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Wybrzeże Theatre

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)1956 | architectural project of the building

(detail)1967 | opening of the building
Premiere of Zmierzch demonów (Dusk of Demons), dir. Jerzy Goliński
(detail)2002 | rebuilding of stage, auditorium, entrance
authors of the project: Stanisław  Fiszer and Jan Raniszewski


(detail)Lech Kadłubowski |architect
Architect, professor of Acedemy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk.

(detail)Marek Okopiński |art director
Actor and director. He was assistant of Kazimierz Dejmek.More theatres

(detail)Lidia Zamkow |art director
Director and actress. Her directorial debut was "Omyłka" by Bolesław Prus in TUR Theatre.More theatres

(detail)Stanisław Koźmian |director, translator
Esteemed critic, translator, theatre manager, stage director. Creator of the so-called "Krakow school."More theatres

Antoni Biliczak |theatre director


The current building of the Wybrzeże Theatre, located on the site of the former Coal Market, is the third in the two-hundred-year long history of this institution in Gdańsk. The former building of the Miejski Theatre, erected in 1801, was replaced in 1934. The new edifice harked back to the architectural forms of the old one and was built in the style of a Doric temple (the idea by the professor of the Technische Hochschule, Otto Kloeppel, the design by architects Fritsch and Pries). In 1945 the theatre burnt down and the remaining peripheral walls were demolished due to a political decision of the new city authorities. A new edifice was built on the site by Lech Kadłubowski (1916-2004), a prominent architect of post-war Gdańsk, and professor of the State Higher School of the Visual Arts, the main author of the post-war social realistic and social modernistic “reconstruction” of the city. The design of the theatre was prepared in 1956, but waited eleven years to be brought to fruition. The new edifice was opened in 1967.

The architecture of this building is in the late modernistic style, typical  of the end of 1950’s and the beginning of 1960’s: it is a simple, cubic block in the shape of a low ziggurat with a flat dome, referring to the neoclassical architecture of the previous building. The edifice attracts attention with a glass “screen” of the façade (this is why the building has been ironically called “aquarium”). The elevations, with rhythmic lattice composition of window and arcade sequences, were covered with warm yellow cladding sandstone, which gave the edifice a noble appearance. It is a typical example of prestige and representative architecture, although without any ambition to be innovative. The building reflects the echoes of Le Corbusier’s arch brut, modernist ideas of machinist architecture (theatre as a machine to show literature) and the neorationalist style of the late modernists, fashionable at the time when the design was being prepared. In the intention of the designer and his political communist principals, these reflections were to give the building, located in the “Polish Gdańsk”, just being rebuilt, modern qualities, and were to form a symbol of the new times and the new political system. However, the interior is traditional, with a box set and a horseshoe-shaped house. The modernisation in 2002, through the use of dark red upholstery, maintained the traditional, 19th century canon of theatre interiors. The ceiling is patterned after the map of the sky, with star signs made of fluorescent lamps.



  1. Cielątkowska R, 'Historia pewnego teatru - następstwo czasu', in: Architektura i Biznes 2002 No. 11.
  2. Ciesielski Z., 'Nowy budynek teatralny w Gdańsku', w: Gdańskie Zeszyty Humanistyczne, 1967.
  3. Fiszer S., 'Teatr Wybrzeże. Moja ingerencja', in: Architektura i Biznes 2002 No. 11.
  4. Hirsch R., 'Architektura teatrów na Targu Węglowym w Gdańsku', in: 200 lat teatru na Targu Węglowym w Gdańsku, Gdańsk: UG i NCK 2004.
  5. Kadłubowski L., 'Teatr Wybrzeże - omówienie projektu', in: 200 lat teatru na Targu Węglowym w Gdańsku, Gdańsk: UG i NCK 2004.
  6. Olędzki D., 'Teatr Gdański', w: Architektura 1968,  No. 1.
  7. Prusiewicz A. 'Trzy teatry na Targu Węglowym (1801-1935-1967) Architektura budynku - rozwiązania sceny i zaplecza', in: 200 lat teatru na Targu Węglowym w Gdańsku, Gdańsk: UG i NCK, 2004.
  8. Trammer H., 'Teatr w kolejnej odsłonie', in: Architektura 2002 nr 5.




Author: Marta Leśniakowska

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