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Opened in September, 2014, Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre is one of the most original and state-of-the-art cultural buildings in Poland. This unique complex attracts both art and architecture lovers to Gdańsk. According to many observers, GTS is the sign of new quality in the Polish theatre.

The building was designed by Renato Rizzi, one of the best and most valued contemporary architects. The Italian does not fear to stretch and cross boundaries, purposefully breaks the rules thus setting new trends in architecture. This is the way Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre is. It is a unique object that stands out among the city’s buildings also because of its anthracite facade, which evokes mixed feelings among some of the recipients.

However, 80 thousand hand made anthracite bricks hide an uncommonly friendly and modern interior. Wood is the main element of decor. It was used for both laying the floor in the theatre hall as well as for constructing audience galleries. Dominant colours within the building are bright, continuing the tradition of Shakespearean theatre, but have been crafted in accord with contemporary design trends.

Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre is famous for its functionality. It houses three stages: Elizabethan, created with Shakespearean plays in mind, traditional Italian, and an arena around which the audience gathers. Interestingly, because of the modern trapdoor system that has been implemented the stage and the audience can be leveled, creating one, vast space.

Because of the vast possibilities of this system, GST can be the stage for theatrical works of various forms and traditions.

The main feature of the building and its greatest asset is the retractable roof, which allows chosen plays to be performed under the open sky in broad daylight, as it used to be during the Renaissance period. The roof is massive, weighing about 90 tonnes and with surface of 420 square meters. Despite these numbers, it opens in just three minutes. Another distinct feature is the wall surrounding the building which can be used to take a walk.

Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre is the first theatre institution that operates as an artistic agency. Therefore, it has no permanent ensemble, and the theatre’s interior is used for outside theatre and music undertakings, as well as various other events (e.g. Amberif 2015 gala). June, 2015, witnessed the premiere of “The Merry Wives of Windsor” , the first GST and Wybrzeże Theatre co-production in history. The play is performed with the roof retracted and the stage is constructed according to classical, Renaissance guidelines (part of the audience is standing at the foot of the stage, part is sitting in the galleries).

During the year, GST hosts artists from all around Poland, among them: artists from the National Theatre from Warsaw, Theatre Scena STU from Kraków or Wrocław Pantomime Theatre. Gdańsk Shakespeare Thatre is also open to visitors. Guided tours around GST are available in Polish, English and Russian.

How did the traditional English Shakespeare theatre find its way to Gdańsk? As it turns out, English artists frequently visited this port town in 16th and 17th centuries. They performed Shakespeare’s plays in the Fencing School that stood where now GST is located. In the beginning of the 1990s, it was decided to “resurrect” artistic customs from hundreds of years ago, paving way for the Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival and, as a result, Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre.

The Prince of Wales Charles, the eldest son of the ruling queen of England Elizabeth II, has extended patronage over Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre.

Gdańsk Shakespeare Theater Wojciecha Bogusławskiego 1, 80-818 Gdańsk, Polska https://teatrszekspirowski.pl/ sekretariat@teatrszekspirowski.pl +48 58 351 01 51

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