the only such theatre in Poland
Jan Kochanowski Theatre in Opole is a drama theatre whose history dates back to the post-war years. Since 1975, the theatre has been operating in its current location with one of the largest stages in Europe, the largest dramatic stage in Poland, and the third largest in the country after the Warsaw and Łódź opera houses. In the 1970s it was called a super theatre because of its size, momentum and budget, which was the highest in Poland at the time. Completed after more than nine years of construction, the theatre was the most modern theatre building in Poland at the time of its opening. Since that year, it has also borne the name of its current patron and hosts the Opole Theatre Confrontations, a festival devoted to stagings of Polish classical literature.
The building was designed by the design tandem of Julian Duchowicz and Zygmunt Majerski and is one of the most interesting theatre buildings in Poland. At the time of its acceptance, it had a Large Stage and a Small Stage. In the course of its operation, the rehearsal room was converted into the Stage on the Ground Floor (now the Bunkier Stage), and in 2016, on the initiative of Norbert Rakowski, the Modelatornia stage was created, arranged from the technical rooms of the paint shop next to the Large Stage. So now the theatre has four stages and a total of almost a thousand seats in the auditoriums. The huge stage, the trapdoors, the turntable, mean that many artists here indulge in demanding, spectacular productions that stun audiences with their spectacularity.
Most recently, the building underwent a major refurbishment between 2019 and 2021 as part of the ‘New Quality Theatre’ project. The main entrances to the theatre, the backstage and dressing rooms and the front elevation of the building have been rebuilt. A Theatre Education Centre was created, the ventilation and air-conditioning were upgraded, the sound system and lighting for the various stages were upgraded and the front façade was changed.
Realising the idea of the theatre as a meeting place and building a cultural and social community, theatre director Norbert Rakowski has created an environment and circumstances conducive to artists, audiences and the city’s inhabitants. He succeeded in restoring the designers’ original intentions by reopening and revealing the divided spaces of the two-storey foyer and aligning them with contemporary technological standards and design trends. Sophisticated measures that do not infringe on the 1970s architecture have made the venue once again delightful and appealing to audiences.
The theatre hosts more than just theatre shows.
The renovated lower foyer houses the tasteful club café Atelier. The upper foyer and the theatre’s stage are venues for workshops and lectures, as well as for concerts promoting young Polish artists just entering the music market. In turn, the Centre for Cultural Education organises meetings with artists and creators and thematic meetings with invited experts, as well as introductions to performances. In our theatre you will discover completely new spaces and feel their unique atmosphere.
It is a place to work and relax, a place open to different voices and different perspectives.