The Słowacki Theater is named after Juliusz Slowacki. This building was designed by Jan Zawiejski and is located on the Holy Ghost Square (plac sw. ducha). Did you know that in the past, this theater was mostly visited by aristocracy? If you lived in that time, you couldn’t just go with your granny to visit or see a play. You had to be very wealthy to go to the Słowacki Theater. Now, anyone can visit!
The Słowacki theater was designed by Jan Zawiejski, erected on the Holy Ghost Square. The original building was a church built in the 14th century called the Church of the Holy Ghost. In the 19th century the people of Krakow decided they needed a theater, which is now the Słowacki theater. In 1872, Walery Rzewuski gave a formal request to the city to build a theater. The Holy ghost church was dismantled in 1892 so the theater can take place on the Holy Ghost Square. This caused controversy, especially from a famous painter, Jan Matejko, who declared that he would never again exhibit his work in Krakow.
The theater opened on October 21, 1893 and the first person to run the theatre was Tadeusz Pawlikowski. It was the first building to have electric light in Krakow. The theater staged its first show – “ Śluby Panienskie ” by Aleksander Fredro -four days after the inauguration. At first, the theater was named the Municipal theater, but in 1909 it was named by the name of a famous poet and playwright- Juliusz Słowacki. During the German Nazi occupation of Poland, the theater was run by a german troupe. The last Polish play before the war was in 1939. The theater reopened for the Polish audience in 1945.
The Słowacki theater is the biggest theater in Krakow. You can see the influence of the old Polish, French, and Austrian architecture.It was made in neo baroque and eclectic style. The building consists of a facade, a representative west facade, and a vestibule. On the left side of the highly decorated facade there are allegorical sculptures showing poetry, drama, and comedy. On right side there are sculptures that represent opera. A little lower there is a bust of cheerfulness and sadness. On the front part of the facade there is a sign that says “Kraków Narodowej sztuce” which means “Cracow’s National art”. On top there is a statue of a young woman dressed in a noble costume(Zosia) and a young man in a robe(Tadeusz). On the top of the whole building- best to see on the facade- there is a round part of the roof called a dome. The columns of the Słowacki theater are called composite columns. The Słowacki theater has arches above windows and doors that in some places form an arcade. It has a lot of balustrades and balconies.
The attic of the facade is modeled on the attics of the Krakow Cloth Hall, which in 1874- 1879 was thoroughly restored, which led to many discussions in the environment. Since that time architects eagerly reached for this “native” theme. In the foyer there are stuccos by Alfred Putz and stone work decoration by Józef Kulesza, while in the vestibule there is a monument of Stanisław Wyspiański made by Bolesław Chromy and murals by Antoni Tuch. The a auditorium of the theater is decorated with a curtain by Henryk Siemiradzki – an oil painting on canvas, showing an allegorical scene. The curtain was raised for the first time on April 18, 1894.