Wilam Horzyca’s municipal theatre, Toruń
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Wilam Horzyca’s municipal theatre



Theatre building in Art Nouveau style, with eclectically treated elements of early modern architecture, deemed to be classical for these kinds of structure in the 19th century. Facade layout was repeated in the national theatre in Kluż-Napoka in Romania, built in the years 1904-1905, side facades are on the other hand most similar to the national theathre in Sofia.


The construction of the theatre begun in July 1903, and its solemn opening took place in September 1904. The design was prepared by a prominent architectural company of Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer from Vienna, specialising in this type of construction. Until the 1880s a permanent place of organising theatre performance in Toruń was the so called Second Artus Court. The theatre building was erected on a square which formed after disassembling the municipal walls and filling up the moat, near non-existent already at the moment Chełmińska gate (dismantled in October 1889). In 1909 in front of the main entrance to the theatre the statues of the muses - Melpomene (muse of tragedy) and Terpsichore (the muse of dance and chorus), were placed. They were made by the sculptor from Berlin - Ernst Herter. In 1916 in front of the building the greenery form was demarcated, which remains unchanged until today. The reconstruction of the theatre of 1941-1942 softened the features of Art Nouveau, but the building did not lose its character. In 1960 the theatre was named after Wilam Horzyca (1889-1959), prominent director, who in the years 1945-1948 was its manager. From 1959 the Northern Poland Theatre Festival takes place here, in 1990 changed into International Theatre Festival Kontakt. The building housing auxiliary facilities, built in 1990-1993 according to the design of Czesław Sobociński, refers with its architecture to the main building (from 1995 “Scena na zapleczu” stage is situated there).


The complex of theatre buildings (theatre and facilities) is located to the North of Rynek Staromiejski [Old Town Square], within the area demarcated from the South by Fosa Staromiejska street, W.Horzycy street from the West, Wały gen. Wł. Sikorskiego street from the North and Teatralny square from the East. Theatre building is a free-standing one, communicated with a facilities building by means of a basement hallway. Theatre in an Art Nouveau style is erected on a plan similar to a rectangle, with slightly wider western (stage) part, with a main entrance from the East, encompassed in two avant-corps on the sides, and with side entrance from the North, South and West. It is a three-storey building with a basement, with additional storey in the stage part and avant-corps placed almost symmetrically in the northern and southern part. It is covered with a mansard and gable roof. The building is made of cement and lime solid brick, plastered; there is stucco decoration, reinforced concrete ceilings, steel roof truss with lattice trusses in representative rooms. Mansard roof with ceramic roof tiles, roof over the audience covered with zinc-plated sheet metal. There is a three-axis front facade, with main entrance placed in the middle. The axes of the facades are demarcated by window openings of the first and second storey, the central axis composed in the form of portal enclosed with an arch, encompassed in two pairs of columns and glazed with two rows of windows. Lower storey of the facade is separated from the upper one with a cornice, facade decorated with rustication, windows in ornamental surrounds in an Art Nouveau style. The remaining facades rusticated in smooth strips, were counterbalanced with axes of the windows of the third storey,  crowned with oval openings over the simple cornice. Inside vestibules with preserved original functional layout, with ticket offices, behind which there are stairs leading to the second floor (balconies). In the corners there are diagonally diverging stairs to the first floor, in the middle there are two doors to the corridors leading to the ground floor of the audience. Foyer in the main part of the entrance avant-corps, with diversified decoration. The corridor with the cloakrooms is surrounded by ovally distributed audience, which was intended for 809 persons (including the standing places), except seats in the loges. Large stage is equipped with hoisting and rigging equipment, enabling fast changes of decorations, and equipment used for producing sound effects.

Accessible historic building. It may be visited when the theatre is open.

Compiled by Marzenna Stocka, National Heritage Board of Poland Regional Branch in Toruń, 20.08.2014.


  • Mansfeld B., Zespół zabytkowy Torunia, Warsaw 1983, pp. 45-47.
  • Mansfeld B., Wajda K., Teatr w Toruniu, Warsaw-Poznań-Toruń 1978.  

General information

  • Type: public building
  • Chronology: 1903-1904 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Toruń
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district Toruń, commune Toruń
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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