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Theatre building near Hetman Jan Branicki’s palace

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(detail)50. 's 18. century | opening



In Białystok, a theatre building was erected around 1750 in the garden, near Hetman Jan Branicki’s palace. The two-storey edifice was built from timberframing with a tiled roof and the façade was decorated with architectural motifs and the emblems of the owners. As you entered the marble vestibule, the stairs led down to the room with benches in the stalls and boxes. The painting on the plafond of the ceiling depicted ‘a flower wreath with five people.’ The curtain, painted by Augustyn de Mirys, showed mythological scenes (in the 19th century it was sold and removed to England). The stage was richly provided with technical equipment. Performances, mainly of opera and ballet, were held until 1771 and then the theatre, no longer used, went to ruin.[1] In 1808, on the occasion of the visit of Wojciech Bogusławski’s company, the building was quickly renovated and ten new sets of décors were ordered.

‘We proffered o’er dozen showings, which hath given common satisfaction […] and it

bestowed rich benefits’ – noted Bogusławski, describing on that occasion the curtain

preserved from old times:

‘It doth present gods ’twixt demigods in all manner of poses. Muses, nymphs,

satyrs and all nature of mythological persons, near and far, keeped in wonderous

proportion; they present together admirable view wi’ each separate group well able

to make up an equally beautiful picture.’[2]  

 After this time, solely wandering companies seldom performed in Białystok. Branicki’s dilapidated theatre was knocked down in the 1840s.

[1]Stanisław Dąbrowski, Teatr hetmański w Białymstoku, Białystok 1938; Barbara Król-Kaczorowska,

Teatr dawnej Polski. Budynki. Dekoracje. Kostiumy, Warszawa 1971.

[2] Wojciech Bogusławski, Dzieje Teatru Narodowego na trzy części podzielone..., Warszawa 1965, p. 201.



  1. Bogusławski W., Dzieje Teatru Narodowego na trzy części podzielone..., Warszawa 1965, p. 201.
  2. Dąbrowski S., Teatr hetmański w Białymstoku, Białystok 1938.
  3. Glinka J.,  Zamek obronny w Białymstoku w XVI i XVII wieku [w:] „Rocznik Białostocki”, vol.III, 1961, pp. 72-76.
  4. Król-Kaczorowska B., Teatr dawnej Polski. Budynki. Dekoracje. Kostiumy, Warszawa 1971.
  5. Samusik J., Wersal Podlaski – powrót do dawnej świetności?,  „Spotkania z Zabytkami” No. 1, 2009.
  6. Wątki gotyckie Pałacu Branickich w Białymstoku [w:] „Ochrona Zabytków” 1952, vol.5, No.5, p. 287.



Author: Jarosław Komorowski

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