||THE OLD THEATRE
For the visitors of Arad, an interesting edifice is the building of the old theatre which has
existed in the middle of the town for about 180 years. It was built in 1817 and can be considered
the first permanent building for theatre in Romania. In the archives, there is a letter of the owner
of the building, Iacob Hirschl, which proves that the edifice existed in May of 1817. It was built in
No one knows the inauguration date but it is sure that during November of 1817, a company of German
theatre led by Cristofor Kun performed in the old theatre. The first important event after inauguration
was a performance on the 27th of February in 1818, on the Thalia scene, by pupils of the teachers'
training school - it was the first performance in Romanian. The fact that there was a permanent
theatre determined the acting of several plays during the years that followed. Many famous companies
performed at the old theatre during its early years such as: Derynné in 1818, Treuman in 1845 and
Johan Strauss, the son, with his concerto of 1847.
The years following 1848 are the most fruitful ones, especially the years of 1868, 1870 and 1871 when
famous companies managed by Mihai Pascaly and Matei Milo visited Arad. These companies had as promoter
our famous poet Mihai Eminescu. Due to the opening of the new theatre in 1874, the old theatre of
Hirschl was closed in 1873.
The first cinema hall was housed by this building in 30 November 1907, its name being "Urania", which is one
of the oldest cinema halls from Romania. On the 16th of April in 1916, the first Romanian film was seen in this
hall, "The War of Independence". The film was shown for four days with four performances daily. In 1917,
the hall was constructed to its present form. The "Urania" cinema hall was closed when the sound film appeared
due to a lack of proper acoustics and a danger of fire. On December 1, 1933, the "Urania" cinema was reopened
with a sound film with the famous Pat and Patachom. The cinema hall continued to exist up to the 80s when it
was closed because of its deteriorating condition.
Now, it belongs to the patrimony; the local authority has promised to restore the building to its original form
as soon as possible.