fact that the Wrocław Operetta renovated the building, in the early 1990s it faced the danger of being deprived of its headquarters. In 1992, Odra-Film, which was still managing the complex, started proceedings to privatise the buildings. Nevertheless, due to the co-operation of the Wrocław Operetta and the Department of Culture of the Voivodeship Office, the buildings were entered on the list of architectural monuments, and thus saved for the Operetta Theatre. In 1997, Wrocław was flooded, including the area where the theatre is located. The flood seriously damaged equipment along with the walls on the ground floor and on the lower storeys. As a result, the theatre had to be renovated.

         In 2005, a competition was opened to extend and renovate the Operetta Theatre, which by that time had been renamed the Musical Theatre Capitol. The competition was won by the Kraków-based office KKM Kozień Architekci. The rebuilding-modernisation works were planned to be completed in December 2012. According to the design, the old building was partially demolished and was to be replaced by a new space. However, the historic catwalk was preserved. During the extension, the theatre would be equipped with a larger stage, including a revolving stage seven metres in diameter, as well as a Small Stage, new rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms and storerooms, and a recording studio. The new five-storey building would have a glazed façade, harking back to the façade of the old cinema-theatre. According to the plans, the auditorium of the main stage would house 48 additional seats.  Apart from the revolving stage, the theatre would be equipped with four trapdoors, 3.9 metres deep (from the stage level). After rebuilding, the total area of the building would be 18,000 m2


Based on information from the official website of the Musical Theatre Capitol www.teatr-capitol.pl




1.    "40 lat. Wrocławski Teatr Muzyczny", Wrocławski Teatr Muzyczny – Operteka Wrocławska, ISBN 83-903747-0-6

2.    "Das Neue Lichtspiel –Theater „Capitol” in Breslau" [in:] Deutsche Bauzeitung No. 49, 19.06.1929.

3.    Kościelna J., "Tak wygląda nowe logo Capitolu" [in:] POLSKA Gazeta Wrocławska No. 215, 14.09.2012.

4.    Matuszewska M., "Capitol rośnie" [in:] POLSKA Gazeta Wrocławska No. 149, 28.06.2012.

5.    Matuszewska M., "Wmurowali kamień węgielny pod nowy Capitol" [in:] POLSKA Gazeta Wrocławska nr 233, 6.10.2011.



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