Juliusz Słowacki Theatre, erected in 1893, was modelled after some of the best European Baroque theatres, and named after Polish poet Juliusz Słowacki in 1909. The theatre was closely related to the rediscovery of Romantic drama as well as the premiere productions of plays by Polish national playwright Stanisław Wyspiański.
The theatre opened on October 21, 1893 on the site of a former church. An exquisite example of Eclectic architecture, the theatre was also the first building in Krakow designed for and equipped with electric light. Initially it was called the Municipal Theatre.
Designed by Jan Zawiejski, the theatre was erected on the Holy Ghost Square in place of the former 14th-century church and monastery of the Order of the Holy Ghost (hence the name of the square). The church had been converted into a residential building due to secularization of the Polish male branch of the cloister in 1783. The city council of Krakow decided to demolish it in 1886 in order to make room for a new theatre. The church was dismantled in May 1892, which caused much public controversy.
The significance of the Polish Romantic tradition under the foreign occupation and especially Słowacki’s legacy were reflected in the first festival of his plays organised there in 1909. It was at this time that the theatre adopted the name of Słowacki and became known as Juliusz Słowacki Theatre.
During Nazi occupation of Poland, the theatre was run by a German troupe. The last Polish play for the period of 6 years was produced in autumn 1939. The theatre reopened for Polish audience in February 1945.
Since March 27, 1976, the theatre is accompanied by the so-called Small Stage, housed in the former electric plant (designed in the 1890s to provide the theatre with its own electricity). In 2000 a third stage was added, the summertime Next to the Pump Stage. A fourth one (Stage in the Gate) opened on November 7, 2003.
Curtain of Juliusz Słowacki Theatre is an oil painting of Henryk Siemiradzki, painted on linen canvas stretched on a wooden stretcher. Unlike most of the other curtains this one is not rolled, but raised above the stage during the performances.
The famous Curtain of Juliusz Słowacki Theatre is an oil painting of Henryk Siemiradzki, painted on linen canvas stretched on a wooden stretcher. Unlike most of the other curtains this one is not rolled, but raised above the stage during the performances.