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Adam Mickiewicz Theatre

alias Teatr Kameralny (Kameralny Theatre/Chamber Theatre, 1931-1938), Teatry Dramatyczne (Dramatyczne Theatres/Drama Theatres, 1949-1957), Teatry Miejskie (Miejskie Theatres/Municipal Theatres, 1945-1949), Teatr Miejski (Miejski Theatre/Municipal Theatre, 1938-1939)
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)11.11.1928 | Laying the foundation stone for the building of the theatre
architects: Józef Krupa, Teodor Łapiński
(detail)1938 | Establishment of the company under the name of the Municipal Theatre in Częstochowa Ltd.

(detail)16.6.1937 | Redemption of the theater building by the Municipality Among Częstochowa

People

Józef Krupa |architect

History

The first permanent theatre in Częstochowa was established by Jan Otrembski, a native of Częstochowa who arrived at his hometown for guest performances in 1926. After obtaining a licence from the Polish Association of Theatrical Artists to operate a theatre and having gathered a company, on 15 March 1927 he opened the Rozmaitości Theatre in the former Reduta Room, which he had rented. The opening performance was Maidens Vows by Aleksander Fredro. The Reduta Room was located on the first floor of an outbuilding at 8 Strażacka Street (nowadays 13 Katedralna Street) and was owned by R. Szpigelman and M. Fogel. R. Szpigelman adapted the room to the needs of the theatre at his own cost (he had an annex built on to house dressing rooms and had the balcony rebuilt). The room could seat about 250 spectators.

At the beginning of the first full season, in September 1927, the theatre adopted the official name Miejski Rozmaitości Theatre and received an annual subsidy of 4,500 zloty. The new theatre tried to gain a following mainly with a comedy repertoire, though it also often hosted guest performances from the Warsaw Reduta under the guidance of Juliusz Osterwa, the company of Stefan Jaracz, of Karol Adwentowicz, Hanka Ordonówna, Eugeniusz Bodo, Józef Węgrzyn, and Wanda Siemaszkowa.

In spite of frequent technical inspections, the building and the theatre room grew increasingly neglected, which led to the room of the Rozmaitości being closed in July 1930 as it was considered a safety hazard for spectators.

Back in September 1928, a joint stock company, the Association for Building and Managing the Theatre in Częstochowa, had been established at the initiative of Otrembski and the administrator of Częstochowa (starost), Kazimierza Kuhn. The company started the investment to erect a theatre building at 15 Kiliński Street. The edifice was designed by Józef Krupa and Teodor Łaciński. On 22 July 1931, Otrembski’s company resumed its activity in the partially completed building under the name Miejski Kameralny Theatre. It was inaugurated with a performance of Oh Men, men by Kazimierz Zalewski. However, the attendance considerably dropped in the following season, which provoked financial problems and prompted Otrembski, the founder and long-term managing director of the theatre to leave Częstochowa. His successor was Iwo Gall, an outstanding theatre director and set designer, as well as a very good organiser. Under his directorship, a deliberate repertoire policy was started, aimed at fulfilling both the artistic and the educational function of the theatre. Successive directors enriched it with touring activity.

As far as the Association for Building and Managing the Theatre was concerned, it was in debt and unable to continue construction works on the higher storeys of the theatre building. In 1933, the Association was liquidated, the building was put up for auction and purchased by the Community Savings Bank. Only in 1937, when the unfinished building was falling into ruin, was it bought by the Częstochowa Civic Centre. The building was completed at the beginning of 1938.

“It was decided to postpone the official opening of the whole theatre building until September, and to combine it with the inauguration of a new theatre season. This took place on 16 September 1938. The large room, seating 1,000 spectators, with walls painted in light colours, was equipped with covered lights, appropriate ventilation and central heating. Rows of comfortable seats were installed in a semicircle, looking very smart, although balconies needed finishing. During the opening ceremony, the mayor of Częstochowa , Jan Szczodrowski, gave a speech saying:

‘Last year, the Civic Centre spent 158,762 zloty on finishing the theatre, including 100,000 zloty from a loan from the Community Savings Bank. This year the Civic Centre budgeted 60,000 zloty to furnish the upper room, although this amount will not allow the theatre to be fully completed.

In this way, the Civic Centre prevented a million zloty property from falling into ruin, and at the same time offered the community of Częstochowa a shrine of spiritual culture. I am firmly convinced that, in this room, the Polish soul will be shaped for ages, and the theatre (…) will be a foundation of the Polish thought.  I declare the Miejski Theatre in Częstochowa to be opened.’”[1]

The modernistic building is located at the corner of Jasnogórska Street and Kilińskiego Street. The central part of the façade, slightly rounded at sides, turns into symmetrically placed flat walls, extending the façade along both streets. The entrance wall, located at the cut corner of the streets, comprises three entrances, shaded by a colonnade and extended to the upper storeys in the form of Neo-Gothic stylised windows. Other parts of the façade comprise three window recesses each, emphasising symmetry and the rhythm of the architectural composition. The façade is crowned with a tympanum, which gives the edifice a monumental appearance and, in addition, stresses its geometrical arrangement. The building is deprived of any ornaments, and remains cold, reserved, ordered and objective in its style. The outbreak of the war interrupted the activity of the developing theatre. After the war, a group of actors under the guidance of Tadeusz Krotke carried out repairs to the destroyed theatre. The first premiere, The Little Quail Ran Away From Me, by Stefan Żeromski, was held in April 1945.

In 1949, the city theatres in Częstochowa were nationalised. Between 1952 and 1960, under the directorship of Edmund Kron, the theatre in Częstochowa was one of the best Polish provincial theatres. On 13 November 1956, it was named after Adam Mickiewicz. The modernisation and extension of the theatre building started on September 1979 and lasted five years. During that time, performances were hosted by the Częstochowa Concert Hall, the Politechnik Club, as well as by the community centres “Stradom” and “Warta.” On 1 October 1984, the theatre was reopened after the modernisation with the premiere of The Revenge by Aleksander Fredro.



[1] Życie teatralne w Częstochowie 1870, 1945, 1970 [Theatre Life in Czestochowa 1870, 1945, 1970], omnibus edition by Bolesław Lubosz, 1970, pp. 38-39.

 

Literature:

  1. Kwaśniewski T.,  Album na XV-lecie Teatru im. Adama Mickiewicza w Częstochowie 1945-1960.
  2. Państwowe Teatry Częstochowa. Na uroczystość dziesięciolecia. Program Beatryks Cenci Słowackiego, prem. 19 V 1955
  3. Teatry Polskie w trzydziestoleciu (1944–1974), „Pamiętnik Teatralny” 1975 No. 3–4.
  4. Życie teatralne w Częstochowie 1870, 1945, 1970, ed. Bolesław Lubosz, 1970.

 

 

Author: Anna Ochman

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