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Madách Theatre

alias Állami Madách Színház 1947 - 1949
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)24.03.1961 | Opening performance
Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, directed by Otto Ádám, set design Gábor Szinte. Actors:Psota Irén, Várady Hédi, Pécsi Sándor, Gábor Miklós.   
(detail)1998 | Reconstruction, extension

(detail)23.10.1999 | Opening performance

The festive opening was on 23 October 1999, on which the most important public personalities took part, including president Árpád Göncz. The play was Imre Madách’s The tragedy of man.


(detail)Oskar Kaufmann |architect
Hungarian-Jewish architect. He was an ex­pert of construction and design and played an ac­tive part in Berlin since 1900. His most well-known works are the Krolloper in Berlin, the Hebbel Theater and the Renaissance Theater in Berlin, the Neue Stadttheater in Vienna, and the Habima Theater in Tel Aviv.More theatres


Architectural description

The Theatre was designed by Oscar Kaufmann between 1954 and 1960. Oscar Kaufmann (1873-1956) was an architect of Hungarian origins, who worked in Germany, studied architecture in Karlsruhe and also worked in Berlin as an interior designer. In 1906 he planned his first theatre, the Hebbel Theatre, which according to German architect literature surpassed the works of the elder German theatre architects; therefore he was named as “modern theatre specialist”. After the World War I he planned further five theatres in Berlin; the theatres with one-storey balcony were named after him as “Kaufmann-type” theatre.

The four-storey facade retracted from the street line is connected arched at side corners to the frame running around the main façade. On the ground floor from the retracted façade emerges the facade plane on three levels above.

The openings of the balcony on the fourth floor lay on this closing edge. Above the opening the emerged part of the building is held by steel pillars decorated with stylized capitals. The façade is articulated with five vertical opening divisions.

On the ground floor the front entrances have a five-arch closing, above which two high-level window openings can be seen, which illuminate the upstairs foyer. Each opening is decorated with statues. The main facade is closed with closing edge, the roof is covered with tin plates.

The mass of the auditorium, stage and flyloft goes back to the direction of Hársfa Street which is parallel to the Erzsébet Boulevard ; between the mass of two adjacent blocks. From the foyer we can get into the buffet situated on the first floor on wide, decorative stairs; from here we can reach the auditorium and the balconies. The auditorium has a horseshoe shape with two balconies upstairs.



The Madách Theatre was built on the plot where the Royal Revü Variety used to be, opened in 1908 and demolished in 1953. The theatre was opened on 24. March 1961 with a performance of Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, directed by Otto Ádám, and Gábor Szinte as scenographer. The building was designed by Oszkár Kaufmann, between 1954-1960, finished by architects Pál Mináry and Ottó Fábry after the death of the designer.

The four-storey theatre palace was decorated with Chinese marble, with Venetian tiles in the foyer, French walnut covering on the stage and was furnished with comfortable velvet couches. The seat rows could be approached through a side-door at every three rows. The acoustic boxes were also made of walnut lattice.

Decorative stone work in the bar was made by Eszter Mattoni and György Hegyi’s blue mosaic was covering the wall behind the coffee counter. A bust of Imre Madách, the renowned Romatic Hungarian playwright, was placed right opposite the front gate, and the name of the theatre – MADÁCH SZÍNHÁZ – was written on the façade with steel letters.

The technical refurbishment and enlargement of the theatre was carried out between 1998 – 1999 following the plans of Mária Siklós and Gábor Schinagl, responsible of the interior design. The theatre was enlarged with an area of 2339 square meters, and the total costs were of 3 126 forints.

The festive opening was on 23 October 1999, on which the most important public personalities took part, including president Árpád Göncz. The play was Imre Madách’s The tragedy of man.

The main aim of the reconstruction was to build in a turntable and to carry out the necessary extensions (total built-in area of the venue today is 13 000 square meters). The capacity of the venue is 817, and another 200 in the studio hall. There is a third room as well, the Tolnay Szalon, which can seat 100. More than 35 companies took part in the reconstruction. The interior walls were designed by stage designer Balázs Horesnyi, the stage technology and the auditorium chandelier by Béla Götz, also a set designer. The public service areas, radiating a slightly Mediterranean atmosphere, follow Dalmatian and Northern Italian models.

The theatre is mostly specialised in musical and entertainment theatre. The theatre director in 2009 is Tamás Szirtes.




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