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Theatre in the Castle Museum

alias Łańcut Castle Theatre
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1792 | the first performance of "Parades" by Jan Potocki

(detail)1800 | reconstruction
architect: Piotr Aigner; interior renovation, auditorium crowned with semi-dome
(detail)1911 | renovation and inauguration of the stage

architects: Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer (renovation of the interior of the theatre, building of orchestra pit, modern technical equipment – electric lights, equipment for imitating rain and thunders, the gird and bridges of the flyloft were supported on a metal structure, new sets of stage scenery)

premiere of: Pierrot qui rit et Pierrot qui pleure (Weeping Pierrot and Laughing Pierrot)

(detail)1994 | conservation and preservation of the theatre – walls, curtains, set scenery


(detail)Hermann Helmer |architect
The phenomenon of the architects Fellner and Helmer would be difficult to capture with only one building. Their work consisted of continual, although somewhat stereotypical, work in terms of style. They placed a great emphasis on achieving the technical-operational needs of theatre buildings. They created a large number of theatres (mainly national theatres) in Central Europe - Austria, Croatia, Romania, the Czech Republic, etc.More theatres

(detail)Christian Piotr Aigner |architect
An architect and architectural theorist. He studied in Rome. He received grants from the Polish government. He represented a mature classicism.More theatres

(detail)Eduard Felix Veith |painter

He belongs among representatives of Realism of the end of 19th century. It is possible to find his frescoes or paintings in Bucharest, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, but in Ostrava, Prague, Łańcut, Brno and Nový Jičín as well. He created a painted curtain and eight ceiling paintings in Prague German Theatre (today’s State opera). He also participated on interior decoration of theatres in Ostrava, Brno, Berlin, Vienna or Prague Rudolfinum.

In: http://www.amaterskedivadlo.cz/main.php?data=opona&id=151

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The theatre in Łańcut is the only palace theatre in Poland preserved to this day. It was designed by Józef Henny and built in 1792 for Princess Izabella Lubomirska. The theatre was redesigned in the neoclassical style by Christian Piotr Aigner from 1800 to 1802. The auditorium has a cupola supported by eight Corinthian columns. At the order of Count Roman Potocki it was restored by the famous Viennese architects Fellner & Helmer in 1910. From this period the theater has kept the original design and technical equipment. From 1994 to 1995 the museum carried out a complete restoration of the theatre as part of the programme Support to conserve the European Architectural Heritage 1994.

Muzeum – Zamek w Łańcucie • ul. Zamkowa 1 • 37-100 Łańcut • Poland • Tel.: +48 17 225 20 08 •muzeum(at)zamek-lancut(dot)pl • www.zamek-lancut.pl 

Visits: during the Castle Museum opening hours

Tourist information
Tel.: +48 17 225 48 50




The Theatre Room, which is situated on the first floor of the south wing in the Potocki Palace in Łańcut, was created before 1784 to Izabella Lubomirska’s née Czartoryska’s order. The auditorium is entered from the Ballroom. Initially, the decor of its two-storey interior was probably baroque – the record from around 1790 says that it was “a huge room covered with damask with gold braids”. It was a typical, aristocratic théâtre de societé – household members and their guests played in comedies and in “live images”. In 1792, Jan Potocki’s Parades, written in French especially for this stage,was performed. Around 1800 the theatre was rebuilt according to Christian Piotr Aigner’s neoclassical project. The auditorium was covered by a cupola supported by eight wooden, imitation marble Corinthian columns. Five complete sets were prepared at that time, representing a chamber with columns, a room, a peasant room, a city and a wood. There was an extremely wide range of costumes, which is known due to a preserved list. Among them there were outfits of nobles and peasants, uniforms and paper armour, Spanish and exotic Turkish costumes, as well as costumes of Harlequin, Moliere’s Scapin and sorcerers: black cloaks with pointed hats. Apart from drama, musical performances were also held with the participation of the court orchestra. Although after Princess Izabella’s death in 1816, the number of performances decreased, on the occasion of family celebrations French and Polish comedies were still shown, and in 1822 a German wandering troupe performed here. In the middle of the 19th century the Theatre Room was used a storeroom, whereas its previous function was emphasised in descriptions. Eventually the unused room fell into disrepair.

Around 1910 Roman Potocki ordered Fellner’s and Helmer’s Viennese theatre architecture company to restore the palace theatre. The interior was then virtually rebuilt maintaining the old style but using marble, stucco and bronze instead of wood. Eduard Veith, from the Viennese Academy, decorated the arch over the stage portal with a painting representing fine arts. A printed copy of Parades by Potocki was displayed in a show case in the auditorium for the sake of tradition. The inaugural performance: the French operetta Pierrot qui rit et Pierrot qui pleure was played in September 1911 with the participation of aristocrats-amateurs, as in the past. The moment was weighty: the palace hosted the Archduke Franz Ferdinand Habsburg. The room still exists and has the same form as it had one hundred years ago.




  1. Król-Kaczorowska B., Teatr dawnej Polski. Budynki, dekoracje, kostiumy, Warszawa 1971.
  2. Majewska-Maszkowska B, Teatr w Łańcucie, „Pamiętnik Teatralny”, 1962, No. 3–4, 1962.
  3. Piotrowski J., Zamek w Łańcucie. Zwięzły opis dziejów i zbiorów, Lwów 1933.


Tags: Palace theatre


Author: Jarosław Komorowski

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