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Pesti Színház

alias Pesti Színház (1967-), the Chamber Theatre of Vígszínház, Bartók Theatre, Bartók Children's Theatre (1963-1964), Corso Cinema (1911-1950), Hotel and Coffee House (1840-1902), Inn to the Seven Prince-Electors (1717-1840)
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)01.05.1823 | Concert of Franz Liszt

(detail)1911 | Opening of the Corso Cinema

(detail)1964 | Reconstruction

(detail)30.09.1967 | Opening of the Pesti Színház

The opening performance after the reconstruction was an adaptation of Gogol's The Diary of a Madman (Sylvie Luneau–Roger Coggio). The play was directed by István Horvai and performed by Iván Darvas.


Architectural description

The neo-Classical house  in which operates the Pest Theatre was built by the plans of the period’s famous architect József Hild, in 1840. The three-storey apartment house looks to the Váci Street with articulated 15 opening axes. The large windows of the shop portals give the dominant scene on the ground floor; the stories are divided by a dividing cornice. The window openings have a squared closure and above the first and third floor openings a carved stone eyebrow edge decorates the facade. The two side opening axes are located in greater distance from the other axis. The entrance of the theatre is located in the symmetry axis of the building. The auditorium is axial, linearly confronted, with one balcony and with an orchestra pit. The entrance to the ground floor auditorium is solved through two entrances on the longitudinal side.



The carpenter János Lenner only acquired the plot of the future theatre with a building obligation, finishing the constructions of the inn “To the Seven Prince-Electors” (a Hét Választófejedelemhez) in 1715. The building was bought by Sebestyén Heusler in 1777, who did not cease, however, to operate the inn, and also added a coffee house to the complex in 1791. The building changed owners again in 1800, being acquired by Kristóf Nyákó. This was the place which hosted the concert of the twelve-year-old Franz Liszt on 1st May, 1823. With the demolition of the old inn a complex of private residences, a hotel and a coffee shop was erected in 1840, in neoclassical style, designed by József Hild, commissioned by Sándor Nákó. The Hungarian Mortgage and Credit Bank bought the building in 1881 and operated the hotel until 1902. This is where Marcell Pick and Lajos Fiedman furbished the Corso Cinema in 1911, the placement of which in the courtyard destroyed Hild’s original architectural concept with a large inner court. The cinema seated 379 originally, yet it was enlarged to 751 in 1926. The building suffered serious damage during WWII, but was fully renovated by the end of the forties. Between 1950–1964 it hosted a concert hall, a theatre hall, and a children’s theatre, all named after Béla Bartók.

The building underwent a thorough renovation between 1964 and 1967 following the plans of architect Sándor Azbej and interior designer Antal Németh. Theatre technology was designed by Ferenc Vajda, the acoustic engineer was dr. Ferenc Lohr. The ceramic decoration in the foyer was made by Mária Turi. An interesting fact of the reconstruction is that the increase of the useful space of the building was carried out without an exterior enlargement of the theatre: the extensive air space of the glass-domed foyer and the wing facing the Aranykéz street was split placing the offices, dressing rooms and  warehouses on this new storey. The full cost of the refurbishment was 17 million Forint.

The theatre was opened on 30th September 1967 as the Chamber Theatre of Vígszínház. In 1973 a memorial plaque was placed on the front façade to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Franz Liszt’s concert.      



Authors: József Hild, János Lenner, Sándor Azbej, Antal Németh

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