Istrian 2000-Year-Old Stage: Small Roman Theatre Opens in Pula

April 24, 2023 - The grand opening of the renovated Small Roman Theater will be marked by a two-day music and stage program, which, apart from the inauguration of the future summer stage, is also intended as a gift to the Pula public on the occasion of the City Day celebration

The grand opening of the Small Roman Theater in Pula will take place on Pula City Day, May 5 this year. The opening ceremony will be accompanied by a sumptuous music and stage program directed by Krešimir Dolenčić and Aleksandar Švabić. The following day, May 6, the stage of the Small Roman Theater will host Perpetuum Jazzile, a Slovenian musical attraction and one of the most recognizable vocal groups in the world. This will officially celebrate the restoration of the original function of an extremely important ancient cultural monument in Pula, whose reconstruction was carried out by interdisciplinary teams of architects, designers, conservators, archaeologists, and art historians.


"The complex renovation project of the Small Roman Theater is behind us, and we are proud to soon present one of the most spectacular concert, theater, and performance spaces in this part of Europe. As a community, we have an obligation to protect the rich cultural heritage and at the same time think of ways to integrate this valuable cultural heritage into the modern fabric of the city so that it serves today's needs in culture, and the public gets the opportunity to enjoy a space of unique monumental value, atmosphere, and acoustic quality", said Darko Komšo, director of the Archaeological Museum of Istria.

In the first century of our era, the Small Roman Theater served the cultural needs of the then-population of Pula. The renovated version can accommodate around 1,250 people today and, just like in ancient times, it will be a medium for encounters of the audience and artists, various performers of performing arts, and its devotees. It is important to point out that after almost two decades of neglect, the Small Roman Theater was renovated using a contrasting method, using steel and white concrete, whereby exceptional care was taken to ensure that the foundations of the new construction did not touch or endanger the Roman remains of the building anywhere. 


The grandstands were completely built without nuts and bolts so as not to disturb the acoustics of the space, and the height and depth of the stairs correspond to the original proportions, whereby the ratio 1:2 was respected, according to the instructions from the "Ten Books on Architecture" by the famous Roman architect from 1 century BC, Vitruvius.

Part of the Small Roman Theater of Europe project is the monumental, 330 square meters large screen that was placed on the facade of the Archaeological Museum of Istria. The reconstruction project of the Small Roman Theater received an honorable award at the Piran Days of Architecture and was also nominated for the "Bernardo Bernardi" architectural award.

The renovation of the Small Roman Theater was financed by the European Fund for Regional Development and the funds of the Ministry of Culture and Media, as well as the own funds of the Archaeological Museum of Istria.

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