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Josef Hueber

alias Municipal Theatre (1887-1889), Theatre in Frances’ Square (1889-1911), Estates Theatre (1776-1887)
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)9.9.1776 | Opening of theatre

(detail)25.12.1823 | Conflagration
In the night 24–25 December 1823, a fire broke out and the building burned down, leaving only the main walls and the façades.
(detail)4.10.1825 | Re-opening of theatre


Josef Hueber |main architect
Peter von Nobile |architect
Franz Klammer |architect


Today’s “Schauspielhaus” opened as “Landständisches Theater” (Estates Theatre) on 9 September 1776, built to plans by architect Josef Hueber (c. 1715 – 1787).

In the night 24–25 December 1823, a fire broke out and the building burned down, leaving only the main walls and the façades.

It was quickly decided to rebuild the theatre within the still existing walls. The task was entrusted to architect Peter von Nobile (1774 – 1854) who designed an auditorium with four circle, consisting of an all boxes structure from floor to ceiling, but including a standing room area in place of the stalls boxes at the back of the auditorium; the dominant colour in the auditorium was the white of the parapets of the boxes combined with blue-grey marbled frames, gilded ledgers and light blue fabric.

To the façade facing the market square, Peter von Nobile added a portico. In the façade to the street, where the main entrance is hidden, he redesigned the central part, so that the former vertical order was transformed into a horizontal one. This is the state of the façades still preserved today.

The theatre re-opened on 4 October 1825. It featured an iron curtain, but was still illuminated with candles and oil lamps.

In 1845, the height of the proscenium arch was increased.

Gaslight was introduced on stage in 1863 and in the auditorium in 1865.

In 1871, a major refurbishment was undertaken, embellishing the auditorium with decorative columns between the boxes and on the parapets, a new decoration of the proscenium arch and draperies in the boxes of the 1st and 2nd circle.

The city took over the theatre from the Estates in 1887, and thus it was renamed “Stadttheater” (Municipal Theatre). This name was only temporary, because the theatre lost it to a much bigger theatre that was being built by the city at this time and opened in 1889 – today’s opera house, then baptized “Stadttheater”. The older theatre was re-named “Theater am Franzensplatz” (Theatre in Frances’ Square). Both theatres were run by the city, both presented opera and drama alike.

Around 1908, electricity was introduced in the “Theater am Franzensplatz”.

After more than 125 years of constant use, the theatre was shut down for security reasons in summer 1952. In 1954, a competition was held to find the best solution for preserving the historic substance of the building while introducing modern security standards and amenities. The solution by architect Franz Klammer was surprising: build entirely new halls, staircases and foyers between the 1776 facade and the auditorium wall; disassemble the 1825 wooden construction of the auditorium and replace it by a concrete one; take the opportunity to eliminate the very low fourth circle and adjust the height of the other circles in such a way that the result is again an auditorium entirely consisting of boxes from floor to ceiling; re-instate the historic decorative elements in the auditorium, i.e. the wooden front of boxes, columns etc.; cut back the partitions between the boxes for better sight. Additionally, the whole stage house was torn down and newly erected with state-of-the art stage equipment and a new building was added for dressing rooms, administration etc.

The reassembled and extended building re-opened on 14 March 1964, now a mosaic of three different periods.

In 1999/2000 new stage technology was installed and the foyers were brushed up.




Rudolf List: Schauspiel in Graz. Zur Wiedereröffnung des Hauses am Freiheitsplatz.-
Wien: Bergland 1964

Fritz Tumlirz: Das Grazer Schauspielhaus. Seine Baugeschichte.- Dissertation, Graz 1956

Vereinigte Bühnen, Stadt Graz, Land Steiermark (Hrsg.): Das Grazer Schauspielhaus.-
Graz: Styria o.J. [1964]

Wikipedia.de: Schauspielhaus Graz [for the 1999/2000 data only]



Schauspielhaus Graz GmbH ∙ Hofgasse 11 ∙ 8010 Graz ∙ Austria

Tickets: +43 (0) 316 8000 ∙ E-mail: tickets@buehnen-graz.comwww.schauspielhaus-graz.com

Visits: on appointment E-mail: presse-sh@schauspielhaus-graz.com



Author: Carsten Jung

Translator: Carsten Jung

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