The city of Warsaw will allocate £31 million ($41 million) to give its Jewish theatre a new home.
On Thursday, the Warsaw City Council approved the proposal by Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz to adapt a five-story tenement building. The building from the late 19th century is one of the few remnants of the former Jewish Warsaw. It is located on Prozna Street in the area of Grzybowski Square, where the original theatre building was located before its demolition in 2017.
The Warsaw Jewish Theatre was closed in 2016, when the building’s owner decided to empty the building before authorising its demolition. Its director and actors protested the decision.
Malgorzata Zakrzewska, a Warsaw City Council member, called the Jewish theatre “one of the most important guardians of Jewish culture in Warsaw, and all over Poland.”
“It is our commitment, but also our responsibility for culture, which was a permanent element of the Warsaw landscape before the war,” Zakrzewska said Thursday at a news conference.
The £31 million ($41 million) will be used to hold an architectural competition and for design documentation in order to restore the splendour of the former Jewish tenement house. According to preliminary plans, there will be two stages along with facilities for the activities and promotion of Yiddish culture.
The city is waiting for conservation recommendations from the Provincial Conservator of Monuments, which will be the basis for the competition for architects.
The opening of the new theatre is planned to take place in five years.
“The city authorities believed with us that this theatre is an ambassador of Jewish culture,” theatre director Gołda Tencer said at the news conference. “I promise that together with the actors, staff and administration, we will make something special here.”