Rumanian National Theater

Rumanian National Theater


(full name, I. L. Caragiale Rumanian National Theater), the foremost drama theater in Rumania. The theater was founded in Bucharest in 1852 as the Great Theater and was renamed the National Theater in 1877.

The progressive Rumanian literary and theatrical figures V. Alecsandri, C. Caragiale, C. Aristia, and M. Millo, all of whom took part in the 1848 revolution, sought to make the theater a forum for progressive ideas. As theater manager from 1877 to 1881, 1. Ghica introduced several national plays, among them Alecsandri’s Despot Vodă and Sanziana and Pepelea and I. L. Caragiale’s The Stormy Night. I. L. Caragiale, who headed the theater in 1888–89, staged foreign classics and stressed the development of the art of stage directing and the training of young artists. A. Davilla, manager in 1905–08 and 1912–14, introduced innovations influenced by A. Antoine and K. S. Stanislavsky.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the performances of A. Romanescu, G. Manolescu, Ş. Iulian, C. Nottara, and A. Demetriade brought fame to the theater. P. Gusti, stage director in the same period, presented outstanding productions of Gogol’s The Inspector-General (1909), I. L. Caragiale’s The Lost Letter (1914), and M. Gorky’s The Lower Depths (1915). In the 1920’s and 1930’s, when the Rumanian theater was dominated by commercialism and formal experimentation, the progressives V. Eftimiu, C. Petrescu, and M. Sebastian advocated realism and tendentiousness in art.

After the country’s liberation from fascism and the proclamation of the Rumanian republic in 1947, the theater ceased to be a commercial enterprise. A new hero, the builder of socialist Rumania, came on the stage. The theater has been acclaimed for its productions of The Lost Letter (1948), Davidoglu’s The Miners (1949), Baranga’s The Rabid Lamb (1954), Vishnevskii’s An Optimistic Tragedy (1959), Shakespeare’s King Lear (1968), Alecsandri-Muşaţescu’s Madame Chiriţa (1969), and Delavran-cea’s The Sunset (1973).

The theater moved into a new building in 1973. Since 1969, R. Beligan has served as manager and stage designer and S. Alexandrescu as the chief director. The leading actors and actresses are G. Calboreanu, A. Buzescu, I. Răchiţeanu, S. Popovici, F. Piersic, A. Giugaru, M. Anghelescu, E. Godeanu, E. Popovici, M. Rusu, I. Finteşteanu, G. Cozorici, G. Motoi, and V. Seciu. The theater has toured the USSR (in 1958 and 1971), France, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and other countries.


Alterescu, S., and F. Tornea. Teatrul National I. L. Caragiale. Bucharest, 1955.