Socialist architectural masterpieces: The White theater in Sliven

Socialist architectural masterpieces: The White theater in Sliven

2 minutes to read

Lately, the socialist architecture is more and more present in the form of monuments in architecture. The main reason is the fact that even decades after, the objects representing this style still look ahead of their time. Sharp lines mark delightfully the structures of this wave. Everything has first started between 1932 and 1988 in the Soviet Union and grew through more countries during the time that Yugoslavia and Bulgaria have been facing communism. Today, we can still praise some of the most notable architectural monuments of this period. Following the philosophy of socialism, some of the often celebrated elements through art are the industry, sunlight, unity, youth and new technology. Often this style is displaying through the architecture a national strength and unity. This is why often there are monuments (by function) among the structures.  Some characteristic examples would be  the Buludza monument,  and the Monument of 1300 Years of Bulgaria in Shumen, and Defenders of Stara Zagora Memorial Complex.

Another example of socialist Utopian ideology presented through architecture in Bulgaria is a centrally placed theater in Sliven, named by the famous actor and director, Stefan Kirov.

Little about Sliven

Panoramic view of town of Sliven. Picture © Credits to istock/ ©ecobo
Panoramic view of town of Sliven. Picture © Credits to istock/ ©ecobo

Aside the basic info of this place- meaning that is located in South-east Bulgaria, and it has a beautiful theater building in modernist style (i will get back on this later)- the place of Sliven holds one very romantic story. A story of an 1100 years old oak. Since trees can live incredibly long, this tree doesn't only serve as a reference meeting point in the city, but also everyone raised in Sliven has a personal story related to its importance. It is like a 1100 years old memory book! 

 The White theater

The tradition of the theatrical plays in Sliven starts 140 years ago, but the first professional group was formed in 1918. This year the "theater group" of Sliven celebrates 100 years of existence. The year of 1987 is the point when the building I am referring to  as "socialistic monument", was erected. 

The exterior contains the main modernistic characteristics- clear lines, rhythm, and general composition that speaks up for the function of the building. The white exterior is also the reason why this theater is known as the "White Theater".

The White theater in Sliven.  Picture © Credits to istock/ wikimedia
The White theater in Sliven. Picture © Credits to istock/ wikimedia

This object serves the city of Sliven with two performing spaces - a big stage and a small stage. Also in the object,  a ballet hall and two foyer spaces can be found. This playhouse, with its sculptural appearance, is situated in the very heart of the city of Sliven. It is also considered as the biggest cultural institute in the region and one of the biggest in the country.

Cover photo credit: ©wikimedia

The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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