Town theatre (a ceremonial building)

Horný val No. 3

The Town Theatre was built between 1942 and 1945 as a ceremonial building and Roman Catholic Grammar School. The Italian Neoclassical building was initially designed by Ferdinand Čapka and František Eduard Bednárik, but the building was built to incorporate a design proposed by Opava-born Otto Reichner (1888 to 1961). The building was built by the town of Žilina and on its facade were three coats of arms – the Slovak national emblem, the papal emblem and the emblem of Žilina.

They were removed in 1949. The building was donated to the church, but after 1945 it once again became the property of the town and was completed. In 1950 Žilina Regional Theatre was based here, because Žilina was the county seat. In 1956, there was a theatre here which performed under the name of Peter Jilemnický Theatre. It was discontinued in 1966, but the theatre company remained in Žilina as a branch of the SNP Theatre in Martin till 1969.

Professional theatre was reinstated in Žilina on 1 January 1992, when the town of Žilina established Žilina Town Theatre, and it is the only county theatre to be funded by the town of Žilina. In 1961, besides the theatre, there was also a secondary general education school and then an elementary school, and Žilina Park of Culture and Leisure was also located here.

In the foyer there are busts of four pioneers in Slovak dramatic art: Samo Chalúpka (1813-1876), Gašpar Belopotocký (1794-1874), Ján Palárik (1822-1870) and Ferko Urbánek (1859-1934), created by sculptors František Štefunko (1903-1974) and Stanislav Biroš (1901-1983). The building of the current theatre was built on the site of a former town church school, which had stood here since the 14th century. The first records of a teacher being here date back to 1358.

In 1542 there was a Protestant grammar school called the “Academy”, in existence in Žilina until the early 18th century. Students from abroad studied here and the Academy’s rectors were important figures in religious life, and some of them were writers and poets: for instance, Juraj Bánovský (1500-1561) and Mojžiš Bánovský, Elijáš Ladiver father (1610-1676), Elijáš Ladiver son (1633-1686), Samuel Nigrini (1680-1708), Michal Ascanius- Haško (+1700). After the demise of the old school, there was a church primary school here, built in 1775 and demolished just before the ceremonial building was built. Next to the school, there was the only direct route from Marianske Square to Andrej Hlinka Square, the Parish Steps of 1912 -1921 had not yet been built.

The whole area around the church, the school, the old rectory and the original cemetery was finally marked off when the balustrade was constructed. The balustrade acquired its present appearance in the years 1941-1944 as designed by Otto Reichner. The balustrades have two sets of steps at the sides and there is a Baroque town coat of arms on the parapet.

After 1990, the Church Business Academy and Žilina Television, later renamed Patriot Television, set up in the theatre building. On 14 October 2000, a bust of former mayor JUDr. Vojtech Tvrdý (1896-1963) was unveiled at the corner of the building, and on 11 June 2006 it was joined by a relief of Lutheran bishop Fedor F. Ruppeldt. The bust and relief are the work of sculptor Ladislav Berák and are made of bronze.

Between 1999 and 2003 the theatre building was extensively renovated at a cost of 70 million Slovak crowns. The Town Theatre was officially opened on 19 December 2003 in the presence of President Rudolf Schuster.

Source: Mgr. Jozef Moravčík, Mgr. Peter Štanský

It can be visited
exterior during a guided tour of TIO Žilina.

Position of the monument on the map: B4/ C4

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