/ enMain menu 
Navigation:  Theatre Database

National Theatre

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)15.03.2002 | Nemzeti Színház



With the placement of the foundation stone on 27. March 1998, the erection of the new cultural centre began, a part of which would have been the new venue of the National Theatre, “homeless” after the demolition of their old building in 1965. The construction of the theatre building in the Erzsébet square in downtown Budapest, based on the plans of Ferenc Bán, winner of the architectural contest, was stopped, however, after a few months (6 Novemeber), since the new government claimed that the termination of the large-scale investment could not be guaranteed in the budget.

On 26. August 1999 the   government of the Republic of Hungary decided of the construction of the National Theatre on a new plot, quite remote from the city centre, on the Pest bank of the Danube between the Petőfi and Lágymányosi bridges. The façade of the theatre has a North-Western orientation, facing the city centre, with the back towards the Palace of Arts (built later). The construction took 16 months and was lead by György Schwajda as a government commissioner, later president of the Nemzeti Színház Corporation. The building was designed by Mária Siklós,   with Bernard Trevillion (England) as the interior designer and Péter Török as the landscape architect. Public contributions covered 22% percent of the costs with 78% coming from the central budget.

The building is surrounded by a small park with numerous artistic attributes homage to the European theatre historical tradition: full-size bronze statues of the most outstanding Hungarian actors, a symbolical gate designed by Miklós Melocco leading to the shape of a ship functioning as a “foundation” of the theatre building, surrounded by a pool of water, out of which emerges the tympanum of the demolished National Theatre. Besides these a “ziggurat” was also built in the park, which functions as an exhibition space.

The side of the building facing the Danube is paved with red sandstone, flanked by trimmed sycamores. From this reception area stairs lead to the open-air theatre, which is used occasionally by the company for celebrations.

The venue of the National Theatre comprises three spaces. The large theatre hall seats 619, with an area of 590 square metres. The auditorium is traditional with a proscenium, 3 floors with boxes on the upper levels. It even has a royal box in the middle with 8 seats, fringed by two boxes handicapped accessible (2 X 6 seats) and two proscenium boxes. In the gallery there are 8 more boxes with two seats each. The stage has a traditional setup with fixed portal mirror.

The studio hall, named after actress Hilda Gobbi seats 160-200. It has a variable interior sized 370 m2. The Attila Kaszás hall, nicknamed “home stage” has a capacity of 80-100, functioning both as a rehearsal room and a performance space (254 m2).

The most outstanding feature of the building is its stage technology (designer Imre Réfy, electric designer László Villányi). There are 75 different types of lamps, 100 of them are “intelligent”, programmable. The sections of the stage can be lifted and lowered individually by a computer-regulated hydraulic elevating stage machinery   comprising a lot of platform elements.

The opening performance was on 15 March 2002, with Imre Madách’s The Tragedy of Man.At present actor-director Róbert Alföldi is managing the theatre and the company, which still is in constant formation, striving to define its profile.



Additional information

No information has yet been entered

Add information

Name: The name will be published

Email: The email will not be published

Information: Please enter information about this theatre, at least 10 characters