An Exciting Reinterpretation: Theatre in Gdánsk
Architect: Renato Rizzi, I–Venedig
Location: Wojciecha-Boguslawskiego-Straße 1, PL–80818 Danzig
Floor space: 4000 m²
Costs: 25.000.000 €
Project period: März 2011 – September 2014
Project manager: Renato Rizzi
It may well have been travelling English actors in the 17th century who were responsible for building this theatre in the port city of Gdánsk. It was they who brought the famous plays of great writers such as Shakespeare to the city, first to a multifunctional building known as the Fencing School; this was the town’s first public theatre. Later, a wooden open-air theatre was built in typical Renaissance style.
The new construction now bridges the historic location, old theatre traditions and contemporary requirements. The axis measurement of 2.80 metres, which corresponds to archaeological data, has been resuscitated and can be detected in the wall pilasters of the outer shell. The building fits into the surrounding urban landscape, yet leaves a mysterious impression. Its wing-like, 10.5 x 21-metre aperture reveals the building’s identity only indirectly by opening up to the outside world like the lid to a case.
Standing adjacent to the largely rebuilt old town on one side and a multilane road on the other, the new theatre has reoccupied its historic location; yet it provides a contemporary solution to the requirements of a modern multifunctional building. The combination of Elizabethan tradition and progressive techniques has led to an adaptable, flexible performance space that allows a variety of spatial configurations. As the covering to the Globe-style, studio or arena stage, the retractable roof construction is the perfect complement to the structure. In the form of a proscenium stage, it can be used for daylight performances.