Municipal theatre, currently Stefan Jaracz Theatre, Olsztyn
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Municipal theatre, currently Stefan Jaracz Theatre

Olsztyn

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Example of architecture combining modernised classicist features and art deco influences. An important architectural and urban accent, designed by August Feddersen, a significant figure in the history of Olsztyn's architecture in the 1920s-1930s.

History

The municipal theatre building was erected in 1924-1925 to a design by August Feddersen. The project brought the architect recognition and consolidated his influence on the architectural fabric of the city. The theatre was erected on the then Hindenburgstrasse, lending a stately ambience to the street, together with the new town hall commissioned earlier. The theatre was built as a monument to fidelity (Der Treudank) after the 1920 plebiscite in Eastern Prussia, which was won by Germany. Many firms from Olsztyn and more remote East German territories were involved in building and furnishing the theatre, as emphasised in a catalogue of Feddersen’s works. The first show was Goethe’s “Faustus” staged on 29 September 1925. After World War II, when Olsztyn became part of Poland, the first Polish premiere was staged as early as 17 November 1945 (The Morality of Mrs. Dulska). The theatre was named after Stefan Jaracz. In 1996, stately external stairs leading to the building were converted (from straight stairs to half landing stairs). In 2008-2013, the building underwent thorough revitalisation; in the course of preservation work, Feddersen’s original colour scheme of the interiors was uncovered and made visible.

Description

The theatre is situated on the west side of todays 1 Maja St., on a slightly elevated terrain. The theatre building towers over the neighbourhood. It is built on an elongated rectangular plan with extensive annexes. The main axis of the foyer leads to an auditorium with a balcony on the second storey; main stage with backstage facilities. Plastered brick building. Two-storey compact, restrained, monumentalised structure with a low hip roof above the entrance side visible from the street. Seven-axis façade, with five main entrance doors set in deep reveals of the middle part with subtle avant-corps; above the doors, there are tall rectangular windows with small divisions of the glass, separated by triangular-section pilasters and prismatically designed simplified capitals. In the extreme axes of the front façade, there are rectangular windows with a characteristic, star layout of muntins in each light (the same form has been used in the entrance door transom windows). Above the pilasters, there are plain friezes and a pronounced cornice under eaves - a synthetic reference to classical entablature. Three-stepped gable set centrally in the roof. Articulation of the other façades achieved by frame divisions and varied arrangement of window openings with diversified window designs, with a repetitive layout of diagonally crossed muntins. Textured façade plaster has been applied, grooved concrete pilasters in the façade. The only colour feature is deep green of the entrance door. Restrained interior architecture, foyer divided by pillars, balcony supported by a row of squat Tuscan columns in simplified form. Interior designed to contrast with monochromatic grey of external façades. The walls feature large coloured surfaces in saturated tones, with gold-coloured ornamental items; the varied colour scheme of the walls is also continued in other indoor areas. The building was designed with great care both of the proportions and the expression of the whole and of each detail. Window divisions, simplified stepped gable, synthetically elaborated classicist elements, façade materials used, including concrete treated for **display purposes are motifs characteristic of the output of August Feddersen.

Situated behind the theatre is the building of the present Aleksander Sewruk Actors Studio, connected to the theatre by an extensive link.

The site is accessible to the public. Some of the interiors are accessible to the public. Public utility building, seat of the Stefan Jaracz Theatre in Olsztyn.

Compiled by Joanna Piotrowska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Olsztyn, 15-10- 2014.

Bibliography

  • Skibbe, Bauten des Architekten B.D.A. August Feddersen; Allenstein, Ostpreussen, Düsseldorf, b. r. w.
  • Rzempołuch, Architektura i urbanistyka Olsztyna 1353-1953. Od założenia miasta po odbudowę ze zniszczeń wojennych, Olsztyn 2005, s. 133-135.
  • R. Bętkowski, Olsztyn jakiego nie znacie, Olsztyn 2010, s.134-136.

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: 1924-1925
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: 1 Maja 4, Olsztyn
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district Olsztyn, commune Olsztyn
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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