Reconstruction of Prague's unique revolving stage theater is in full swing

The Spiral Theater was severely damaged in the 2002 floods and has been out of operation for twenty years, but will reopen to visitors next year.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 23.07.2022 15:09:00 (updated on 23.07.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague's revolving stage Spiral Theater (Divadlo Spirála) has been out of commission for more than twenty years, but is now being completely reconstructed and should open to visitors by next summer, the city has announced.

Originally a panoramic circular cinema, the location was rebuilt into a theater in 1991 during events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1891 General Land Centennial Exhibition in Prague. The nearby Industrial Palace, which is also currently being renovated, was created for the earlier exhibition.

The Spiral Theater, which features a unique revolving stage in the center of a circular auditorium, won a 1993 architectural award and was the setting for the staging of a memorable rendition of Jesus Christ Superstar in Prague.

But the building, like many others on the Výstaviště exhibition grounds, was heavily damaged during the 2002 floods and had been sitting in disrepair for nearly two decades. It was set for demolition, but saved at the last minute for proposed reconstruction in 2020.

"The Spiral Theater, which many of us remember as the setting for the legendary musical Jesus Christ Superstar, was heavily damaged in the floods of 2002. It fell into disrepair for many years and the city planned to demolish it, even having a demolition site ready," Prague Deputy Mayor Pavel Vyhnánek states in a press release.

"However, we managed to save this iconic space literally at the last minute and started its complete reconstruction. Thanks to this, this truly unique building will serve for generations to come. I believe that [the Spiral Theater] will be a favorite place for all Prague residents and visitors to the city, whether they come for theater, a musical, a concert, or a conference."

Reconstruction of Divadlo Spirála. Photo: Facebook / PRAHA SOBĚ
Reconstruction of Divadlo Spirála. Photo: Facebook / PRAHA SOBĚ

The complete reconstruction of the theater began earlier this year, at an estimated price tag of 200 million crowns. According to officials, it should be up and running for the summer 2023 season.

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The theater, which will be called Nová Spirála (New Spiral) upon opening, will feature seating for 750 people along its main revolving stage, as well as a smaller hall for accompanying performances.

"The Prague Exhibition Center is undergoing extensive renovations and Nová Spirála will strengthen our overall position on the market even more," says Tomáš Hübl, chairman of Výstaviště Praha, the company that operates the venue.

"For the future functioning of Spirála, we have already assembled a team of experienced managers who have started program preparations for the next season. Just like the entire Výstaviště complex, Nová Spirála will also offer its own rich program of theater performances in addition to other activities."

As part of the reconstruction, approximately 1,600 tons of concrete, asphalt and other materials were removed from the location, while about 100 tons of new steel structures were erected. New water retention tanks were added to the building to aid in irrigation of the surrounding landscape.

While the building was previously windowless, space for 44 new windows has been prepared around the facade, along with 27 additional windows throughout the stairways. The roof of the building has also been completely rebuilt.

For next summer's theater season, visitors to Prague's renovated Spiral Theater can look forward to a range of theatrical performances including drama, musicals, opera, and more. The venue will also host concerts from large classical orchestras to rock bands, and other special performances.

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