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Photographer's Note

Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków, built in 1893, was modeled after some of the best European Baroque theatres and named after the poet Juliusz Słowacki.

Designed by Jan Zawiejski, it was erected on Holy Ghost Square (Plac Św. Ducha) in place of the former 14th century church and monastery of religious order of 'duchacy' or Order of the Holy Ghost (hence the name of the square). Since the secularization of the Polish male branch of the order in 1783, the church had been converted into a residential building. In 1886 the city council of Kraków decided to demolish the old church in order to make room for a new theatre. The church was finally demolished in May 1892, an event which caused much controversy, notably the declaration of Polish painter Jan Matejko, that he would never exhibit his paintings in Kraków again.

The new theatre opened on October 21, 1893. It was an exquisite example of the Polish Eclectic architecture, the first building in Kraków designed for and equipped with electric light. Initially it was called Municipal Theatre (Teatr Miejski). Only in 1909 did it receive the name of Juliusz Słowacki, a Polish poet and playwright of Romanticism.

Inauguration took place with a program consisting of excerpts from Aleksander Fredro's Zemsta, Juliusz Słowacki's Balladyna and Adam Mickiewicz's Konfederaci Barscy. The theatre staged its first full-length production, Fredro's Śluby Panieńskie, four days later.

During Nazi Germany occupation of Poland, the theatre was run by a German troupe. The last Polish play for the next 6 years was produced in Autumn 1939. The theatre reopened for Polish audience in February 1945.

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