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Monuments
The Municipal Theatre of Piraeus
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The Municipal theatre of Piraeus stands at Iroon Polytechniou Street since the mid 19th century. Its size and architecture set it the best preserved theatre in Greece.

Despite D. Rondiris’ efforts in the period 1957-1959 the theatre never had its own repertory but constituted a branch of the National Theatre, The National Opera and hosted independent performances from Greek and foreign theater companies. The building provided shelter for the refugees who move in Greece after the Destruction of Asia Minor and the populations’ exchange, whereas during the German Occupation it was an entertainment centre for the conquerors.


Short History

The mayor T. Moutzopoulos and the council of Piraeus city made the decision on constructing the theatre in 1883. The realization of the project started from the next administration of A. Skylitsis and finished 12 years later (1895) under the mayor T. Retsinas. The architectural study was conducted by the Piraean architect I. Lazarimos and the theatre was inaugurated on April 9th, 1895.

All the administrations in Piraeus cared intensively about maintaining and developing the theatre’s services. In 1927 methodic restoration works were carried to recover the damages created when it was used as the refugees’ hosting centre. In 1952 the theatre was supplied with modern equipment and the wooden seats were replaced by velvet ones.

 

The earthquakes in 1981 and 1999 caused severe damages in the building and the foyer was claimed out of use. In 2003 the building was judged inappropriate to host performances and dangerous so the theatre stopped operating. In 2006 it was incorporated in the 3rd European Support Framework and its restoration project started running.

The Municipal Theatre in Piraeus has been declared a preserved monument with the States’ decision.


Architecture

The building is rectangular-in-shape with dimensions 34x45. Its style has been clearly influenced by the German school. The entrance is imposing and magnificent with a gate (propylon) supported by 4 columns of Corinthian-Order which ends up in a pediment. Above the gate there is a chamber with a pediment in its facade too.

In the interior there is the horse-shoe hall that consists of the parterre, the galleries and the circles in four levels and has got a capacity of 1300 seats. On the top of the hall we can see a dome made entirely of wood in the ship-carpenters’ technique. The two-storey foyer spreads around the hall and it was hosted many charity and artistic events. The theatre’s scene is the original one, a fine piece of Baroque art. Its dimensions are 20x14 and it is divided into the Proscenium and the Orchestra At the back part there is the backstage area that consists of big dressing rooms and a spacious and luxurious lounge.


Performances

The theatre has presented significant performances of great theatre writers by important and talented Greek actors and directors of the 20th century. The first who performed on this stage were the repertories of D. Alexiadis and Tavoularis with a great number of plays like ‘Prometheus’ (I. Kalostypis), ‘Vasilios Voulgaroktonos’ (G. Stratigis) and ‘Agapitikos  tis Voskopoulas’ (D. Koromilas).  Then the repertory of K. Christomanou highlighted with performances like ‘Hamlet’ (Shakespeare) and ‘Ecclesiazusae’ (the ancient comedy of Aristophanes).

 

Apart from performances presented by the repertories that had taken over the theatre’s artistic direction, the theatre has hosted many independent productions too. Some of the top directors who presented their works here are D. Rondiris, K. Koon, S. Karandinos and S. Enangelatos and some of the most distinguished protagonists are Kyveli, Kotopouli, Minotis, Paxinou, Katrakis, Logothetidis, Chorn, Lambeti, Karezi, Alexandrakis and many more.

 

This architectural masterpiece was a centre of artistic creation and became a pole of attraction for international repertories who presented their work in the Athenian audience. From the beginning of the 19th century the theatre had already hosted a lot of performances. Some of the most significant appearances were the Imperial Theatre of Tokyo (1904) and the National Theater of Turkey (‘Tsakpina’, 1931). When the War ended the theatre started acquiring International fame again by presenting the Black Theatre of Prague for the first time in Greece (1965) and by hosting actors of Comedie Francaise in plays of Marivaux, Moliere and Musset (early ‘70s). In 1974 the known Québec Ballets (music by Ianis Xenakis) performed, in 1979 ‘Antigone’ of Brecht was presented, in 1994 the Odessa National Opera presented the play ’Yolanda’ of Tchaikovsky and in 1996 the National Theatre of Craiova performed ‘Phaedra’ in texts of Seneca and Euripides.

Tel.: +3(0)2104120333