150 ago, the land now taken up by Nowy Teatr was used as a clay pit for brick production. Fifty years later clay pit was filled up with heaps of rubbish. In 1927, a hall for repairs of urban sanitation vehicles was constructed on the edge of the former pit. In 2008, the history of Nowy Teatr begins. Initially, the theatre leased several small premises from City Sanitation Department (MPO), and since 2012 it has been the exclusive user of the land and historic production hall, creating interdisciplinary cultural centre on the area of 9,000 sqm.
As a space, Nowy Teatr is almost one-hectare rectangle located in the heart of the district, which is to become a cultural agora, venue of social interaction, public space favouring the exchange of experiences, but also a place of casual relax on the way through the city.
Simplicity of factory buildings creates egalitarian atmosphere. The form is subordinate to function and substance of the place. Nowy Teatr is a conglomerate of rooms, storeys, situations and experiments – the place, which is distinct, culture making and uniting.
Philosophy of the place is related to its spatial layout:
production hall – will adopt artistic and presentation functions;
open area will be the place of social events, sports activities and seasonal artistic presentations.
Such thinking is displayed in the openness of the program and spatial structure, which will address the needs of different users.
Nowy Teatr is a centre of culture that supports artistic and social actions aimed at seeking new ways of communication, involved in the daily life of local community. Projects of Nowy Teatr are profiled in such a way that what is local gets supra-local meaning and has a chance to be confronted by the public on regional and supra-regional level.
Nowy Teatr is a producer of theatre shows (including the ones by artistic director, Krzysztof Warlikowski), cyclic events (workshop programs and interdisciplinary actions), single events like exhibitions, concerts or interventions in the urban space, festivals of domestic and international character (festival of musical installations - Instalakcje), educational events (debates, lectures and publications), as well as social events (Nowy Targ/New Market). Part of Nowy Teatr productions is carried out through domestic and international co-productions. A distinctive feature of Nowy Teatr is its interdisciplinarity, presenting high art in non-obvious space or arrangement. Actions of Nowy Teatr are aimed at creative participation.
After revamping of the hall, the place will function all year round. New life of the Nowy Teatr is based on forming a creative offer that can activate residents of Mokotów and Warsaw, in accordance with the philosophy of the place, namely, that everyone who thinks is a creative human being.
Construction of the Nowy Teatr International Centre of Culture envisages modernization of the historic hall, as well as part of administration building, together with their adaptation to the requirements of cultural and educational program, and development of the building’s surrounding within the area leased by Nowy Teatr at Madalińskiego 10/16. The entire space will function under the name of the Nowy Teatr International Centre of Culture in Warsaw. To the highest possible extent, the centre will be adapted to the needs of disabled persons.
The most important element of the investment is revitalization of the hall with the area of about 2,800 sqm. Architectonic form of the facility will remain unchanged due to its historic character. The hall, which until 2012 was employed for servicing MPO’s devices and vehicles, is being transformed into multifunctional space used for creating spectacles and shows of different character and scale. Thanks to the constellation of ceiling hooks, adequate placement of process connections and mobile seating area for about 400 people, there will be a possibility to adapt the stage and auditorium layout each time to the needs of particular show or artistic action. The interior, and the theatre’s hall in particular, will resemble a movie studio more than a classic theatre interior. Besides the stage, the hall will house a rehearsal room, two-storey part including artistic backrooms (dressing room, make-up room) and technical infrastructure together with a warehouse, and a spacious foyer.
Flexibility of stage and seating area settings allows for simultaneous use of space – part of the hall can be adapted for a spectacle, another part for exhibition, whereas preparations to a concert might take place in the remaining part.
Redeveloped link between the hall and administration building will provide year-round, main entrance from Madalińskiego street.
In the summer, the open-air zone will offer a chance to create centre within the centre, an additional artistic and living space. External area of the theatre will be a place intended for artistic installations. Artists, architects, designers who are interested in testing new ways of using urban space, for instance through carrying out intriguing spatial installations, will be invited. The entire land will be fenced, though it will be a fence of an untypical nature – through a possibility to open its modules, its openwork shape and meandering route, and by integrating benches into it, it will make for an element that is rather connecting than dividing. Peripheral belt is envisaged to resemble ecotone (i.e. ecosystem which is a transition zone between two ecosystems), combining functions of theatre and the city that surrounds it. Intertwining of these functions will form soft edges - invigorating for the public space.