Theatre history

Theatre of Stefan Żeromski in Kielce is one of the oldest scenes in Poland. The construction of the building at the main street in Kielce, 32 Sienkiewicza Street, and the then Pocztowa Street, started in 1877.

We invite you to familiarize yourself with the history of the theatre from the end of the 19th century until today!


2015 -

Michał Kotański



History of Theatre in Kielce in the last years is being written by Michał Kotański. One of his first artistic decisions was resumption of the performance “Loneliness of the Cotton Fields” and transferring it to the Big Scene. He initiated the co-operation with Theatre Academy in Cracow. The new manager succeeded in solving the problems with ownership of the Theatre seat, that had not been solved for 19 years. Thanks to that fact the Theatre was able to apply for grants of EU for general reconstruction of the building. Michał Kotański realised the dream of several of his predecessors and founded International Theatre Festival. The manager implements diverse repertoire line  - from the ambitious ventures to comedies and high level musicals. He invites the best theatre artists from Poland and abroad, i.e.: Dan Jemmett, Mikołaj Grabowski, Maja Kleczewska, Jolanta Janiczak and Wiktor Rubin, Monika Strzępka and Paweł Demirski, Una Thorleifsdottir. During his mandate the perfomances such as “Harper: By Simon Stephens directed by Grzegorz Wiśniewski, “1946” by Tomasz Śpiewak and Remigiusz Brzyk, “Rasputin” by Jolanta Janiczak directed by Wiktor Rubin, “Darknes..” by Paweł Demirski directed by Monika Strzępka (co-production with Theatre IMKA), musical “Bem! The Return of the Cannon Man” by Maciej Łubieński directed by Michał Walczak (co-production with Theatre Sirena).

Managing Director - Michał Kotański


1992-2015 - Piotr Szczerski 

The Theatre has managed by Piotr Szczerski for the longest period – 23 years . He took the position at the first period of political transformation. His aim was to attract as many viewers to the Theatre and to widen the theatre environment in the city. He quite succeeded in realizing this aim. Piotr Szczerski was close to theatre based on existential topics, and that was the repertoire line he chose, presenting the plays of Samuel Beckett (”Beckett. 11 plays”), Harold Pinter (“New World Order”), Franz Kafka (“Process”), Bogusław Schaeffer (“Séance”, “Tutam”). The fact that he was managing the only professional scene in the region compelled him do enwiden his interests into classical plays and contemporary Polish drama. There were such performances as “Revenge” by Aleksander Fredro, “Wedding” by Stanisław Wyspiański, “Ballads and Romances” by Adam Mickiewicz, “Love on the Crimea” and the first staging of “Let Us Meet In Jerusalem”. The decision to invite the artists of the youngest generation was groundbreaking, there were  Piotr Sieklucki, Radosław Rychcik, Weronika Szczawińska, Jolanta Janiczak and Wiktora Rubina, Mateusz Pakuła. The premiere of the “Loneliness of the Cotton Fields” by Bernard-Marie Koltès, directed by Rychcik, took place in 2009 on the Small Scene. Theatre critics recognised the new theatre language in it. The performance was invited to many festivals in the country and abroad. Big successes of the tandem Janiczak and Rubin were the performances : “Joanna the Mad; the Queen” and one of the most award winning performances in Poland during the last decade – “Empress Katarzyna”. The festival successes had the result that more and more artists wanted to work in Stefan Żeromski Theatre, appreciating the talented, diverse and played-out ensemble of actors, which had been completed by Szczerski. Piotr Szczerski gathered many art lovers around the theatre and the Society of Theatre Friends was founded. He also reactivated Plebiscite of the Audience „Wild Rose” – free of charge overview of the season premieres.

Managing Director 1992-2015 - Piotr Szczerski


1982 - 1990 - Bogdan Augustyniak 


Bogdan Augustyniak opened the dialogue with audience in the period of martial law and crisis of the 80’s of the former century. He worked with topics of state, socjety, individual in the times of danger, the future changes and apparent stabilization. He mostly chose Polish autors for staging. He enlarged the artistic ensemble with young actors with diplomas of theatre academies: Jerzy Kaczmarowski, Marzena Strzycka, Beata Ożóg, Renata Tukalska, Sławomir Holland and  Janusz Głogowski.

Among the older actors, main roles were mostly played by : Edward Kusztal, Janina Utrata, Anna Skaros and Zdzisławow Nowicki. After the long pause, Theatre became recognisable out of the region  - at Warsaw and Kalisz Theatre Meetings or Festival “Polish Classics” in Opole. 


Managing Director 1982-1990 - Bogdan Augustyniak


1952-1958 Irena and Tadeusz Byrscy 




Tadeusz Byrski as manager was helped by his wife Irena, who was, as her husband, director, actor and pedagogue. The period of their managment was later named „golden age” of Kielce theatre. The aim of Byrskis was to create ambitious and brave performance, free of party apparatus pressure, bravely and uncompromisable commenting the reality of that time, asking the important questions about the role of human in society and their responsibility for the others. Byrski took the managing position in the period when socialistic realism was ruling in the art. Therefore some typical plays of socialistic realism appeared in the repertoire, enforced by obligatory cultural policy. 

During the thaw they prepared performances that became a part of history of Polish theatre. In 1955. they recalled Stefan Żeromski’s play „The Little Quail Escaped Me”, which had not been played in Poland for long time. In the same year, in November, they performer fragments of „Dziady”. The Polish first staging of “Bedbug” by Majakowski, directed by Irena Birska, became the manifest of theatre free of politics, which was widely commented in Poland. Also “The Comment to Cook’s Travel” by Jean Giraudoux was a novelty in Polish repertoire. In 1957. Byrski planned the first staging of “Marriage” by Witold Gombrowicz, but the author did not agree to present the play in Kielce. The next accomplishment was the first staging of “Caligula” by Albert Camus directed by Byrski (1957), showing the analysis and effects of totalitarism. During the management of the Byrskis, many notable actors were performing in Kielce, i.e. Anna Ciepielewska  and Stanisław Niwiński. Byrskis realized their dream about their own acting school; on the 1st of October 1955 the first three years secondary school educating actors, Theatre Studio, started working. The another achievement of the Byrskis was creating around theatre environment of people interested in culture. 

Management 1952-1958 - Irena i Tadeusz Byrscy


1946-1950 - Hugon Moryciński 


Important period for Theatre was happening during the management of Hugon Moryciński. In 1946 the theatre was given a patron, after whom is named by now. In 1949 the institution became state-owned. State Theatre Stefan Żeromski had an affiliate in Radom (1946 – 1976). Manager Moryciński was the first who managed to keep permanent actors ensemble in Kielce for longer. The repertoire became more eclectic. Theatre received the first awards at the festivals – at Shakespeare Festival for “Midsummer Night Dream” by William Shakespeare (1947) and for “Tempest” by Aleksander Ostrowski at Festival of Soviet Plays (1949). The premiere of the opera „Cracovians and Mountaineers” by Wojciech Bogusławski, directed by Hanna Małkowska, supervised by Leon Schiller, was also big artistic event.

Managing Director 1946-1950 - Hugon Moryciński

The Beginning

It began with a romance… The year is 1877; and industrialist, the owner of breweries and philanthropist Ludwik Stumpf falls in love with and actress of Warsaw theatres. To have his beloved near him, he built her a theatre.
On 12 December 1878 the building at the then Pocztowa Street is blessed. The building houses: a theatre stage along with a restaurant, hotel and private premises. It is designed by Franciszek Ksawery Kowalski, one of the best architects in the country at the time.
The first play took place on 6 January 1879. The Józef Teksel Drama Society presented a comic opera entitled: Planquette’s “The Bells of Corneville” (Dzwony kornewilskie) translated by Józef Turczyński.

The young Stefan Żeromski frequented the theatre; he was learning in Kielce at the State Middle School for Boys. And on the stage, throughout history, the following presented their plays and performed: Gabriela Zapolska, Aleksander Zelwerowicz, Stanisław Przybyszewski, Karol Adwentowicz, Kazimierz Junosza-Stępowski, Wanda Siemaszkowa, Sławomir Mrożek.
The Stefan Żeromski Theatre is one of the oldest stages in Poland, since the beginning housed in a tenement house at 32 Sienkiewicza Street.

Theater - old photo


The „From Ludwik Theatre to Stefan Żeromski Theatre” Catalogue

The institutional theatre in Kielce had 16 directors. If you are interested in its history, we invite you to explore it through the jubilee publication “From Ludwik Theatre to Stefan Żeromski Theatre. A Chronicle: 1879–2019” – the first comprehensive publication of this kind, spanning 140 years of the history of the stage. The two-volume Chronicle includes a list of premieres, descriptions of various managements, excerpts from play reviews and articles on the Kielce stage, as well as previously unpublished photos. It retraces the history of the Theatre down to the most minute details.

For sale – ask at the Theatre Box Office.

The „From Ludwik Theatre to Stefan Żeromski Theatre” Catalogue